Influence of exposure to perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) on the Korean general population: 10-year trend and health effects

Environ Int. 2018 Apr;113:149-161. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2018.01.025. Epub 2018 Feb 6.


This study demonstrated the 10-year trend of 13 perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) serum levels among 786 adults living in Seoul, Korea. PFAS levels gradually increased from 2006 to 2013, decreasing thereafter. We found that PFAS levels were higher in male than in female participants and were positively correlated with age. PFASs were not significantly correlated with body mass index, although we observed positive correlations with total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides and negative correlations with high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Uric acid and free thyroxine (fT4) also showed positive correlations with major congeners while correlations between thyroid stimulating hormone and PFASs were inconsistent. We demonstrated significant correlations between fT4 and perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS), and perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA). There were significant differences in PFHxS and perfluorododecanoic acid (PFDoDA) levels between participants with and without diabetes. Furthermore, principal component analysis suggested possible differences in disease manifestation based on the congener distribution of PFASs. This study is the first study of temporal trends of 13 PFAS congeners in serum samples obtained from the Korean general population; it is currently longest and largest scale study of this type.

Keywords: Health effects; Korea; PFASs; Serum; Temporal trend.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Decanoic Acids / blood*
  • Environmental Exposure* / analysis
  • Environmental Exposure* / statistics & numerical data
  • Environmental Pollutants / blood*
  • Female
  • Fluorocarbons / blood*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Republic of Korea / epidemiology


  • Decanoic Acids
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Fluorocarbons
  • perfluorodecanoic acid
  • Cholesterol