Assessment of perfluoroalkyl substances in food items at global scale

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This study assessed the levels of 21 perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in 283 food items (38 from Brazil, 35 from Saudi Arabia, 174 from Spain and 36 from Serbia) among the most widely consumed foodstuffs in these geographical areas. These countries were chosen as representatives of the diet in South America, Western Asia, Mediterranean countries and South-Eastern Europe. The analysis of foodstuffs was carried out by turbulent flow chromatography (TFC) combined with liquid chromatography with triple quadrupole mass spectrometry (LC-QqQ-MS) using electrospray ionization (ESI) in negative mode. The analytical method was validated for the analysis of different foodstuff classes (cereals, fish, fruit, milk, ready-to-eat foods, oil and meat). The analytical parameters of the method fulfill the requirements specified in the Commission Recommendation 2010/161/EU. Recovery rates were in the range between 70% and 120%. For all the selected matrices, the method limits of detection (MLOD) and the method limits of quantification (MLOQ) were in the range of 5 to 650. pg/g and 17 to 2000. pg/g, respectively. In general trends, the concentrations of PFASs were in the pg/g or pg/mL levels. The more frequently detected compounds were perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorobutanoic acid (PFBA). The prevalence of the eight-carbon chain compounds in biota indicates the high stability and bioaccumulation potential of these compounds. But, at the same time, the high frequency of the shorter chain compounds is also an indication of the use of replacement compounds in the new fluorinated materials. When comparing the compounds profile and their relative abundances in the samples from diverse origin, differences were identified. However, in absolute amounts of total PFASs no large differences were found between the studied countries. Fish and seafood were identified as the major PFASs contributors to the diet in all the countries. The total sum of PFASs in fresh fish and seafood was in the range from the MLOQ to 28. ng/g ww.According to the FAO-WHO diets composition, the daily intake (DI) of PFASs was calculated for various age and gender groups in the different diets. The total PFASs food intake was estimated to be between 2300 and 3800. ng /person per day for the different diets.Finally, the risk intake (RI) was calculated for selected relevant compounds. The results have indicated that by far in no case the tolerable daily intake (TDI) (150, 1500, 50,000, 1,000,000, 150, 1500. ng/kg body weight, for perfluorohexanesulfonate (PFHxS), fluorotelomer alcohol (FTOH), perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS), perfluorobutanoic acid (PFBA), PFOS and PFOA, respectively) was exceeded ​
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