Industrial chemical perfluorobutanoic acid less inclined to aggregate in human lungs and kidneys

Industrial chemical perfluorobutanoic acid less inclined to aggregate in human lungs and kidneys


  • Post By :

  • Source: BfR Federal Institute for Risk Assessment

  • Date: 25 Sep,2021

A 2013 study by Perez et al. discovered a significant accumulation of the chemical used in industrial production, perfluorobutanoic Acid (PFBA) in the human kidneys and lungs. Researchers from the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) examined the results with an even more precise method for quantification. The resultwas that only one sample had an identifiable PFBA amount that was 0.17 nanograms (ng) per Gram (g) in lung tissue. The BfR concludes that PFBA is unlikely to build up in human kidney and lung tissue. This is confirmed by the very short half-life of PFBA in blood. This was found in a different study.

The BfR study was published in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health:

Perfluorobutanoic Acid – PFBA as it is commonly referred to – is part of the group that is complex of polyfluoroalkyl compounds (PFAS). These are industrial chemicals that are used extensively in industrial processes. They are present in a variety of products for the consumer market, including textiles, paper, cooking pans, and cosmetics. While certain long-chain PFAS are found within the body because of their long half-lives, shorter-chain PFAS compounds like PFBA are found to have a shorter half-life in blood. As a result blood concentrations that are lower than 0.1 nanograms (ng) per milliliter (ml) were observed in various studies.

Surprisingly, however, a 2013 study by Perez et al. reported very high median concentrations of PFBA of 807 ng/g and 263 ng/g (ng/ml) in human lung and kidney tissue (

To confirm the results to confirm the results, the BfR conducted an examination of the PFBA concentrations of nine lung and seven kidney samples taken from operations for tumors between 2011 and 2014. The levels were generally less than the limit for quantification and it was possible to measure the PFBA amount that was 0.17 milligrams/g lung tissue one sample. The main challenge faced in mass analysis using spectrometrics of PFBA is the existence of only one fragmentation, which could cause inaccurate measurement.

Therefore, the current BfR study ( employed a high-resolution mass spectrometer that enables more precise quantification by using the exact mass. Based on these results and the results of the measurement, BfR has concluded that BfR is concluding that PFBA will not build up in the human kidneys and lung tissues. The BfR is recommending further research to verify these findings.

A study in 2020 by Grandjean and colleagues. reported a connection between higher PFBA blood plasma concentrations and more severe cases of COVID-19 ( However, the measured PFBA concentrations were low. The idea that the high PFBA amounts in the lungs may be the reason for the increased severity of COVID-19 patients was suggested in light of the findings of Perez and colleagues.

In light of the findings of the current BfR study, this connection is deemed less plausible.The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has reassessed the health hazards posed by PFAS in food products in September 2020. In this opinion, EFSA derived a tolerable weekly intake (TWI) of 4.4 nanograms (ng) per kilogram (kg) bodyweight per week (

This TWI applies for the first time to the sum of four PFAS: Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) and perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS). The basis for this TWI is an epidemiological study where children with greater blood serum levels of specific PFAS were discovered to have lower levels of antibody formation following normal vaccinations.



About Author