Occurrence and human exposure assessment of perfluorinated substances in house dust from three European countries

By Adriánde la Torre, Irene Navarro, Paloma Sanz, María de los Ángeles Mártinez
Science of The Total Environment
August 13, 2019
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.05.463


65 house dust samples from three European countries (Belgium, Italy and Spain) were evaluated for the presence of 20 polyflouroalkyl substances (PFASs) including perfluoroalkane sulfonic acids (PFSAs), perfluoroalkyl carboxylic acid (PFCAs) and perfluoroalkane sulfonamides (PFOSAs). The three countries presented similar PFAS levels ranging from 3.13 to 155 ng/g (12.9 ng/g; median), but in all cases PFCAs concentrations (6.92, 15.2 and 8.68 ng/g; median for Belgium, Italy and Spain) were higher than those obtained for PFSAs (2.30, 1.76 and 2.68 ng/g). Interestingly, in comparison to previously published data exhibited an increase in perfluorobutanesulfonate (PFBS) concentrations in Belgian house dust. On the other hand, levels of perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) decreased in Spanish case. Data were examined for relationships between PFAS house dust levels, building and outdoor surrounding characteristics and occupant habits. Main findings revealed a positive association between PFOS concentrations and the building edification age, which could highlight a decrease in the use of this chemical in Europe. Similarly, perfluorohexanesulfonate (PFHxS) levels correlated with the percentage of the floor covered by textiles. Homes located in industrial sites showed higher PFCA levels compared to urban or agricultural locations, revealing the industrial processes as a potential source of these chemicals in Europe. Data obtained were used to perform human exposure assessment for dust intake via oral ingestion. Estimated daily intakes, calculated for toddlers and adults at median and worst case scenarios, were below oral Reference Dose (RfD) and tolerable daily intakes (TDI). However, in perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) case, dust ingestion significance to total dietary exposure reached values of 51% for toddlers in the worst case scenario.



• House dust from Belgium, Italy and Spain presented similar PFAS levels.

• PFBS concentrations in the last ten year have increased in Belgian house dust.

• PFOS house dust levels have decreased in Spain.

• EDIs via house dust ingestion were well below RfDs and TDIs.

• PFOA dust ingestion to dietary exposure reached values of 50% for toddlers.