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Contribution of Direct and Indirect Exposure to Human Serum Concentrations of Perfluorooctanoic Acid in an Occupationally Exposed Group of Ski Waxers

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journal contribution
posted on 15.06.2016, 14:46 by Melissa I. Gomis, Robin Vestergren, Helena Nilsson, Ian T. Cousins
The contribution of direct (i.e., uptake of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) itself) and indirect (i.e., uptake of 8:2 fluorotelomer alcohol (FTOH) and metabolism to PFOA) exposure to PFOA serum concentrations was investigated using a dynamic one-compartment pharmacokinetic (PK) model. The PK model was applied to six occupationally exposed ski waxers for whom direct and indirect exposures via inhalation were characterized using multiple measurements with personal air sampling devices. The model was able to predict the diverging individual temporal trends of PFOA in serum with correlation coefficients of 0.82–0.94. For the four technicians with high initial concentrations of PFOA in serum (250–1050 ng/mL), the ongoing occupational exposure (both direct and indirect) was of minor importance and net depuration of PFOA was observed throughout the ski season. An estimated average intrinsic elimination half-life of 2.4 years (1.8–3.1 years accounting for variation between technicians and model uncertainty) was derived for these technicians. The remaining two technicians, who had much lower initial serum concentrations (10–17 ng/mL), were strongly influenced by exposure during the ski season with indirect exposure contributing to 45% of PFOA serum concentrations. On the basis of these model simulations, an average metabolism yield of 0.003 (molar concentration basis; uncertainty range of 0.0006–0.01) was derived for transformation of 8:2 FTOH to PFOA. An uncertainty analysis was performed, and it was determined that the input parameters quantifying the intake of PFOA were mainly responsible for the uncertainty of the metabolism yield and the initial concentration of PFOA in serum was mainly contributing to the uncertainty of estimated serum half-lives.