In 2013 a contamination of drinking water by perfluoroalkylated substances (PFASs) was discovered in areas of the Veneto Region (northern Italy). In this study the exposure to PFASs of people living in the aforesaid areas was characterized: contaminant serum concentrations were measured and compared with those of a control population group living in neighboring areas at background exposure (based on available drinking water data). The enrolled population was also genotyped for the OATP1A2*3 allelic variant, possibly affecting PFAS excretion and hence the internal dose. The difference in PFAS concentrations between exposed and not exposed subjects was significantly larger for nine of the 12 substances analyzed, and confirmed that water contamination had resulted in an appreciable high exposure of the residing population over time. Within the group of exposed subjects, subgroups at different exposure levels were identified. The contamination of drinking water of the residence area was found to be the main factor influencing PFAS serum levels; in addition to water contamination, other relevant influencing factors were sex, the years of residence and raising own livestock. No relationship with the genetic trait for the studied renal transporter was evidenced. These results provide a baseline characterization of PFAS exposure of the monitored population groups for further studies, planned to be carried out in the near future.
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