Biomonitoring: A tool to assess PFNA body burdens and evaluate the effectiveness of drinking water intervention for communities in New Jersey


Elevated perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) levels, one of many manmade per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), were detected in public water systems/private wells in New Jersey communities. Interventions to end exposure through drinking water were carried out from 2014 to 2016. To evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, a community biomonitoring study was conducted for the communities between 2017 and 2020. A convenience sampling design was used with 120 participants in Year 1 between ages of 20-74 who consumed PFNA-contaminated water. Three blood samples, one year apart, were drawn from each participant and completed for 99 participants. Separated serum samples were measured for 12 PFAS including PFNA. Questionnaires were administered to collect information on demographics and potential sources. Drinking water and house dust collected at the first visit were analyzed for 14 PFAS including PFNA. The PFNA sera levels (Year 1) found 84 out of 120 (70%) participants were higher than the 95th percentile of a nationally representative sample of US adults (NHANES2015-16). Current drinking water and house dust were not significant contributing sources for the study participants. On average, PFNA sera levels were 12 ± 16% (Year 2) and 27 ± 16% (Year 3) lower than the level measured in Year 1 (p < 0.01). The PFNA half-life was estimated around 3.52 years, using a mixed model from 68 high-exposed participants (>95th percentile of NHANES2015-16) with controlling for physiological covariates. The decline in adult serum PFNA levels seen in the years following a community drinking water intervention suggests the intervention effectively reduced PFNA exposure via drinking water.

Authors: Chang Ho Yu, Clifford P Weisel, Shahnaz Alimokhtari, Panos G Georgopoulos, Zhihua Tina Fan
; Full Source: International journal of hygiene and environmental health 2021 May 4;235:113757. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2021.113757.