In an article published on December 13, 2018, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) informed that its CONTAM Panel has published a scientific opinion on two “main” perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA, CAS 335-67-1) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS, CAS 1763-23-1). EFSA described PFOA and PFOS as “man-made chemicals . . . used widely in industrial and consumer applications since the mid-20th century.” These substances “persist in the environment” and “can accumulate in the human body.” The opinion proposes “to revise the tolerable intakes of . . . [these] chemical contaminants to which human humans are exposed through the food chain as a result of environmental pollution.” To confirm its scientific approach, as well as “new sources of data and the remaining scientific uncertainties,” EFSA has consulted with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and Member States “who recently looked at the safety of these substances.”

The now-published opinion is the first of the two assessments being carried out by EFSA in response to the European Commission’s (EC) request “to reassess the risks PFAS[s] pose to human health using data that has become available since its original assessment in 2008.” The second assessment will focus on “PFASs other than PFOS and PFOA,” and there will be a public consultation on the draft opinion. EFSA further noted that “these substances are often present as mixtures in the food chain.” Therefore, EFSA plans to use its “frameworks for assessing combined exposure to multiple chemicals – scheduled for finalization in spring 2019” – to complete this work.

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EFSA (December 13, 2018). “Contaminants update: first of two opinions on PFAS in food.

BIOCONTAM (December 14, 2018). “Minutes of the expert meeting on perfluorooctane sulfonic acid and perfluorooctanoic acid in food assessment.” EFSA/CONTAM/3503 (pdf)

BfR (December 14, 2018). “Perfluorierte Verbindungen PFOS und PFOA sind in Lebensmitteln unerwünscht.” Mitteilung Nr. 042/2018 (pdf; in German)

Chemical Watch (December 20, 2018). “EFSA panel lowers tolerable intakes for PFOS and PFOA.

ChemSec (January 30, 2019). “Scientists just cut the tolerable intake of PFAS by 99,9%.

Gareth Simkins (January 31, 2019). “EFSA set to slash limits on PFAS exposure.The ENDS Report


EFSA (December 13, 2018). “Risk to human health related to the presence of perfluorooctane sulfonic acid and perfluorooctanoic acid in food.EFSA Journal 16:e05194.