Managing health risks of perfluoroalkyl acids in aquatic food from a river-estuary-sea environment affected by fluorochemical industry
Substantial perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) production still occurs in China, and the consumption of aquatic products is a critical exposure pathway of PFAAs in humans. In this study, specimens of 16 freshwater and 40 marine species were collected in the river-estuary-sea environment affected by a mega fluorochemical industry park in China in 2015, and the edible tissues of these organisms were analyzed for PFAA levels. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) was the dominating contaminant with an overall contribution of more than 90%, and concentrations as high as 2161 ng/g wet weight (measured in the freshwater winkle). All species with the greatest PFOA levels were benthic. The trophic magnification factor (TMF) of PFOA was 1.10 for freshwater species and 1.28 for marine species, indicating that PFOA was slightly magnifying. Analysis of carbon source indicated that freshwater species were more benthic feeding, while marine species were more pelagic feeding. Aquatic food consumption screening values of PFOA were modified according to estimated daily intake (EDI) values, which generated recommendations for limited meal categories and the do-not-eat category. Thus, this study provides recommendations for mitigating the health risks of PFAA-contaminated aquatic food, ranging from food selection to consumption frequency and proper food processing.