Background: Municipal drinking water contaminated with perfluorinated alkyl acids had been distributed to one-third of households in Ronneby, Sweden. The source was firefighting foam used in a nearby airfield since the mid-1980s. Clean water was provided from 16 December 2013.
Objective: To determine the rates of decline in serum perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS), perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoate (PFOA), and their corresponding half-lives.
Methods: Up to seven blood samples were collected between June 2014 and September 2016 from 106 participants (age 4-84 years, 53% female).
Results: Median initial serum concentrations were PFHxS, 277 ng/mL (range 12-1660); PFOS, 345 ng/mL (range 24-1500); and PFOA, 18 ng/mL (range 2.4-92). The covariate-adjusted average rates of decrease in serum were PFHxS, 13% per year (95% CI 12% to 15%); PFOS, 20% per year (95% CI 19% to 22%); and PFOA, 26% per year (95% CI 24% to 28%). The observed data are consistent with a first-order elimination model. The mean estimated half-life was 5.3 years (95% CI 4.6 to 6.0) for PFHxS, 3.4 years (95% CI 3.1 to 3.7) for PFOS and 2.7 years (95% CI 2.5 to 2.9) for PFOA. The interindividual variation of half-life was around threefold when comparing the 5th and 95th percentiles. There was a marked sex difference with more rapid elimination in women for PFHxS and PFOS, but only marginally for PFOA.
Conclusions: The estimated half-life for PFHxS was considerably longer than for PFOS and PFOA. For PFHxS and PFOS, the average half-life is shorter than the previously published estimates. For PFOA the half-life is in line with the range of published estimates.
Keywords: half-life; pfhxs; pfoa; pfos.
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