Two-year follow-up biomonitoring pilot study of residents' and controls' PFC plasma levels after PFOA reduction in public water system in Arnsberg, Germany

Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2010 Jun;213(3):217-23. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2010.03.007. Epub 2010 May 21.


Residents in Arnsberg, Germany, had been supplied by drinking water contaminated with perfluorooctanoate (PFOA). Biomonitoring data from 2006 evidenced that plasma PFOA concentrations of residents from Arnsberg were 4.5-8.3 times higher than those in reference groups. The introduction of charcoal filtration in July 2006 distinctly reduced PFOA concentrations in drinking water. Our one-year follow-up study showed a 10-20% reduction of PFOA plasma levels in residents from Arnsberg. Here we report the first results of the two-year follow-up study Arnsberg 2008. Additionally, the results of the two-year follow-up examination of the reference group are included. Paired plasma samples of 138 study participants (45 children, 46 mothers and 47 men) collected in 2006 and 2008 were considered in the statistical analyses. Within the two years plasma concentrations of PFOA, perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorohexanesulfonate (PFHxS) decreased in residents from Arnsberg and in control groups. The geometric means of PFOA plasma levels declined by 39% (children and mothers) and 26% (men) in Arnsberg and by 13-15% in the corresponding subgroups from the reference areas. For the population from Arnsberg a geometric mean plasma PFOA half-life of 3.26 years (range 1.03-14.67 years) was calculated. Our results confirm an ongoing reduction of the PFOA load in residents from Arnsberg. The decline of PFC levels in plasma of participants from the reference areas reflects the general decrease of human PFC exposure during the very recent years.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alkanesulfonic Acids / blood*
  • Caprylates / blood*
  • Charcoal
  • Child
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis*
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Female
  • Filtration
  • Fluorocarbons / blood*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical*
  • Water Supply*


  • Alkanesulfonic Acids
  • Caprylates
  • Fluorocarbons
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Charcoal