Key messages: Teenagers in Europe face health risks from exposure to toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) according to a series of studies conducted between 2014 and 2021. Of the teenagers who participated in the studies, an average of 14.3% had blood levels above the health-based guidance value (HBGV), with two countries exceeding 20%. Given the large number of PFAS and their widespread use, these results highlight the need for further upstream restrictions of these substances as a group, to limit human exposure to other PFAS substances not yet regulated.

Share of teenagers in Europe exposed to PFAS levels exceeding the EFSA health-based guidance value (HBGV), 2014-2021

Loading chart...

References and footnotes

  1. Apel, P., et al., 2020, ‘Human biomonitoring initiative (HBM4EU) - Strategy to derive human biomonitoring guidance values (HBM-GVs) for health risk assessment’, International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health 230, p. 113622.
    a b
  2. Ingelido, A. M., et al., 2018, ‘Biomonitoring of perfluorinated compounds in adults exposed to contaminated drinking water in the Veneto Region, Italy’, Environment International 110, pp. 149-159.
  3. Numata, J., et al., 2014, ‘Toxicokinetics of seven perfluoroalkyl sulfonic and carboxylic acids in pigs fed a contaminated diet’, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 62(28), pp. 6861-6870.
  4. EU, 2019, Regulation (EU) 2019/1021 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on persistent organic pollutants (recast) (Text with EEA relevance.) (OJ L 169, 25.6.2019, pp. 45-77).
  5. EU, 2006, Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), establishing a European Chemicals Agency, amending Directive 1999/45/EC and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 793/93 and Commission Regulation (EC) No 1488/94 as well as Council Directive 76/769/EEC and Commission Directives 91/155/EEC, 93/67/EEC, 93/105/EC and 2000/21/EC (OJ L 396, 30.12.2006, pp. 1-849).
  6. EU, 2020, Directive (EU) 2020/2184 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2020 on the quality of water intended for human consumption (recast) (OJ L 435, 23.12.2020, pp. 1-62).
  7. EC, 2020, COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, THE COUNCIL, THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE AND THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability Towards a Toxic-Free Environment (COM(2020) 667 final of 14 October 2020) ( accessed 26 April 2023.
  8. Ehresman, D. J., et al., 2007, ‘Comparison of human whole blood, plasma, and serum matrices for the determination of perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS), perfluorooctanoate (PFOA), and other fluorochemicals’, Environmental Research 103(2), pp. 176-184.
  9. Gilles, L., et al., 2021, ‘HBM4EU combines and harmonises human biomonitoring data across the EU, building on existing capacity – The HBM4EU survey’, International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health 237, p. 113809.
  10. Gilles, L., et al., 2022, ‘Harmonization of Human Biomonitoring Studies in Europe: Characteristics of the HBM4EU-Aligned Studies Participants’, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 19(11), p. 6787.
  11. Esteban López, M., et al., 2021, ‘The European human biomonitoring platform - Design and implementation of a laboratory quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) programme for selected priority chemicals’, International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health 234, p. 113740.
  12. HBM4EU, 2021, ‘HBM European Network’, HBM4EU ( accessed 10 July 2022.
  13. Buekers, J., et al., 2018, ‘Development of Policy Relevant Human Biomonitoring Indicators for Chemical Exposure in the European Population’, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 15(10), p. 2085.
  14. Lobo Vicente, j., et al., 2022, ‘AD5.6 Policy implications of the indicators’, HBM4EU ( accessed 18 August 2022.
  15. Lobo Vicente, J., et al., 2022, ‘AD5.3 Case-study report on HBM-indicators’, HBM4EU ( accessed 18 August 2022.