Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in blood plasma - Results of the German Environmental Survey for children and adolescents 2014-2017 (GerES V)

By Anja Duffek, André Conrad, Marike Kolossa-Gehring, Rosa Lange, Enrico Rucic, Christoph Schulte, and Jörg Wellmitz
Int J Hyg Environ Health
June 10, 2020
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2020.113549

The 5th cycle of the German Environmental Survey (GerES V) investigated the internal human exposure of children and adolescents aged 3-17 years in Germany to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The fieldwork of the population-representative GerES V was performed from 2014 to 2017. In total, 1109 blood plasma samples were analysed for 12 PFAS including perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS). PFOS was quantified in all and PFOA in almost all samples, demonstrating ubiquitous exposure. The highest geometric mean concentrations measured were 2.49 ng/mL for PFOS, followed by PFOA (1.12 ng/mL) and PFHxS (0.36 ng/mL), while concentrations of other PFAS were found in much lower concentrations. The 95th percentile levels of PFOS and PFOA were 6.00 and 3.24 ng/mL, respectively. The results document a still considerable exposure of the young generation to the phased out chemicals PFOS and PFOA. The observed exposure levels vary substantially between individuals and might be due to different multiple sources. The relative contribution of various exposure parameters such as diet or the specific use of consumer products need to be further explored. Although additional investigations on the time trend of human exposure are warranted, GerES V underlines the need for an effective and sustainable regulation of PFAS as a whole.

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