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Home-produced eggs: An important human exposure pathway of perfluoroalkylated substances (PFAS)
Lasters, R.; Groffen, T.; Eens, M.; Coertjens, D.; Hofman, J.; Bervoets, L. (2022). Home-produced eggs: An important human exposure pathway of perfluoroalkylated substances (PFAS). Chemosphere 308: 136283. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2022.136283
In: Chemosphere. Elsevier: Oxford. ISSN 0045-6535; e-ISSN 1879-1298, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    PFAS; Food; Egg; Diet; Health

Authors  Top 
  • Coertjens, D.
  • Hofman, J.
  • Bervoets, L., more

    Humans are generally exposed to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) through their diet. Whilst plenty of data are available on commercial food products, little information exists on the contribution of self-cultivated food, such as home-produced eggs (HPE), to the dietary PFAS intake in humans. The prevalence of 17 legacy and emerging PFAS in HPE (N = 70) from free-ranging laying hens was examined at 35 private gardens, situated within a 10 km radius from a fluorochemical plant in Antwerp (Belgium). Potential influences from housing conditions (feed type and number of individuals) and age of the chickens on the egg concentrations was examined, and possible human health risks were evaluated. Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) were detected in all samples. PFOS was the dominant compound and concentrations (range: 0.13–241 ng/g wet weight) steeply decreased with distance from the fluorochemical plant, while there was no clear distance trend for other PFAS. Laying hens receiving an obligate diet of kitchen leftovers, exhibited higher PFOS and PFOA concentrations in their eggs than hens feeding only on commercial food, suggesting that garden produce may be a relevant exposure pathway to both chickens and humans. The age of laying hens affected egg PFAS concentrations, with younger hens exhibiting significantly higher egg PFOA concentrations. Based on a modest human consumption scenario of two eggs per week, the European health guideline was exceeded in ≥67% of the locations for all age classes, both nearby and further away (till 10 km) from the plant site. These results indicate that PFAS exposure via HPE causes potential human health risks. Extensive analysis in other self-cultivated food items on a larger spatial scale is highly recommended, taking into account potential factors that may affect PFAS bioavailability to garden produce.

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