2016 Volume 41 Issue Special Pages SP27-SP36
Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are persistent environmental contaminants. Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) are representatives of PFASs. Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) set the health advisory level as 70 parts per trillion for lifetime exposure to PFOS and PFOA from drinking water, based on the EPA’s 2016 Health Effects Support Documents. Then, a monograph on PFOA was made available online by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, where the agency classified PFOA as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” (Group 2B). The distinction between PFOS and PFOA, however, may not be easily understood from the above documents. This paper discussed differential toxicity between PFOS and PFOA focusing on neurotoxicity, developmental toxicity and carcinogenicity, mainly based on these documents. The conclusions are as follows: Further mechanistic studies may be necessary for ultrasonic-induced PFOS-specific neurotoxicity. To support the hypothesis for PFOS-specific neonatal death that PFOS interacts directly with components of natural lung surfactant, in vivo studies to relate the physicochemical effects to lung collapse may be required. PFOA-induced DNA damage secondary to oxidative stress may develop to mutagenicity under the condition where PFOA-induced apoptosis is not sufficient to remove the damaged cells. A study to find whether PFOA induces apoptosis in normal human cells may contribute to assessment of human carcinogenicity. Studies for new targets such as hepatocyte nuclear factor 4α (HNF4α) may help clarify the underlying mechanism for PFOA-induced carcinogenicity.