Plasma Concentrations of Perfluoroalkyl Acids and Their Determinants in Youth and Adults from Nunavik, Canada
33 Pages Posted: 9 Aug 2022
Perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs), a subset of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), are environmentally stable, mobile and bioaccumulative compounds. This leads to high concentrations in wildlife species essential to the cultural identity and subsistence of Arctic populations. Our objective was to characterize the distribution and exposure determinants of PFAAs among Nunavik Inuit adults. The study included up to 1322 Nunavik residents aged 16-80 years who participated in the Qanuilirpitaa? 2017 Nunavik Inuit Health Survey (Q2017). Plasma concentrations were compared to those the general Canadian population using data from the Canadian Health Measures Survey Cycle 5 (2016-2017). Associations between plasma concentrations of nine PFAAs, determined by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, and sociodemographic factors and traditional activity participation were examined using multiple linear regression models. Overall exposure to PFAAs was twice as high compared to the general Canadian population and less regulated perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) and perfluoroundecanoic acid (PFUnDA) concentrations were 7-fold higher, and perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA) concentrations were 4-fold higher. Males had higher concentrations of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS), whereas females had higher concentrations of PFDA and PFUnDA. PFAAs concentrations increased with age and were highest among those aged 60+ years. PFNA and PFOA concentrations followed a J-shaped pattern: those aged 16-29 years had higher concentrations than those aged 20-29 and 30-39 years. Ungava Bay generally had lower concentrations of all PFAAs congeners compared to Hudson Bay and Hudson Strait, with the exception of PFNA, which tended to have the lowest concentration in Hudson Strait. PFAAs concentrations were highly associated with hunting activity, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, and drinking water from environmental sources. The results highlight the importance of characterizing PFAAs exposure sources in Arctic communities and provide further evidence for the long-range transport of long-chain PFAAs and their precursors that necessitate international action.
Keywords: Perfluoroalkyl acids, PFAS, exposure determinants, Inuit, arctic, Indigenous
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