Private drinking water wells as a source of exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in communities surrounding a fluoropolymer production facility.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


The C8 Health Project was established in 2005 to collect data on perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA, or C8) and human health in Ohio and West Virginia communities contaminated by a fluoropolymer production facility.


We assessed PFOA exposure via contaminated drinking water in a subset of C8 Health Project participants who drank water from private wells.


Participants provided demographic information and residential, occupational, and medical histories. Laboratory analyses were conducted to determine serum-PFOA concentrations. PFOA data were collected from 2001 through 2005 from 62 private drinking water wells. We examined the relationship between drinking water and PFOA levels in serum using robust regression methods. As a comparison with regression models, we used a first-order, single-compartment pharmacokinetic model to estimate the serum:drinking-water concentration ratio at steady state.


The median serum PFOA concentration in 108 study participants who used private wells was 75.7 μg/L, approximately 20 times greater than the levels in the U.S. general population but similar to those of local residents who drank public water. Each 1 μg/L increase in PFOA levels in drinking water was associated with an increase in serum concentrations of 141.5 μg/L (95% confidence interval, 134.9-148.1). The serum:drinking-water concentration ratio for the steady-state pharmacokinetic model was 114.


PFOA-contaminated drinking water is a significant contributor to PFOA levels in serum in the study population. Regression methods and pharmacokinetic modeling produced similar estimates of the relationship.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Hoffman, K; Webster, TF; Bartell, SM; Weisskopf, MG; Fletcher, T; Vieira, VM

Published Date

  • January 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 119 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 92 - 97

PubMed ID

  • 20920951

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC3018506

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1552-9924

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0091-6765

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1289/ehp.1002503


  • eng