Emerging per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in human milk from Sweden and China

Abstract Twenty per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) were determined in human milk from residents of three Chinese cities (Shanghai, Jiaxing, and Shaoxing), sampled between 2010 and 2016.

These data were compared to a combination of new and previously reported PFAS concentrations in human milk from Stockholm, Sweden, collected in 2016.

Across the three Chinese cities, perfluorooctanoate (PFOA; sum isomers), 9-chlorohexadecafluoro-3-oxanone-1-sulfonic acid (9Cl-PF3ONS; trade name F53-B), and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS; sum isomers) occurred at the highest concentrations among all PFAS (up to 411, 976, and 321 pg/mL, respectively), while in Stockholm, PFOA and PFOS were dominant (up to 89 and 72 pg/mL, respectively).

3H-perfluoro-3-[(3-methoxy-propoxy) propanoic acid (ADONA) was intermittently detected but at concentrations below the method quantification limit (i.e. <10 pg/mL) in Chinese samples, and was non-detectable in Swedish milk.

The extremely high concentrations of F53-B in Chinese milk suggest that human exposure assessments focused only on legacy substances may severely underestimate overall PFAS exposure in breastfeeding infants.

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