EFSA assesses risk of PFAS in food

29 September 2020

Article: 54/3906

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has set a new safety threshold for the main perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, that accumulate in the body. The threshold, a group tolerable weekly intake (TWI) of 4.4 nanograms per kilogram of body weight per week, is part of a scientific opinion on the risks to human health arising from the presence of these substances in food.

PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals that are manufactured and used in a variety of industries around the world, such as textiles, household products, fire-fighting, automotive, food processing, construction and electronics. Exposure to PFAS can occur in several ways, including food consumption, where these substances are most often found in drinking water, fish, fruit, eggs and egg products, and such exposure to these chemicals may lead to adverse health effects.

The four PFAS that EFSA’s assessment focused on are perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS).

EFSA scientists report toddlers and other children are the most exposed population groups, with exposure during pregnancy and breastfeeding being the main contributor to PFAS levels in infants.

Source: EFSA, 17 September 2020