Environmental research

Transfer of perfluoroalkyl substances from mother to fetus in a Spanish birth cohort.

PMID 26257032


Prenatal exposure to perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) might affect child health; thus estimating PFAS fetal burden is relevant. PFAS fetal burden is best estimated in cord samples; previous studies have used either maternal plasma or serum during pregnancy as proxy, but their validity is not clear. We aimed to evaluate PFAS transfer between mother and fetus and determine its predictors in a Spanish birth cohort. We measured perfluorobutane sulfonate (PFBS), perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS), perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorooctanoate (PFOA), and perfluorononanoate (PFNA) in maternal blood and cord serum from 66 mother-child pairs. We used Spearman's rank coefficients to correlate PFAS concentrations in first trimester maternal plasma and serum, with cord serum samples. We assessed PFAS placental transfer by calculating maternal to cord ratios and examined their association with maternal socio-demographic characteristics and child sex using linear regression models. Median concentrations of PFAS (ng/mL) of PFHxS, PFOS, PFOA, and PFNA in maternal plasma (0.79, 6.18, 2.85 and 0.84, respectively) and serum (0.84, 6.99, 2.97 and 0.85) were higher than in cord serum (0.40, 1.86, 1.90 and 0.32). PFBS was not detected. Positive Spearman's correlations (p-values<0.001) were found between maternal plasma and serum (⍴≥0.80), maternal plasma and cord (⍴≥0.66), and maternal serum and cord samples (⍴≥0.67). Maternal plasma to cord ratios were above 1 (PFHxS: 2.35 [95%CI: 2.05, 2.70], PFOS: 3.33 [3.05, 3.62], PFOA: 1.37 [1.27, 1.48], PFNA: 2.39 [2.18, 2.63]); maternal serum to cord ratios were similar. Maternal to cord ratios decreased with maternal age, but not with other socio-demographic factors. Our results suggest that PFAS fetal body burden can be assessed using as proxy maternal plasma or serum collected early in pregnancy. Maternal age might influence PFAS placental transfer.

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Perfluorooctanoic acid, 96%