Perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) are synthetic surfactants used in Japan. An epidemiological study of workers exposed to PFOA revealed a significant increase in prostate cancer mortality. A cross-sectional study of PFOA-exposed workers showed that PFOA perturbs sex hormone homeostasis. We analyzed their concentrations in surface water samples collected from all over Japan by LC/MS with a solid phase extraction method. The lowest limits of detection (LOD) (ng/L) were 0.06 for PFOA and 0.04 for PFOS. The lowest limits of quantification (LOQ) (ng/L) were 0.1 for both analytes. The levels [geometric mean (GM); geometric standard deviation (GS)] (ng/L) of PFOA and PFOS in the surface waters were GM (GS): 0.97 (3.06) and 1.19 (2.44) for Hokkaido-Tohoku (n=16); 2.84(3.56) and 3.69 (3.93) for Kanto (n=14); 2.50 (2.23) and 1.07 (2.36) for Chubu (n=17); 21.5 (2.28) and 5.73 (3.61) for Kinki (n=8); 1.51 (2.28) and 1.00 (3.42) for Chugoku (n=9); 1.93 (2.40) and 0.89 (3.09) for Kyushu-Shikoku (n=15). The GM of PFOA in Kinki was significantly higher than in other areas (ANOVA p<0.01). Systematic searches of Yodo and Kanzaki Rivers revealed two highly contaminated sites, a public-water-disposal site for PFOA and an airport for PFOS. The former was estimated to release 18 kg of PFOA/d. PFOA in drinking water in Osaka city [40 (1.07) ng/L] was significantly higher than in other areas. The present study confirms that recognizable amounts of PFOA are released in the Osaka area and that people are exposed to PFOA through drinking water ingestion.
2004 by the Japan Society for Occupational Health