Survey shows high prevalence of exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) among 3-11 year old US children, most born after perfluorooctanyl sulfonate (PFOS) was discontinued in the USA.
2017 Study Abstract
Several per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have been measured in U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) participants 12 years of age and older since 1999–2000, but PFAS data using NHANES individual samples among children younger than 12 years do not exist.
To obtain the first nationally representative PFAS exposure data in U.S. children, we quantified serum concentrations of 14 PFAS including perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), and perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), in a nationally representative subsample of 639 3–11 year old participants in NHANES 2013–2014.
We used on-line solid-phase extraction coupled to isotope dilution-high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry; limits of detection were 0.1 ng/mL for all analytes. We calculated geometric mean concentrations, determined weighted Pearson correlations, and used linear regression to evaluate associations of sex, age (3–5 vs 6–11 years), race/ethnicity (Hispanic vs non-Hispanic), household income, and body mass index with concentrations of PFAS detected in more than 60% of participants.
We detected PFOS, PFOA, PFHxS, and PFNA in all children at concentrations similar to those of NHANES 2013–2014 adolescents and adults, suggesting prevalent exposure to these PFAS or their precursors among U.S. 3–11 year old children, most of whom were born after the phase out of PFOS in the United States in 2002.
PFAS concentration differences by sex, race/ethnicity, and age suggest lifestyle differences that may impact exposure, and highlight the importance of identifying exposure sources and of studying the environmental fate and transport of PFAS.
- Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in sera from children 3 to 11 years of age participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2013–2014, sciencedirect, Volume 221, Issue 1, Pages 9-16, January 2018.
- Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) via house dust featured image sciencedirect, May 2016.