Minnesota PFOA and Breastfeeding paper


Minnesota has been grappling with extensive per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) groundwater contamination since 2002, in a major metropolitan setting. As toxicological information has accumulated for these substances, the public health community has become increasingly aware of critically sensitive populations. The accumulation of some PFAS in women of childbearing age, and the placental and breastmilk transfer to their offspring, require new risk assessment methods to protect public health. The traditional water guidance paradigm is inadequate to address maternal-to-infant transfer of accumulated levels of perfluorooctanoate (PFOA), in particular. Even short exposures during infancy have dramatic impacts on serum levels for many years. In addition, developmental effects are the critical effects anchoring recent risk assessments. In response, the Minnesota Department of Health created an Excel-based model that incorporates chemical-specific properties and exposure parameters for early life stages. Serum levels were assessed in both formula-fed and breastfed infants, with placental transfer in both scenarios. Peak breastfed infant serum levels were 4.4-fold higher than in formula-fed infants, with both of these scenarios producing serum levels in excess of the adult steady-state level. The development and application of this model to PFOA are described.

Mindi Messmer