Partitioning Characteristics of Perfluorooctane Sulfonate Between Water and Foods

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Abstract

As a persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic organic pollutant, perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) has been found ubiquitously in the environment, including in tap water. For the first time, we studied PFOS sorption from water to foods (nine commonly consumed vegetables, three meats, and cereals) at two temperatures to estimate the daily intake of PFOS attributable to cooking and food preparation. The values of the food water-distribution coefficient (K F/W, l/kg) of PFOS ranged from 7 to 19 l/kg for most vegetables and from 19 to 38 l/kg for meats. Celery exhibited the highest affinity toward PFOS (K F/W = 39.8 ± 3.4 l/kg), whereas onions showed the lowest affinity toward PFOS (K F/W = 1.1 ± 0.4 l/kg). Adding table salt (sodium chloride) greatly increased PFOS sorption in most foods, except for celery and meats. The results indicate that human exposure to PFOS could result from the sorption of PFOS from water to food during food preparation, especially when using table salt. The average daily intake of PFOS through this route was estimated. Furthermore, raw and unprocessed foods (vegetables, meats, and cereals) bought from farmers’ markets and grocery stores were basically free of PFOS and other long-chain perfluoroalkyl acids.