Estimating consumer exposure to PFOS and PFOA

Risk Anal. 2008 Apr;28(2):251-69. doi: 10.1111/j.1539-6924.2008.01017.x.


Perfluorinated compounds have been used for more than 50 years as process aids, surfactants, and for surface protection. This study is a comprehensive assessment of consumer exposure to perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) from a variety of environmental and product-related sources. To identify relevant pathways leading to consumer exposure to PFOS and PFOA a scenario-based approach has been applied. Scenarios represent realistic situations where age- and gender-specific exposure occurs in the everyday life of consumers. We find that North American and European consumers are likely to experience ubiquitous and long-term uptake doses of PFOS and PFOA in the range of 3 to 220 ng per kg body weight per day (ng/kg(bw)/day) and 1 to 130 ng/kg(bw)/day, respectively. The greatest portion of the chronic exposure to PFOS and PFOA is likely to result from the intake of contaminated foods, including drinking water. Consumer products cause a minor portion of the consumer exposure to PFOS and PFOA. Of these, it is mainly impregnation sprays, treated carpets in homes, and coated food contact materials that may lead to consumer exposure to PFOS and PFOA. Children tend to experience higher total uptake doses (on a body weight basis) than teenagers and adults because of higher relative uptake via food consumption and hand-to-mouth transfer of chemical from treated carpets and ingestion of dust. The uptake estimates based on scenarios are within the range of values derived from blood serum data by applying a one-compartment pharmacokinetic model.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / analysis
  • Alkanesulfonic Acids / analysis*
  • Alkanesulfonic Acids / blood
  • Caprylates / analysis*
  • Caprylates / blood
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dust / analysis
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Environmental Monitoring*
  • Environmental Pollutants / blood*
  • Female
  • Fluorocarbons / analysis*
  • Fluorocarbons / blood
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis


  • Alkanesulfonic Acids
  • Caprylates
  • Dust
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Fluorocarbons
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • perfluorooctanoic acid
  • perfluorooctane sulfonic acid