Associations between per and polyfluoroalkyl ether sulfonic acids and vitamin D biomarker levels in Chinese newborns

By Hongxiu Liu, Yun Huang, Yitao Pan, Rongrong Cheng, Xiaojun Li, Yuanyuan Li, Shi Lu, Aifen Zhou, Jiayin Dai, and Shunqing Xu
Sci Total Environ
January 5, 2023
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.161410

Skeleton develops extremely fast during fetal and neonatal stages; thus, fetuses and newborns exhibit unique vulnerabilities to vitamin D metabolism dysregulation, giving vitamin D's principal role in calcium homeostasis. Previous studies linked legacy per and polyfluoroalkyl ether sulfonic acids (PFAS) with vitamin D biomarker status in adults and children; however, how PFAS, especially emerging CI-PFESAs, influence vitamin D among newborns is unknown. This study focused on the epidemiological linkages between PFAS and vitamin D biomarkers. Eleven PFAS, including legacy PFAS and emerging CI-PFESAs, as well as two vitamin D metabolites [25-hydroxyvitamin D2 (25(OH)D2) and 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (25(OH)D3)], were determined in cord sera of 992 newborns from a birth cohort in Wuhan, China. The cord serum levels of 25(OH)D2 and 25(OH)D3 were summed as total 25(OH)D, which is a reliable biomarker of vitamin D status. The associations of separated PFAS with vitamin D biomarker levels were analyzed via multiple linear models, whereas the mixture effect was estimated by utilizing the weighted quantile sum (WQS) regression. We observed that per doubling changes in perfluorotridecanoate (PFTrDA), perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS), and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) were associated with a 6.04 to 9.05 % change in total 25(OH)D levels. PFHxS contributed over half of the PFAS mixture effect on total 25(OH)D. Stratified analysis indicated that the associations of certain PFAS with vitamin D biomarkers were more pronounced among boys. The emerging CI-PFESAs were not robustly related to vitamin D biomarker levels. The results suggested that exposure to legacy PFAS might disturb vitamin D status in newborns. Future epidemiological studies are required to confirm the association and to determine healthy implications at a later age.

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