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Environ Sci Technol. 2010 Oct 1;44(19):7717-22. doi: 10.1021/es101951t.

Inhalation exposure to fluorotelomer alcohols yield perfluorocarboxylates in human blood?

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Man-Technology-Environment MTM Research Centre, Orebro University, SE-701 82 Orebro, Sweden.


Levels of perfluorinated carboxylates (PFCAs) in different environmental and biological compartments have been known for some time, but the routes of exposure still remain unclear. The opinions are divergent whether the exposure to general populations occurs mainly indirect through precursor compounds or direct via PFCAs. Previous results showed elevated blood levels of PFCAs in ski wax technicians compared to a general population. The objective of this follow-up study was to determine concentrations of PFCAs, perfluorosulfonates (PFSAs), and fluorotelomer alcohols (FTOHs), precursor compounds that are known to degrade to PFCAs, in air collected in the breathing zone of ski wax technicians during work. We collected air samples by using ISOLUTE ENV+ cartridges connected to portable air pumps with an air flow of 2.0 L min(-1). PFCAs C5-C11 and PFSAs C4, C6, C8, and C10 were analyzed using LC-MS/MS and FTOHs 6:2, 8:2, and 10:2 with GC-MS/MS. The results show daily inhalation exposure of 8:2 FTOH in μg/m(3) air which is up to 800 times higher than levels of PFOA with individual levels ranging between 830-255000 ng/m(3) air. This suggests internal exposure of PFOA through biotransformation of 8:2 FTOH to PFOA and PFNA in humans.

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