Per- and polyfluoroalkyl mixtures toxicity assessment "Proof-of-Concept" illustration for the hazard index approach
By M Mumtaz, M Buser, H Pohl
J Toxicol Environ Health A
March 25, 2021
The 2018 ATSDR mixture framework recommends three approaches including the hazard index (HI) for environmental mixture toxicity assessment. Per- and polyfluoroalkyls (PFAS) are found in our environment and general populations. Recent experimental mixture toxicity studies of perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and an assessment of 17 PFAS indicate the use of additivity for their joint toxicity assessment. The aim of this investigation was to detail the stepwise procedures and examine the extent and use of the HI approach for PFAS mixture assessment. Using estimated general public lifetime exposures (high, medium, and low), binary mixtures of PFOS and PFOA yielded, respectively, hazard indices (HIs) of 30.67, 8.33, and 3.63 for developmental toxicity; 10.67, 5.04, and 2.34 for immunological toxicity; 3.57, 1.68, and 0.78 for endocrine toxicity; 4.51, 1.73, and 0.79 for hepatic toxicity; and 15.08, 2.29, and 0.88 for reproductive toxicity. A heterogeneous mixture of PFOA, PFAS, dioxin (CDD), and polybrominated compounds (PBDE) for high exposure scenario yielded HIs of 30.99 for developmental, 10.77 for immunological, 3.64 for endocrine, 4.61 for hepatic, and 17.36 for reproductive effects. The HI values are used as a screening tool; the potential concern for exposures rises as HI values increase. For HI values >1, a follow-up including further analysis of specific exposures, use of internal dosimetry, and uncertainty factors is conducted before recommending appropriate actions. The HI approach appears suitable to address present-day PFAS public health concerns for initial assessment of multiple health effects, until further insights are gained into their mechanistic toxicology. The findings and conclusions in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
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