, Volume 20, Issue 11, pp 7930-7939
Date: 19 May 2013

Perfluorinated alkylated substances in vegetables collected in four European countries; occurrence and human exposure estimations

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The human diet is recognised as one possible major exposure route to the overall perfluorinated alkylated substances (PFAS) burden of the human population, resulting directly from contamination of dietary food items, as well as migration of PFAS from food packaging or cookware. Most European countries carry out national monitoring programs (food basket studies) to monitor contamination with pollutants. Usually, for PFASs, non-coordinated approaches are used in Europe, since food basket studies are mainly carried out by national authorities following national requirements and questions, making comparisons between different countries difficult. A harmonised sampling campaign collecting similar food items in a uniform procedure enabling direct comparison between different regions in Europe was designed. We selected four countries (Belgium, Czech Republic, Italy and Norway), representing the four regions of Europe: West, East, South and North. In spring 2010 and 2011, 20 different types of vegetables were sampled in Belgium, Czech Republic, Italy and Norway. Perfluorinated carboxylic acids (PFCAs) were the main group of detected PFASs, with perfluorinated octanoic acid (PFOA) as the most abundant PFCA (with exception of samples from Czech Republic), followed by perfluorinated hexanoic acid and perfluorinated nonanoic acid. Dietary intake estimates for PFOA show only low human exposure due to vegetable consumption for adults and children, mostly governed by high intake of potatoes.

Responsible editor: Hongwen Sun