Concentrations of perfluoroalkyl substances in human milk from Ireland: Implications for adult and nursing infant exposure

Mohamed Abdallah, Nina Wemken, Daniel Drage, Claire Cellarius, Kathy Cleere, John Morrison, Sean Daly, Marie Coggins, Stuart Harrad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
278 Downloads (Pure)


Concentrations of 10 perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) were measured in 16 pools of human milk from Ireland. Only four PFASs were detected (PFOA, PFNA, PFHxS and PFOS), with concentrations dominated by PFOA which was detected in all samples at a median of 0.10 ng/mL. Concentrations and the relative abundance of PFASs in human milk from Ireland are within the range reported for other countries. Estimated exposures for nursing infants to perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) do not suggest a health concern. A one compartment pharmacokinetic model was used to predict
the intakes of PFOS and PFOA required to support the observed concentrations in human milk. This suggests current adult exposure in Ireland to PFOS is below the provisional tolerable weekly intake (TWI) proposed by EFSA. In contrast, the model predicts that the maximum concentration detected in human
milk in this study, implies a level of adult exposure that would exceed EFSA’s provisional TWI for PFOA. As exposure of the Irish population to PFASs via drinking water, indoor air and dust is well-characterised, current understanding suggests that the major contributor to overall exposure of the Irish population is
via the diet and/or less well-studied pathways like dermal uptake from PFAS-containing fabrics and cosmetics.
Original languageEnglish
Article number125724
Number of pages6
Early online date20 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


  • Human biomonitoring
  • PFASs
  • PFOA
  • PFOS
  • PK modelling


Dive into the research topics of 'Concentrations of perfluoroalkyl substances in human milk from Ireland: Implications for adult and nursing infant exposure'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this