Unsaturated PFOS and Other PFASs in Human Serum and Drinking Water from an AFFF-Impacted Community.

By Carrie A McDonough, Sarah Choyke, Kelsey E Barton, Sarah Mass, Anne P Starling, John L Adgate, and Christopher P Higgins
Environ Sci Technol
May 31, 2021
DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.1c00522

Understanding how exposure to aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF)-impacted drinking water translates to bioaccumulation of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) is essential to assess health risks. To investigate spatial variability of PFAS exposure in communities near an AFFF source zone, blood serum was collected in 2018 from 220 adult residents of El Paso County (Colorado), as were raw water samples from several wells. C6 and C8 perfluoroalkyl sulfonates (PFSAs) were predominant in serum and water. PFASs were most elevated in the water district nearest the source zone (median ∑PFSA of 618 ng/L in water and 33 ng/mL in serum). A novel PFAS, unsaturated perfluorooctane sulfonate, was detected in >80% of water and serum samples at low concentrations (≤1.9 ng/mL in serum). Drinking water wells nearest the source zone displayed increased prevalence of perfluoroalkyl sulfonamide precursors not detected in serum. Serum-to-water ratios were the greatest for long-chain PFASs and were elevated in the least impacted water district. Additional serum samples collected from a subset of study participants in June 2019 showed that PFAS concentrations in serum declined after exposure ceased, although declines for perfluoropentane sulfonate were minimal. Our findings demonstrate that AFFF-impacted communities are exposed to complex, spatially variable mixtures of PFASs.

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