Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Perfluorooctanesulfonate and Other Fluorochemicals in the Serum of American Red Cross Adult Blood Donors

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Perfluorooctanesulfonate and Other Fluorochemicals in the Serum of American Red Cross Adult Blood Donors

Article excerpt

Perfluorooctanesulfonyl fluoride-based products have included surfactants, paper and packaging treatments, and surface protectants (e.g., for carpet, upholstery, textile). Depending on the specific functional derivatization or degree of polymerization, such products may degrade or metabolize, to an undetermined degree, to perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS), a stable and persistent end product that has the potential to bioaccumulate. In this investigation, a total of 645 adult donor serum samples from six American Red Cross blood collection centers were analyzed for PFOS and six other fluorochemicals using HPLC-electrospray tandem mass spectrometry. PFOS concentrations ranged from the lower limit of quantitation of 4.1 ppb to 1656.0 ppb with a geometric mean of 34.9 ppb [95% confidence interval (CI), 33.3-36.5]. The geometric mean was higher among males (37.8 ppb; 95% CI, 35.5-40.3) than among females (31.3 ppb; 95% CI, 30.0-34.3). No substantial difference was observed with age. The estimate of the 95% tolerance limit of PFOS was 88.5 ppb (upper limit of 95% CI, 100.0 ppb). The measures of central tendency for the other fluorochemicals (N-ethyl perfluorooctanesulfonamidoacetate, N-methyl perfluorooctanesulfonamidoacetate, perfluorooctanesulfonamidoacetate, perfluorooctanesulfonamide, perfluorooctanoate, and perfluorohexanesulfonate) were approximately an order of magnitude lower than PFOS. Because serum PFOS concentrations correlate with cumulative human exposure, this information can be useful for risk characterization. Key words: American Red Cross, biomonitoring, blood donors, fluorochemicals, perfluorooctanesulfonate, perfluorooctanoate, PFOA, PFOS. Environ Health Perspect 111:1892-1901 (2003). doi:10.1289/ehp.6316 available via http://dx.doi.org/[Online 15 September 2003]

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In May 2000, the 3M Company (3M) announced that it would voluntarily cease manufacturing materials based on perfluorooctanesulfonyl fluoride (POSF; C8[F.sub.17]S[O.sub.2]F) after a metabolite of this compound, perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS; [C.sub.8][F.sub.17]S[O.sub.3.sup.-]), was found to be widespread in human populations and wildlife (3M Company 2003; Giesy and Kannan 2001; Hansen et al. 2001; Kannan et al. 2001a, 2001b, 2002a, 2002b). Using POSF as a basic building block, unique chemicals were created by further reactions with functionalized hydrocarbon molecules. Major applications of these POSF-based products have included surfactants, paper and packaging treatments, and surface protectants (e.g., for carpet, upholstery, textile). Depending on the specific functional derivatization or the degree of polymerization, such POSF-based products may degrade or metabolize, to an undetermined degree, to PFOS, a stable and persistent end product that has the potential to bioaccumulate. Although not a major commercial product, PFOS has been used in some products, including fire-fighting foams.

The mechanisms and pathways leading to the presence of PFOS in human blood are not well characterized bur likely involve environmental exposure to PFOS or to precursor molecules and residual levels of PFOS or PFOS precursors in industrial and commercial products. PFOS has been detected at low parts per billion (nanogram per milliliter) concentrations in the general population (3M Company 2003; Hansen et al. 2001; Olsen et al. 2003b), although the scope and sample size of these investigations have been limited. Serum PFOS concentrations among production employees working in POSF-related processes have averaged between 0.5 and 2 ppm depending on work activity (range < 0.1-12 ppm) (Olsen et al. 1999, 2003a, 2003c). A large body of toxicology and epidemiology data is available for review regarding PFOS [3M Company 2003; Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) 2002]. Results from several repeat-dose toxicologic studies consistently demonstrated that the liver is the primary target organ (3M Company 2003; OECD 2002). …

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