Exposure sources of perfluoroalkyl acids and influence of age and gender on concentrations of chlorinated polyfluorinated ether sulfonates in human serum from China

By Hangbiao Jin, Shu Lin, Wei Dai, Lingfang Feng, Tao Li, Jianlin Lou, and Quan Zhang
Enviorn. Intern.
April 14, 2020
DOI: 10.1016/j.envint.2020.105651

The presence of perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) and chlorinated polyfluoroalkyl ether sulfonates (Cl-PFAESs) in humans has attracted great attention in recent decades. However, information on their exposure sources and the influence of age and gender on Cl-PFAES concentrations in human serum is still limited. In this study, eighty-five serum samples were collected from the general population in Anji, China, and analyzed for perfluoroalkyl carboxylates (PFCAs), perfluoroalkyl sulfonates (PFSAs), and Cl-PFAESs. Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS; mean, 5.9 ng/mL) and perfluorooctanoate (PFOA; 3.3 ng/mL) were the predominant PFAAs in human serum. The serum concentrations of C8–C12 PFCAs, perfluorohexane sulfonate, and PFOS were significantly (rs = 0.40–0.98, p < 0.01) correlated with one another. In human serum, the mean percentages of branched isomers for PFOA, perfluorohexane sulfonate, and PFOS were 97.3%, 92.6%, and 66%, respectively. These results suggest that the major source of PFCAs and PFSAs in human serum was direct exposure. The mean 6:2Cl-PFAES (6.0 ng/mL) serum concentration was higher than PFOA (p < 0.01). The mean 6:2Cl-PFAES concentrations in male and female serum were 6.5 ng/mL and 5.6 ng/mL, respectively. A significant increase in 6:2Cl-PFAES concentrations with age was found in males (rs = 0.50, p = 0.001). The 6:2Cl-PFAES concentration was positively correlated with C8–C12 PFCAs and PFOS in human serum (rs = 0.44–0.91, p < 0.01), indicating that they may have common exposure sources. Overall, this study first investigated the roles of age and gender on human serum concentrations of Cl-PFAESs and provided baseline information on the occurrence of Cl-PFAESs in the general Chinese population.

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