Retrospective exposure estimation and predicted versus observed serum perfluorooctanoic acid concentrations for participants in the C8 Health Project

Environ Health Perspect. 2011 Dec;119(12):1760-5. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1103729. Epub 2011 Aug 3.


Background: People living or working in eastern Ohio and western West Virginia have been exposed to perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) released by DuPont Washington Works facilities.

Objectives: Our objective was to estimate historical PFOA exposures and serum concentrations experienced by 45,276 non-occupationally exposed participants in the C8 Health Project who consented to share their residential histories and a 2005-2006 serum PFOA measurement.

Methods: We estimated annual PFOA exposure rates for each individual based on predicted calibrated water concentrations and predicted air concentrations using an environmental fate and transport model, individual residential histories, and maps of public water supply networks. We coupled individual exposure estimates with a one-compartment absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (ADME) model to estimate time-dependent serum concentrations.

Results: For all participants (n = 45,276), predicted and observed median serum concentrations in 2005-2006 are 14.2 and 24.3 ppb, respectively [Spearman's rank correlation coefficient (r(s)) = 0.67]. For participants who provided daily public well water consumption rate and who had the same residence and workplace in one of six municipal water districts for 5 years before the serum sample (n = 1,074), predicted and observed median serum concentrations in 2005-2006 are 32.2 and 40.0 ppb, respectively (r(s) = 0.82).

Conclusions: Serum PFOA concentrations predicted by linked exposure and ADME models correlated well with observed 2005-2006 human serum concentrations for C8 Health Project participants. These individualized retrospective exposure and serum estimates are being used in a variety of epidemiologic studies being conducted in this region.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Caprylates / blood*
  • Drinking Water / analysis
  • Environmental Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods
  • Environmental Monitoring / statistics & numerical data*
  • Environmental Pollutants / blood*
  • Female
  • Fluorocarbons / blood*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Ohio
  • Retrospective Studies
  • West Virginia


  • Caprylates
  • Drinking Water
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Fluorocarbons
  • perfluorooctanoic acid