Serum concentrations of perfluorinated compounds (PFC) among selected populations of children and Adults in California

Xiangmei May Wu, Deborah H Bennett, Antonia M. Calafat, Kayoko Kato, Mark Strynar, Erik Andersen, Rebecca E. Moran, Daniel J Tancredi, Nicolle S. Tulve, Irva Hertz-Picciotto

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85 Scopus citations


Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) have been widely used in industrial applications and consumer products. Their persistent nature and potential health impacts are of concern. Given the high cost of collecting serum samples, this study is to understand whether we can quantify PFC serum concentrations using factors extracted from questionnaire responses and indirect measurements, and whether a single serum measurement can be used to classify an individual's exposure over a one-year period. The study population included three demographic groups: young children (2-8 years old) (N=67), parents of young children (<55 years old) (N=90), and older adults (>55 years old) (N=59). PFC serum concentrations, house dust concentrations, and questionnaires were collected. The geometric mean of perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) was highest for the older adults. In contrast, the geometric mean of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) was highest for children. Serum concentrations of the parent and the child from the same family were moderately correlated (Spearman correlation (r)=0.26-0.79, p<0.05), indicating common sources within a family. For adults, age, having occupational exposure or having used fire extinguisher, frequencies of consuming butter/margarine, pork, canned meat entrées, tuna and white fish, freshwater fish, and whether they ate microwave popcorn were significantly positively associated with serum concentrations of individual PFCs. For children, residential dust concentrations, frequency of wearing waterproof clothes, frequency of having canned fish, hotdogs, chicken nuggets, French fries, and chips, and whether they ate microwave popcorn were significant positive predictors of individual PFC serum concentrations. In addition, the serum concentrations collected in a subset of young children (N=20) and the parents (N=42) one year later were strongly correlated (r=0.68-0.98, p<0.001) with the levels measured at the first visits, but showed a decreasing trend. Children had moderate correlation (r=0.43) between serum and dust concentrations of PFOS, indicating indoor sources contribute to exposure. In conclusion, besides food intake, occupational exposure, consumer product use, and exposure to residential dust contribute to PFC exposure. The downward temporal trend of serum concentrations reflects the reduction of PFCs use in recent years while the year-to-year correlation indicates that a single serum measurement could be an estimate of exposure relative to the population for a one-year period in epidemiology studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)264-273
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Research
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Children
  • Perfluorinated compounds
  • Serum
  • Temporal variation
  • Within-family correlation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Medicine(all)


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