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Environ Health Perspect. 2006 Nov;114(11):1776-82.

The applicability of biomonitoring data for perfluorooctanesulfonate to the environmental public health continuum.

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  • 13M Company, Medical Department, St. Paul, Minnesota 55144, USA.


Perfluorooctanesulfonate and its salts (PFOS) are derived from perfluorooctanesulfonyl fluoride, the basic chemical building block for many sulfonyl-based fluorochemicals used as surfactants and for their repellent properties. PFOS is highly persistent in the environment and has a long serum elimination half-life in both animals and humans. PFOS has been detected globally in the environment and in blood serum in various populations throughout the world, with the majority of human sampling done in the United States and Japan. The mechanisms and pathways leading to the presence of PFOS in human blood are not well characterized but likely involve both direct exposures to PFOS or chemicals and materials that can degrade to PFOS, either in the environment or from industrial and commercial uses. In 2000 the 3M Company, a major manufacturer, announced a phaseout of PFOS-related materials. Animal studies indicate that PFOS is well absorbed orally and distributes mainly in blood serum and the liver. Several repeat-dose toxicology studies in animals consistently demonstrated that the liver is the primary target organ. In addition there is a steep dose response for mortality in sexually mature rats and primates as well as in neonatal rats and mice exposed in utero. Several biomonitoring research needs that have been identified on PFOS include additional data from general populations pertaining to other matrices besides blood; matched serum and urine samples from humans and research animals; and comparison of whole blood, serum, and plasma concentrations from the same individuals.

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