Industrial chemical perfluorobutanoic acid less prone to aggregation in human lungs and kidneys
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- Source: BfR Federal Institute for Risk Assessment
- Dated: September 25, 2021
A 2013 study by Perez et al. discovered significant accumulation of the chemical used in industrial production, perfluorobutanoic acid (PFBA) in human kidneys and lungs. Researchers at the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) examined the results with an even more precise quantification method. The result was that a single sample had an identifiable amount of PFBA which was 0.17 nanogram (ng) per gram (g) in lung tissue. The BfR concludes that PFBA is unlikely to accumulate in human kidney and lung tissue. This is confirmed by the very short half-life of PFBA in the blood. This was found in another study.
The BfR study was published in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijheh.2021.113830
Perfluorobutanoic acid – PFBA as it is commonly called – is part of the group which is a complex of polyfluoroalkyl compounds (PFAS). These are industrial chemicals that are widely used in industrial processes. They are found in a variety of products for the consumer market, including textiles, paper, cookware, and cosmetics. While some long-chain PFAS are found in the body due to their long half-life, shorter-chain PFAS compounds like PFBA have a shorter half-life in the blood. As a result, blood concentrations of less than 0.1 nanogram (ng) per milliliter (ml) have been observed in various studies.
Surprisingly, however, a 2013 study by Perez et al. reported very high median PFBA concentrations of 807 ng / g and 263 ng / g (ng / ml) in human lung and kidney tissue (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2013.06.004) .
In order to confirm the results in order to confirm the results, the BfR examined the PFBA concentrations of nine lung samples and seven kidney samples collected during tumor operations between 2011 and 2014. Levels were generally lower. at the limit of quantification and it was possible to measure the amount of PFBA which was 0.17 milligrams / g of lung tissue in a sample. The main challenge encountered in mass analysis using PFBA spectrometry is the existence of a single fragmentation, which could lead to inaccurate measurements.
Therefore, the current BfR study (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijheh.2021.113830) used a high resolution mass spectrometer which allows more precise quantification using exact mass. Based on these results and the results of the measurement, the BfR concluded that the BfR concludes that PFBA will not accumulate in human kidneys and lung tissue. The BfR recommends further research to verify these results.
A study in 2020 by Grandjean and his colleagues. reported a link between higher plasma PFBA concentrations and more severe cases of COVID-19 (https://doi.org/10.1371/jour-nal.pone.0244815). However, the measured PFBA concentrations were low. The idea that the high amounts of PFBA in the lungs could be the reason for the increased severity of COVID-19 patients has been suggested in light of the findings of Perez and his colleagues.
Based on the results of the current BfR study, this link is considered less plausible. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) reassessed the health risks posed by PFAS in food products in September 2020. In this opinion, EFSA derived a tolerable weekly value. intake (TWI) of 4.4 nanograms (ng) per kilogram (kg) of body weight per week (https://www.efsa.europa.eu/de/ef-sajournal/pub/6223).
This TWI applies for the first time to the sum of four PFAS: perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) and perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS). The basis of this TWI is an epidemiological study in which it was found that children with higher serum blood levels of specific PFAS had lower rates of antibody formation following normal vaccinations.
BfR Federal Institute for Risk Assessment