Human serum levels of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) in Uyghurs from Sinkiang-Uighur Autonomous Region, China: background levels study

Xiao Wen Zeng, Zhengmin Qian, Michael Vaughn, Hong Xian, Keith Elder, Eugene Rodemich, Jia Bao, Yi He Jin, Guang Hui Dong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)


Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), such as perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoate (PFOA), are a family of commonly used industrial chemicals whose persistence and ubiquity in blood samples of humans and wildlife have become a growing concern. Despite PFOS and PFOA having been found in human blood and tissue samples from occupationally exposed workers and the general worldwide population, little systematic knowledge has accrued with respect to exposure levels in Uyghurs in the Sinkiang-Uighur Autonomous Region of China, which is predominantly agricultural and pastoral. Our goal was to provide background data for biological monitoring in the general population of this region. In this study, 110 self-reported healthy human serum samples were collected from nonoccupationally exposed Uyghurs volunteers and analyzed by microbore HPLC-electrospray tandem mass spectrometry. Among the 110 blood specimens, PFOS was detected in 102 samples (93 %) and ranged from the lower limit of quantification of 0.01 to 22.63 μg/L with a median of 1.93 μg/L (interquartile range 1.00–3.43 μg/L). The median was higher among males (2.39 μg/L; interquartile range 1.23–4.40 μg/L) than that among females (1.20 μg/L; interquartile range 0.83–2.77 μg/L). No significant difference was observed with respect to age. The concentration of PFOA was lower than that of PFOS and was found only in seven samples (6 %) at concentrations above the limit of quantification. This study is the first investigation to reveal serum PFOS and PFOA levels in the general population of Uyghurs. PFOS and PFOA concentrations found in the present investigation were lower than those found in recent studies consisting of subjects from different geographic locations (PFOS 5.0–44.7 μg/L, PFOA 1.5–10 μg/L).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4736-4746
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jan 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Cite this