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Distribution and Excretion of Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) in Beef Cattle (Bos taurus)

Sara J. Lupton, Janice K. Huwe, David J. Smith, Kerry L. Dearfield, John J. Johnston
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2014 v.62 no.5 pp. 1167-1173
urine, feeds, Angus, grazing, wastewater treatment, beef cattle, industrial wastes, blood, liquid chromatography, pastures, feces, steers, tissues, half life, humans, muscles, body weight, surfactants, biosolids, excretion, absorption, tandem mass spectrometry, beef, acute exposure, crops
Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), a perfluoroalkyl surfactant used in many industrial products, is present in industrial wastes and in wastewater treatment plant biosolids. Biosolids are commonly applied to pastures and crops used for animal feed; consequently, PFOS may accumulate in the edible tissues of grazing animals or in animals exposed to contaminated feeds. There are no data on the absorption, distribution, and excretion of PFOS in beef cattle, so a 28-day study was conducted to determine these parameters for PFOS in three Lowline Angus steers given a single oral dose of PFOS at approximately 8 mg/kg body weight. PFOS concentrations were determined by liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry in multiple tissue compartments. The major route of excretion was in the feces (11 ± 1.3% of the dose, mean ± standard deviation) with minimal PFOS elimination in urine (0.5 ± 0.07% of the dose). At day 28 the mean plasma concentration remained elevated at 52.6 ± 3.4 μg/mL, and it was estimated that 35.8 ± 4.3% of the dose was present in the plasma. Plasma half-lives could not be calculated due to multiple peaks caused by apparent redistributions from other tissues. These data indicate that after an acute exposure PFOS persists and accumulates in edible tissues. The largest PFOS body burdens were in the blood (∼36%), carcass remainder (5.7 ± 1.6%), and the muscle (4.3 ± 0.6%). It was concluded that PFOS would accumulate in edible tissues of beef, which could be a source of exposure for humans.