Exposure and Risk Assessment of Perfluoroalkylated Compounds

EPA Grant Number: F13D10739
Title: Exposure and Risk Assessment of Perfluoroalkylated Compounds
Investigators: Dassuncao, Clifton
Institution: Harvard University
EPA Project Officer: Lee, Sonja
Project Period: August 1, 2014 through August 1, 2016
Project Amount: $84,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2013) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Fellowship - Public Health Sciences

Objective:

This research will provide insight into which individual PFCs are accumulated and/or metabolized in biological systems and the time periods for accumulation and elimination in human populations, thereby highlighting which compounds are likely to contribute the greatest risk in the future. This can help inform the chemical manufacturing industry on future production choices that will minimize effects on human and biological health. Exposures in the U.S. population presently include food packaging and household items, which can be regulated by product phase-outs; however, increasing accumulation of PFCs in marine ecosystems means that contributions from seafood are likely to increase in the future, and these are not easily controllable without dietary interventions. The research will directly contribute to improved risk assessment methods for immunotoxicity in children by bolstering knowledge of the exposure assessment.

Approach:

This research will leverage extensive epidemiological data collected since 1985 from unique prospective birth cohorts with more than 1000 individuals in the Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic. These communities receive most of their toxicant exposure from marine food (pilot whale) consumption, show a wide range of exposure levels and are well suited to provide insight into future exposure profiles of U.S. individuals. The study will compare PFC production data, historical pilot whale tissue samples and human serum samples from multiple birth cohorts to identify trends and environmental timescales associated with transport and biological accumulation of these compounds. It will estimate benchmark dose responses for each compound and link a stochastic exposure model to a physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model to estimate risk to human populations.

Expected Results:

The research is expected to identify which PFCs present the greatest risk now and in the future given observable trends in biological samples. These compounds will likely have specific stereochemical properties that make them more persistent and bioaccumulative in the environment. The major present exposure sources to PFCs for the U.S. population will likely be household products, food packaging and drinking water, but contributions from marine foods are expected to increase over time.

Potential to Further Environmental/Human Health Protection

This research will provide insight into which individual PFCs are accumulated and/or metabolized in biological systems and the time periods for accumulation and elimination in human populations, thereby highlighting which compounds are likely to contribute the greatest risk in the future. This can help inform the chemical manufacturing industry on future production choices that will minimize effects on human and biological health. Exposures in the U.S. population presently include food-packaging and household items, which can be regulated by product phase-outs; however, increasing accumulation of PFCs in marine ecosystems means that contributions from seafood are likely to increase in the future, and these are not easily controllable without dietary interventions. The research will directly contribute to improved risk assessment methods for immunotoxicity in children by bolstering knowledge of the exposure assessment.

Supplemental Keywords:

exposure, immunotoxicity, perfluoroalkylated compounds

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2015
  • Final