Adults are mainly exposed to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) via ingestion of food, inhalation of air and ingestion of dust, whereas for children the exposure to PFASs is largely unknown. This study aimed to reconstruct the serum concentrations of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS) in children after infancy up to 10.5 years of age and to test if dietary intake is the major exposure pathway for children to PFOA, PFOS and PFHxS after infancy. For this work, a dataset from a Finnish child cohort study was available, which comprised serum concentrations of the studied perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) and PFAS concentration measurements in dust and air samples from the children's bedrooms. The calculated PFAA intakes were used in a pharmacokinetic model to reconstruct the PFAA serum concentrations from 1 to 10.5 years of age. The calculated PFOA and PFOS intakes were close to current regulatory intake thresholds and diet was the major exposure medium for the 10.5 year-olds. The one-compartment PK model reconstructed median PFOA and PFOS serum concentrations well compared to corresponding measured median serum concentrations, while the modelled PFHxS serum concentrations showed a constant underestimation. The results imply that children's exposure to PFOA and PFOS after breastfeeding and with increasing age resembles the exposure of adults. Further, the children in the Finnish cohort experienced a rather constant exposure to PFOA and PFOS between 1 and 10.5 years of age. The PFHxS exposure sources and respective pharmacokinetic parameter estimations need further investigation.
- This article is part of the themed collections: Recent Open Access Articles, Environmental exposure and impacts, PFAS and Best Papers 2019 – Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts