Prenatal Exposure to Perfluorocarboxylic Acids (PFCAs) and Foetal and Postnatal Growth in the Taiwan Maternal and Infant Cohort Study

Perfluorocarboxylic acids (PFCAs) are environmentally and biologically persistent synthetic chemicals. PFCAs include perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA, C8) and long-chain PFCAs (C9-C20). Studies examining long-chain PFCAs and foetal and postnatal growth are limited. In this study, the authors investigated the associations of prenatal exposure to long chain PFCAs and foetal and postnatal growth. For 223 Taiwanese mothers and their term infants, the authors measured PFOA and 4 long-chain PFCAs (ng/mL) in third trimester maternal serum; infant weight (kg), length and head circumference (cm) at birth; and childhood weight and height at approximately 2, 5, 8, and 11 years of age. For each sex, multivariable linear regression was used to examine associations between ln-transformed prenatal PFCAs and continuous infant measures, and logistic regression to examine small for gestational age (SGA). Linear mixed models were applied to prenatal PFCAs and childhood weight and height z-scores. The results showed that in girls, prenatal perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDeA), perfluoroundecanoic acid (PFUnDA), and perfluorododecanoic acid (PFDoDA) concentrations were inversely associated with birth weight (e.g., ?birth weight (kg) = -0.06, 95% confidence interval [CI]: -0.11, -0.01 per 1 ln-unit PFUnDA increase); Prenatal PFDeA and PFUnDA were associated with elevated odds of SGA; and PFDeA, PFUnDA, and PFDoDA were associated with lower average childhood height z-score. In boys, prenatal PFNA, and PFDoDA were associated with reductions in height at certain ages in childhood, but not with size at birth. The authors concluded that prenatal exposure to long-chain PFCAs may interfere with foetal and childhood growth in girls, and childhood growth in boys.

Authors: Wang Y, Adgent M, Su PH, Chen HY, Chen PC, Hsiung CA, Wang SL. ;Full Source: Environmental Health Perspectives. 2016 Feb 19. [Epub ahead of print] ;