Analysis of Per- and Poly(fluoroalkyl) Substances (PFASs) in Highly Consumed Seafood Products from U.S. Markets

J Agric Food Chem. 2022 Oct 26;70(42):13545-13553. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.2c04673. Epub 2022 Oct 17.


Seafood consumption has been identified as one of the major contributors of per- and poly(fluoroalkyl) substances (PFASs) to the human diet. To assess dietary exposure, highly consumed seafood products in the United States were selected for analysis. The analytical method previously used for processed food was extended to include four additional long-chain perflurocarboxylic acids (PFCAs), which have been reported in seafood samples. This method was single-lab-validated, and method detection limits were reported at 345 ng kg-1 for perfluorobutanoic acid (PFBA) and 207 ng kg-1 for perfluoropentanoic acid (PFPeA) and below 100 ng kg-1 for the rest of the PFAS analytes. The 81 seafood samples (clams, crab, tuna, shrimp, tilapia, cod, salmon, pollock) were analyzed for 20 PFASs using the updated analytical method. Most of the seafood packaging was also analyzed by Fourier transform infrared-attenuated total reflectance (FTIR-ATR) to identify packaging potentially coated with PFASs. None of the packaging samples in this study were identified as having PFASs. A wide range of concentrations was observed among the seafood samples, ranging from below the method detection limit to the highest concentration of 23 μg kg-1 for the sum of PFASs in one of the canned clam samples. Such a wide range is consistent with those reported in previous studies. The highest concentrations were reported in clams and crabs, followed by cod, tuna, pollock, tilapia, salmon, and shrimp. Technical perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) dominated the profile of the clam samples, which has been consistently found in other clam samples, especially in Asia. Long-chain PFCAs, specifically perfluoroundecanoic (PFUdA) and perfluorododecanoic (PFDoA), were the most frequently detected analytes across all seafood samples. The trends observed are comparable with those in the literature where benthic organisms tend to have the highest PFAS concentrations, followed by lean fish, fatty fish, and aquaculture. The results from this study will be used to prioritize future studies and to inform steps to reduce consumer exposure to PFASs.

Keywords: PFAS; QuEChERS; fish; seafood; shellfish.

MeSH terms

  • Alkanesulfonic Acids* / analysis
  • Animals
  • Brachyura*
  • Dietary Exposure
  • Fluorocarbons* / analysis
  • Humans
  • Seafood / analysis
  • United States
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical* / analysis


  • Fluorocarbons
  • Alkanesulfonic Acids
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical