Human exposure to F-53B in China and the evaluation of its potential toxicity: An overview

Environ Int. 2022 Mar:161:107108. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2022.107108. Epub 2022 Feb 1.


Chlorinated polyfluoroalkyl ether sulfonic acid (Cl-PFESAs, trade name F-53B), an alternative to perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), has been widely used as a mist suppressant in the Chinese electroplating industry since the 1970 s. Due to greater restrictions on PFOS globally in recent years, the production and use of F-53B correspondingly increased, consequently causing more emissions into the environment. In China, an increasing number of studies report frequent detection and broad exposure to F-53B in the natural environment, various wildlife and the human body. In human blood, the detection rate of F-53B is almost 80%, accounting for 8.69 to 28% of ∑per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs). F-53B is the most biopersistent PFAS in humans to date, with a half-life of 15.3 years. In addition, F-53B displays protein binding affinity and high human placental permeability. Recently, some epidemiological studies have reported the health risks associated with F-53B in humans, including abnormal serum lipid metabolism, vascular dysfunction, endocrine disorders and even adverse birth outcomes. Various in vivo and in vitro studies have demonstrated the toxicity of F-53B, such as hepatotoxicity, interference effects on the endocrine system, as well as reproductive and developmental toxicity. Our aims are to review studies on human F-53B exposure levels, trends and associated health effects; evaluate the potential toxicity; and predict directions for future research.

Keywords: China; F-53B; Human exposure; Toxicity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alkanesulfonic Acids* / metabolism
  • Alkanesulfonic Acids* / toxicity
  • Animals
  • China
  • Female
  • Fluorocarbons* / toxicity
  • Humans
  • Placenta / chemistry
  • Pregnancy
  • Sulfonic Acids
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical* / analysis
  • Zebrafish / metabolism


  • Alkanesulfonic Acids
  • Fluorocarbons
  • Sulfonic Acids
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical