Human donor liver and serum concentrations of perfluorooctanesulfonate and other perfluorochemicals

Geary W. Olsen, Kristen J. Hansen, Lisa A. Stevenson, Jean M. Burris, Jeffrey H. Mandel

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205 Scopus citations


Perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS, C8F17SO3-) has been identified in the serum of nonoccupationally exposed humans and in serum and liver tissue in wildlife. The purpose of this investigation was to determine whether PFOS liver concentrations in humans are comparable to the approximate 30 ng/mL average serum concentrations reported in nonoccupationally exposed subjects. Thirty-one donors (16 male and 15 female, age range 5-74) provided serum and/or liver samples for analysis of PFOS and three other fluorochemicals: perfluorosulfonamide (PFOSA, C8F17SO2NH2), perfluorooctanoate (PFOA, C7F15CO2-), and perfluorohexanesulfonate (PFHxS, C6F13SO3-). Both sera and liver samples were extracted by ion-pair extraction and quantitatively assayed using high-performance liquid chromatography electrospray tandem mass spectrometry. Liver PFOS concentrations ranged from <4.5 ng/g (limit of quantitation, LOQ) to 57.0 ng/g. Serum PFOS concentrations ranged from <6.1 ng/mL (LOQ) to 58.3 ng/mL. Among the 23 paired samples, the mean liver to serum ratio was 1.3:1 (95% confidence interval 0.9:1-1.7:1). This liver to serum ratio is comparable to that reported in a toxicological study of cynomolgus monkeys, which had liver and serum concentrations 2-3 orders of magnitude higher than observed in these human donors. This information may be useful in human risk characterization for PFOS. Liver to serum ratios were not estimated for PFOA, PFHxS, and PFOSA as 90% of the human donor liver samples were determined to be less than the LOQ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)888-891
Number of pages4
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


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