In the context of a European project, 12 perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) were determined in 14 food items collected in four European countries representing northern, southern, eastern and western Europe. This study presents the results of PFAAs measured in fruit, cereals, sweets and salt. Out of the 12 PFAAs, 10 PFAAs were detected in 67% of the samples. Overall, PFOA was the most abundant compound and the highest concentrations were found for PFOS but all were less than 1ngg(-1). When comparing the four countries, highest levels and detection frequencies were observed in Belgium (Western Europe), followed by the Czech Republic (Eastern Europe), Italy (Southern Europe) and finally Norway (Northern Europe). Comparison of profiles and levels is difficult due to variations in constitution of the food categories in the investigated countries and countries of origin of the food items. Dietary intake assessments for PFOS and PFOA show that the daily intake of PFAAs is far below the existing tolerable levels. However, they contribute to the total dietary intake and should therefore be included in future dietary exposure assessments.
This study summarises the results of the levels of 21 perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in 50 selected pooled samples representing 15 food commodities with the special focus on those of animal origin, as meat, seafood, fish, milk, dairy products and hen eggs, which are commonly consumed in various European markets, e.g. Czech, Italian, Belgian and Norwegian. A new, rapid sample preparation approach based on the QuEChERS extraction procedure was applied. Ultra-performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) employing electrospray ionisation (ESI) in negative mode was used for the quantification of target analytes. Method quantification limits (MQLs) were in the range of 1-10 ng kg(-1) (ng l(-1)) for fish, meat, hen eggs, cheese and milk, and in the range of 2.5-125 ng kg(-1) for butter. Only 16 of the group of 21 PFASs were found in at least one analysed sample. From 16 PFASs, perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) was the most frequently detected analyte present in approximately 50% of samples (in the range of 0.98-2600 ng kg(-1)). PFCAs with C8-C14 carbon chain were presented in approximately 20% of samples. The concentration ranges of individual compounds in the respective groups of PFASs were: 2.33-76.3 ng kg(-1) for PFSAs (without PFOS), 4.99-961 ng kg(-1) for PFCAs, 10.6-95.4 ng kg(-1) for PFPAs, and 1.61-519 ng kg(-1) for FOSA. The contamination level in the analysed food commodities decreased in the following order: seafood > pig/bovine liver > freshwater/marine fish > hen egg > meat > butter. When comparing the total contamination and profiles of PFASs in food commodities that originated from various sampling countries, differences were identified, and the contents decreased as follows: Belgium > Norway, Italy > Czech Republic.
The human diet is recognised as one possible major exposure route to the overall perfluorinated alkylated substances (PFAS) burden of the human population, resulting directly from contamination of dietary food items, as well as migration of PFAS from food packaging or cookware. Most European countries carry out national monitoring programs (food basket studies) to monitor contamination with pollutants. Usually, for PFASs, non-coordinated approaches are used in Europe, since food basket studies are mainly carried out by national authorities following national requirements and questions, making comparisons between different countries difficult. A harmonised sampling campaign collecting similar food items in a uniform procedure enabling direct comparison between different regions in Europe was designed. We selected four countries (Belgium, Czech Republic, Italy and Norway), representing the four regions of Europe: West, East, South and North. In spring 2010 and 2011, 20 different types of vegetables were sampled in Belgium, Czech Republic, Italy and Norway. Perfluorinated carboxylic acids (PFCAs) were the main group of detected PFASs, with perfluorinated octanoic acid (PFOA) as the most abundant PFCA (with exception of samples from Czech Republic), followed by perfluorinated hexanoic acid and perfluorinated nonanoic acid. Dietary intake estimates for PFOA show only low human exposure due to vegetable consumption for adults and children, mostly governed by high intake of potatoes.
This study investigates the trophic transfer of persistent organic pollutants (POPs: PCBs, PBDEs, OCPs and PFASs) in the subtropical aquatic ecosystem of the Olifants River Basin (South Africa) by means of trophic magnification factors (TMFs). Relative trophic levels were determined by stable isotope analysis. POP levels in surface water, sediment and biota were low. Only ?DDTs levels in fish muscle (1, indicating biomagnification of all detected POPs. Calculated TMFs for PCBs were comparable to TMF values reported from the tropical Congo River basin and lower than TMFs from temperate and arctic regions. For p,p'-DDT, a higher TMF value was observed for the subtropical Olifants River during the winter low flow season than for the tropical Congo river. TMFs of DDTs from the present study were unexpectedly higher than TMFs from temperate and arctic aquatic food webs. The fish species in the aquatic ecosystem of the Olifants River can be consumed with a low risk for POP contamination.