Recently completed project: Fluorinated substances metabolize to bioactive products that covalently modify proteins


This collective research examined the biological fate of fluorinated substances used in commercial products for their oil and water repellent properties. Using time-of-flight mass spectrometry and combustion ion chromatography, we demonstrated that fluorinated aldehydes form from metabolism of these substances covalently bind to proteins, modification of which generally plays a critical role in the risk of exposure through protein dysfunction. We showed that this binding may contribute to decreased cell viability using animal (C. elegans) and cell models; the aldehydes caused greater damage compared with other fluorinated substances we are regularly exposed to. These studies provide a platform for future exploratory research elucidating specific biological mechanisms altered after exposure to fluorinated substances, to more completely predict the risk of fluorinated substance exposure to humans and wildlife.

Rand and Mabury (2017). “Is there a human health risk associated with indirect exposure to perfluorinated carboxylates (PFCAs)?” Toxicology

Rand and Mabury (2013). “Protein binding associated with exposure to fluorotelomer alcohols (FTOHs) and polyfluoroalkyl phosphate esters (PAPs) in rats” Environmental Science and Technology

Rand et al. (2013). “Cellular toxicity associated with exposure to perfluorinated carboxylates (PFCAs) and their metabolic precursors” Chemical Research and Toxicology