Anthropogenic perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) have recently gained socio-economic and scientific interest. PFCs constitute a newly emanating group of environmental contaminants, with physico-chemical as well as toxicological properties different from those of other halogenated compounds. PFCs are generally persistent in the environment, and can be found over a broad concentration range and within most parts of the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Food, produced with natural ingredients, and possibly beverages, including drinking water, are likely to be contaminated with PFCs, giving rise to human exposure. Whether or not industrial food processing and packaging may give rise to additional contamination of food and beverages is currently not understood. Whatever the sources, PFCs have indeed been found to be present at a global scale in blood of the general population. PERFOOD brings together the institutes most renowned in Europe and the Globe for their chemical analytical work on PFCs with experts in food consumption and drinking water quality as well as food processing and packaging. The aims of the present project are to develop robust and reliable analytical tools including reference materials for the determination of PFCs in food items, and to use these to (i) qualify and quantify PFCs in our diet, employing a large European sampling campaign; (ii) understand how PFCs are transferred from the environment into dietary items, and (iii) quantify the possible contribution of food/beverage contact materials and food and water processing to the overall PFC levels in our diet. The newly gained knowledge will enable us to evaluate the possible routes, including their relative importance, of human exposure to PFCs via our diet, to assess the role of the technosphere in the contamination of our food, and to identify ways to reduce the PFC contamination of dietary articles.
Prof. dr. Pim de Voogt