Using hair, nail and urine samples for human exposure assessment of legacy and emerging per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances

Non-invasive samples present ethical and practical benefits for investigating human exposure to hazardous contaminants, but analytical challenges and difficulties to interpret the results limit their application in biomonitoring. Here we investigated the potential for using hair, nail and urine samples as a measure of internal exposure to an array of legacy and emerging per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in two populations with different exposure conditions.

Paired urine-serum measurements of PFASs from a group of highly exposed fishery employees displayed strong correlations for PFASs with three to eight perfluorinated carbons (ρ > 0.653; p 
Collectively, the study supports the use of urine samples as a valid measure of internal exposure for a range of short- and medium-chain PFASs, while the validity of nail and hair samples as a measure of internal exposure may vary for different PFASs and populations. The ubiquitous detection of C8 Cl-PFESA in all sample matrices from both populations indicates widespread exposure to this contaminant of emerging concern in China.

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