In an article published on July 15, 2020, Jennifer Bartels and colleagues from the Department of Radiology, University of Alabama in Birmingham, US, reported data on internal distribution of “long-chain” (C8) and “short-chain” (C6) per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in pregnant mice.

The authors used their previously developed technique for radiolabeling PFAS with fluorine 18, which has already revealed the occurrence of “uptake in all organs examined, with the highest uptake being exhibited in the liver” for C8 and C6 substances and in the stomach for an even shorter-chain PFAS, C4 (FPF reported).

The new publication showed that PFAS administration to pregnant mice via the tail vein led to “rapid uptake of both . . . [C6 and C8 PFAS] in placentae followed by transport into fetuses.” Uptake after oral gavage was “slower . . . but still exhibited transport across the placenta.” Further, PFAS uptake “was found in all tissues examined.” After the administration through the tail vein, the greatest uptake was observed in the blood for both C6 and C8 PFASs, while application via oral gavage resulted in the greatest uptake in the lungs.

The authors conclude that their results help establish the link “between PFAS exposure in pregnant mammals and offspring health.” The developed radiolabeling method in general “could be valuable in helping to determine the biological uptake of any PFAS in mammals.”


Burkemper, J., et al. (2017) “Radiosynthesis and biological distribution of 18F-labeled perfluorinated alkyl substances.Environmental Science & Technology Letters 4: 211-215.


Bartels, J., et al. (2020). “Comparative uptake and biological distribution of [18F]-labeled C6 and C8 perfluorinated alkyl substances in pregnant mice via different routes of administration.Environmental Science & Technology Letters (published July 15, 2020).