Associations of prenatal exposure to perfluoroalkyl substances with preterm birth: A family-based birth cohort study

By Yunjiang Yu, Xiao-Di Qin, Michael S Bloom, Chu Chu, Xin Dai, Qin-Qin Li, Zan-Xiong Chen, Min-Li Kong, Yan-Qi Xie, Wen-Jie Meng, Bo-Yi Yang, Li-Wen Hu, Xiao-Wen Zeng, Xiao-Miao Zhao, Yang Zhou, and Guang-Hui Dong
Environ Res
July 7, 2022
DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2022.113803

Studies have investigated associations between maternal exposure to PFAS and preterm birth, but the impact of paternal and overall family exposure to PFAS mixtures on preterm birth remains unknown. To address this knowledge gap, a total of 355 preterm births and 481 controls were selected for a family-based birth cohort study in a coastal area of China, between 2016 and 2018. Seven PFAS, including perfluorobutanoic acid (PFBA), perfluorohexanoic acid (PFHxA), perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) and perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA), were quantified in maternal, paternal and neonatal sera. Preterm birth was defined as live delivery at <37 completed gestational weeks. Bayesian kernel machine regression (BKMR) model was used to inspect the combined effect of family PFAS mixtures. Latent class analysis was used to identify family-level PFAS exposure profiles. Multiple linear regression analysis showed higher odds of preterm birth in association with higher maternal PFBA (OR = 1.16, 95%CI:1.09, 1.25), PFOA (OR = 1.51, 95%CI:1.27, 1.80), PFOS (OR = 2.07, 95%CI:1.70, 2.52) and PFNA (OR = 1.36, 95%CI: 1.01, 1.83), and neonatal PFBA (OR = 1.16, 95%CI:1.05,1.29), PFHxA (OR = 1.46, 95%CI:1.32, 1.62), PFHxS (OR = 1.15, 95%CI:1.05, 1.26) and PFNA (OR = 1.30, 95%CI:1.09,1.56). The associations were reversed between individual paternal PFAS exposures and preterm birth. At the family level, higher PFAS mixture concentration was associated with higher odds of preterm birth. In particular, higher PFNA and PFDA exposure was associated with greater preterm birth risk (OR = 2.55, 95%CI:1.45, 4.50). The PFAS-preterm association was modified by family-level seafood consumption. Our results suggest that higher family-level PFNA and PFDA exposure was associated with greater preterm birth risk, although the results for individual paternal, maternal and neonatal PFAS exposures were contradictory. If replicated in other coastal areas, these findings highlight a need to focus on the family triad and to consider seafood consumption when assessing the reproductive toxicity of PFAS exposure.

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