Serum concentrations of perfluorooctanesulfonate and other fluorochemicals in an elderly population from Seattle, Washington

Geary W. Olsen, Timothy R. Church, Eric B. Larson, Gerald Van Belle, James K. Lundberg, Kristen J. Hansen, Jean M. Burris, Jeffrey H. Mandel, Larry R. Zobel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

172 Scopus citations


Perfluorooctanesulfonyl fluoride (POSF, C8F17SO 2F) related-materials have been used as surfactants, paper and packaging treatments, and surface (e.g., carpet, textile, upholstery) protectants. A metabolite, perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS, C8F 17SO3-), has been identified in the serum and liver of non-occupationally exposed humans and wildlife. Because of its persistence, an important question was whether elderly humans might have higher PFOS concentrations. From a prospective study designed to examine cognitive function in the Seattle (WA) metropolitan area, blood samples were collected from 238 dementia-free subjects (ages 65-96). High-pressure liquid chromatography-electrospray tandem mass spectrometry determined seven fluorochemicals: PFOS; N-ethyl perfluorooctanesulfonamidoacetate; N-methyl perfluorooctanesulfonamidoacetate; perfluorooctanesulfonamidoacetate; perfluorooctanesulfonamide; perfluorooctanoate; and perfluorohexanesulfonate. Serum PFOS concentrations ranged from less than the lower limit of quantitation (3.4 ppb) to 175.0 ppb (geometric mean 31.0 ppb; 95% CI 28.8-33.4). An estimate of the 95% tolerance limit was 84.1 ppb (upper 95% confidence limit 104.0 ppb). Serum PFOS concentrations were slightly lower among the most elderly. There were no significant differences by sex or years residence in Seattle. The distributions of the other fluorochemicals were approximately an order of magnitude lower. Similar to other reported findings of younger adults, the geometric mean serum PFOS concentration in non-occupational adult populations likely approximates 30-40 ppb with 95% of the population's serum PFOS concentrations below 100 ppb.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1599-1611
Number of pages13
Issue number11
StatePublished - Mar 2004


  • Biomonitoring
  • Fluorochemicals
  • Perfluorooctanesulfonate
  • Perfluorooctanoate


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