Decline in perfluorooctanesulfonate and other polyfluoroalkyl chemicals in American Red Cross adult blood donors, 2000-2006

Environ Sci Technol. 2008 Jul 1;42(13):4989-95. doi: 10.1021/es800071x.


In 2000, 3M Company, the primary global manufacturer, announced a phase-out of perfluorooctanesulfonyl fluoride (POSF, C8F17SO2F)-based materials after perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS, C8F17SO3-) was reported in human populations and wildlife. The purpose of this study was to determine whether PFOS and other polyfluoroalkyl concentrations in plasma samples, collected in 2006 from six American Red Cross adult blood donor centers, have declined compared to nonpaired serum samples from the same locations in 2000-2001. For each location, 100 samples were obtained evenly distributed by age (20-69 years) and sex. Analytes measured, using tandem mass spectrometry, were PFOS, perfluorooctanoate (PFOA), perfluorohexanesulfonate (PFHxS), perfluorobutanesulfonate (PFBS), N-methyl perfluorooctanesulfonamidoacetate (Me-PFOSA-AcOH), and N-ethyl perfluorooctanesulfonamidoacetate (Et-PFOSA-AcOH). The geometric mean plasma concentrations were for PFOS 14.5 ng/mL (95% CI 13.9-15.2), PFOA 3.4 ng/ mL (95% CI 3.3-3.6), and PFHxS 1.5 ng/mL (95% CI 1.4-1.6). The majority of PFBS, Me-PFOSA-AcOH, and Et-PFOSA-AcOH concentrations were less than the lower limit of quantitation. Age- and sex-adjusted geometric means were lower in 2006 (approximately 60% for PFOS, 25% for PFOA, and 30% for PFHxS) than those in 2000-2001. The declines for PFOS and PFHxS are consistent with their serum elimination half-lives and the time since the phase-out of POSF-based materials. The shorter serum elimination half-life for PFOA and its smaller percentage decline than PFOS suggests PFOA concentrations measured in the general population are unlikely to be solely attributed to POSF-based materials. Direct and indirect exposure sources of PFOA could include historic and ongoing electrochemical cell fluorination (ECF) of PFOA, telomer production of PFOA, fluorotelomer-based precursors, and other fluoropoly-mer production.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alkanesulfonic Acids / blood*
  • Alkanesulfonic Acids / toxicity
  • Caprylates / blood
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Environmental Monitoring / statistics & numerical data*
  • Environmental Pollutants / blood*
  • Female
  • Fluorocarbons / blood*
  • Fluorocarbons / toxicity
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sulfonic Acids / blood
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry
  • United States


  • Alkanesulfonic Acids
  • Caprylates
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Fluorocarbons
  • Sulfonic Acids
  • perfluorohexanesulfonic acid
  • perfluorooctanoic acid
  • perfluorooctane sulfonic acid
  • perfluorobutane