There has been no proven method thus far to accelerate the clearance of potentially toxic perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) in humans. PFCs are a family of commonly used synthetic compounds with many applications, including repelling oil and stains on furniture, clothing, carpets and food packaging, as well as in the manufacturing of polytetrafluoroethylene - a non-stick surfacing often used in cookware (e.g. Teflon(r)). Some PFCs remain persistent within the environment due to their inherent chemical stability, and are very slowly eliminated from the human body due, in part, to enterohepatic recirculation. Exposure to PFCs is widespread and some subpopulations, living in proximity to or working in fluorochemical manufacturing plants, are highly contaminated. PFC bioaccumulation has become an increasing public health concern as emerging evidence suggests reproductive toxicity, neurotoxicity and hepatotoxicity, and some PFCs are considered to be likely human carcinogens. A case history is presented where an individual with high concentrations of PFCs in serum provided: (1) sweat samples after use of a sauna; and (2) stool samples before and after oral administration of each of two bile acid sequestrants - cholestyramine (CSM) and saponin compounds (SPCs). Stool samples before and after use of a cation-exchange zeolite compound were also examined. PFCs found in serum were not detected in substantial quantities in sweat or in stool prior to treatment. Minimal amounts of perfluorooctanoic acid, but no other PFCs, were detected in stool after SPC use; minimal amounts of perfluorooctanesulfonate, but no other PFCs, were detected in stool after zeolite use. All PFC congeners found in serum were detected in stool after CSM use. Serum levels of all PFCs subsequently declined after regular use of CSM. Further study is required but this report suggests that CSM therapy may facilitate gastrointestinal elimination of some PFCs from the human body.
Copyright 2010 The Royal Society for Public Health. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.