Association between PFAS congeners exposure and asthma among US children in a nationally representative sample

By Yi-Fan Wang, Bin Xie, and Ying-Xue Zou
Environ Geochem Health
May 17, 2023
DOI: 10.1007/s10653-023-01614-8

Over the past few decades, contamination with perfluorinated and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) has gradually become a worldwide problem. Now that common PFAS such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) are being phased out and replaced, people may be exposed to other PFAS congeners, and their potential hazards should be fully studied. We assessed the association of serum PFAS levels (as biomarkers of exposure) with asthma, including 2-(N-methyl-perfluorooctane sulfonamido) acetic acid (Me-PFOSA-AcOH), pefluorodecanoic acid (PFDA), and perfluoroundecanoic acid (PFUnDA), using data from participants aged 3-11 from the 2013-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (n = 525), where PFAS was modeled as a binary variable.Me-PFOSA-AcOH (1.36; 95% CI 0.77, 2.38), PFDA (1.33; 95% CI 0.76, 2.33), and PFUnDA (1.89; 95% CI 0.83, 4.35) were nonsignificantly associated with increased odds of asthma. Age, sex, and race/ethnicity modified associations between serum PFUnDA, not other serum PFAS congeners exposure, and odds of asthma. Specifically, for male participants, the OR = 3.06 and 95% CI 1.23-7.62 for serum PFUnDA exposure; for participants aged 3-7 years old, the OR = 3.55 and 95% CI 1.04-12.10 for serum PFUnDA exposure; for non-Hispanic White participants, the OR = 3.44 and 95% CI 1.14-10.36 for serum PFUnDA exposure, all of which exhibited a significantly positive relationship. This cross-sectional study provides some evidence for associations between exposure to PFAS congeners and asthma in children. We believe this relationship deserves further exploration. More large-scale epidemiologic studies are needed to evaluate the association of serum PFAS congeners, especially for PFUnDA exposure, with asthma among children.

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