Maternal exposure to perfluoroalkyl acids measured in whole blood and birth outcomes in offspring

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Science of The Total Environment



Place of Publication



School of Medical and Health Sciences




Callan, A. C. Rotander, A., Thompson, K., Heyworth, J., Mueller, J. F., Odland, J. Ø., & Hinwood, A. L. (2016). Maternal exposure to perfluoroalkyl acids measured in whole blood and birth outcomes in offspring. Science of the Total Environment, 560-570, 1107-1113. Available here.


Perfluoralkyl and polyfluoralkyl substances have been measured in plasma and serum of pregnant women as a measure of prenatal exposure. Increased concentrations of individual perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs), (typically perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluoroctane sulfonate (PFOS) have been reported to be associated with reductions in birth weight and other birth outcomes. We undertook a study of 14 PFAAs in whole blood (including PFOS, PFHxS, PFHpA, PFOA, PFNA, PFDA and PFUnDA) from 98 pregnant women in Western Australia from 2008 to 2011. Median concentrations (in μg/L) were: PFOS 1.99; PFHxS 0.33; PFOA 0.86; PFNA 0.30; PFDA 0.12 and PFUnDA 0.08. Infants born to women with the highest tertile of PFHxS exposure had an increased odds of being < 95% of their optimal birth weight (OR 3.5, 95% CI 1.1–11.5). Conversely, maternal blood concentrations of PFUnDA were associated with non-significant increases in average birth weight (+ 102 g, 95% CI − 41, 245) and significant increases in proportion of optimal birth weight (+ 4.7%, 95% CI 0.7, 8.8) per ln-unit change. This study has reported a range of PFAAs in the whole blood of pregnant women and suggests that PFHxS and PFUnDA may influence foetal growth and warrant further attention. Additional studies are required to identify the sources of PFAA exposure with a view to prevention, in addition to further studies investigating the long term health effects of these ubiquitous chemicals. © 2016



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