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Rate of decline in serum PFOA concentrations after granular activated carbon filtration at two public water systems in Ohio and West Virginia.


Drinking water in multiple water districts in the Mid-Ohio Valley has been contaminated with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which was released by a nearby DuPont chemical plant. Two highly contaminated water districts began granular activated carbon filtration in 2007.

To determine the rate of decline in serum PFOA, and its corresponding half-life, during the first year after filtration.

Up to six blood samples were collected from each of 200 participants from May 2007 until August 2008. The primary source of drinking water varied over time for some participants; our analyses were grouped according to water source at baseline in May-June 2007.

For Lubeck Public Service District customers, the average decrease in serum PFOA concentrations between May-June 2007 and May-August 2008 was 32 ng/mL (26%) for those primarily consuming public water at home (n = 130), and 16 ng/mL (28%) for those primarily consuming bottled water at home (n = 17). For Little Hocking Water Association customers, the average decrease in serum PFOA concentrations between November-December 2007 and May-June 2008 was 39 ng/mL (11%) for consumers of public water (n = 39) and 28 ng/mL (20%) for consumers of bottled water (n = 11). The covariate-adjusted average rate of decrease in serum PFOA concentration after water filtration was 26% per year (95% confidence interval, 2528% per year).

The observed data are consistent with first-order elimination and a median serum PFOA half-life of 2.3 years. Ongoing follow-up will lead to improved half-life estimation.

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