Journal of environmental monitoring : JEM

Perfluorinated organic compounds in human blood serum and seminal plasma: a study of urban and rural tea worker populations in Sri Lanka.

PMID 15798805


Concentrations and accumulation of 13 fluorinated organic compounds (FOCs) in human sera and seminal plasma were measured in an Asian developing country, Sri Lanka. Six of the FOCs, PFOS (perfluorooctanesulfonate), PFHS (perfluorohexanesulfonate), PFUnA (perfluoroundecanoic acid), PFDA (perfluorodecanoic acid), PFNA (perfluorononanoic acid) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid), were detected in all of the sera samples. Measurable quantities of two main perfluorosulfonates, PFOS and PFHS, were found in all seminal plasma samples. The detection frequency of the predominant perfluoroalkylcarboxylate, PFOA, in seminal plasma was >70%. Accumulation of PFOS in sera was significantly positively correlated with PFOA, PFHS and PFNA. Positive linear regressions were also found between PFNA and PFUnA and PFNA and PFDA suggesting that these compounds may have a similar origin of exposure and accumulation. Significantly positive associations were observed for partitioning of both PFOS and PFNA between sera and seminal plasma. The accumulation of FOCs was not significantly different in sera from Colombo (urban population) and Talawakele (rural conventional tea workers). However, the Haldummulla population (rural organic tea workers) had relatively lower exposure to FOCs compared to the other two groups, urban and rural conventional tea workers. Concentrations of FOCs in Sri Lanka were similar to those reported for industrialized countries suggesting that human exposure to such chemicals is widespread even in developing countries. The novel finding of FOCs in human seminal plasma implies that further studies are needed to determine whether long-term exposure in humans can result in reproductive impairments.

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