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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fargo, North Dakota » Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center » Food Animal Metabolism Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #320718

Title: Perfluorooctane sulfonate plasma half-life determination and long term tissue distribution in beef cattle (Bos taurus)

item Lupton, Sara
item DEARFIELD, KERRY - Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS)
item JOHNSTON, JOHN - Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS)
item WAGNER, SARAH - North Dakota State University
item HUWE, JANICE - Retired ARS Employee

Submitted to: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/6/2015
Publication Date: 12/18/2015
Publication URL:
Citation: Lupton, S.J., Dearfield, K.L., Johnston, J.J., Wagner, S., Huwe, J.K. 2015. Perfluorooctane sulfonate plasma half-life determination and long term tissue distribution in beef cattle (Bos taurus). Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 63(51):10988-10994.

Interpretive Summary: Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) is an industrial chemical used in a wide range of products as surfactants and coatings, such as Teflon® and Scotchgard™. PFOS is widely detected in the environment and is found in humans and wildlife. Because this chemical appears to accumulate in the body it is important to understand routes of exposure for humans. Due to the fact that biosolids containing PFOS from wastewater treatment plants are spread on cattle pastures and animal food crops it is important to know the extent that agricultural animals such as cattle absorb and accumulate PFOS. For these reasons we have conducted a study to look at the absorption, distribution and depletion of PFOS in beef cattle. After a single oral dose of PFOS to Angus steers and heifers, we determined that PFOS remained at elevated levels in the blood and tissues throughout the 343 day study. PFOS was readily absorbed and distributed into the tissues of the cattle. The results from this study show that accumulation of PFOS in beef cattle is possible and the food supply could be a possible route of exposure for humans.

Technical Abstract: Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) is used in consumer products as a surfactant and is found in industrial and consumer waste which ends up in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). PFOS does not breakdown during WWTP processes and accumulates in the biosolids. Common practices include application of biosolids to pastures and croplands used for feed and as a result animals such as beef cattle are exposed to PFOS. To determine plasma and tissue depletion kinetics in cattle, 2 steers and 4 heifers were dosed with PFOS at 0.098 mg/kg body weight and 9.1 mg/kg, respectively. Plasma depletion half-lives for steers and heifers were 120±4.1 and 106±23.1 d, respectively. Specific tissue depletion half-lives ranged from 36 to 385 d for intraperitoneal fat, back fat, muscle, liver, bone and kidney. These data indicate that PFOS in beef cattle has a sufficiently long depletion half-life to permit accumulation in edible tissues.