Trace level analyses of selected perfluoroalkyl acids in food: Method development and data generation

By Mohammad Sadia, Leo W.Y. Yeung, Heidelore Fiedler
Environ. Poll.
December 26, 2019
DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2019.113721

To comprise the future requirements to detect low levels of perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) including branched and linear perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS) in food items, analytical methods for their determination in six different food matrices (cow milk, butter, chicken egg, chicken meat, beef, and fish) were developed and validated. After optimization, the method applied on foods of animal origin includes alkaline digestion, extraction, and clean-up with solid phase extraction and adsorption on granular carbon where necessary. The method was shown effective to eliminate taurodeoxycholic acid (TDC), a bile acid that is an endogenous interference compound in egg samples causing ionization suppression and false positive result for PFOS when 499 > 80 transition was used for quantification. The validation was performed and resulted in recoveries >70% for all three PFAAs, the limits of quantification (LOQs) in all matrices were 3.1 pg g−1, 3.4 pg g−1, and 4.9 pg g−1 for PFHxS, PFOA, and L-PFOS, respectively. The optimized method was successfully applied to 53 food samples from the Swedish market and from developing countries. PFOS and PFOA were detected in all samples, and PFHxS was detected in 80% of the samples. With this method, concentrations in the low pg g−1 range in food samples of animal origin were quantified including the branched PFOS isomers. This method can be applied to enforce potential future limit values for PFOS and PFOA as a consequence of the recent European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recommendation where the tolerable intakes have been drastically lowered. Further method development is needed for foods of plant origin such as vegetables, flour, nuts, or bread.


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