Dietary and maternal sociodemographic determinants of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substance levels in pregnant women

By Xiaona Huo, Wei Liang, Weifeng Tang, Yan Ao, Ying Tian, Qianlong Zhang, and Jun Zhang
May 6, 2023
DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2023.138863

Diet, including drinking water, and demographic characteristics have been associated with PFAS exposure levels in the general population. But data in pregnant women are scarce. We aimed to examine the PFAS levels in relation to these factors in early pregnancy and included 2545 pregnant women in early pregnancy from the Shanghai Birth Cohort. Ten PFAS were measured using high-performance liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC/MS-MS) in plasma samples at around 14 weeks of gestation. Geometric mean (GM) ratios were used to estimate the associations between demographic characteristics, food intake and source of drinking water and concentrations of nine PFAS with a detection rate of at least 70%, and the total perfluoroalkyl carboxylic acids (∑PFCA), perfluoroalkyl sulfonic acids (∑PFSA) and all the PFAS concentrations (∑PFAS). Median concentrations of plasma PFAS ranged from 0.03 ng/mL for PFBS to 11.56 ng/mL for PFOA. In the multivariable linear models, maternal age, parity, parental education level, marine fish, freshwater fish, shellfish, shrimps, crabs, animal kidneys, animal liver, eggs, and bone soup in early pregnancy were positively associated with plasma concentrations of certain PFAS. Whereas pre-pregnancy BMI, plant-based foods, and drinking bottled water were negatively associated with some PFAS concentrations. In summary, this study suggested that fish and seafood, animal offal, and high-fat foods (eggs and bone soup) were significant sources of PFAS. PFAS exposure may be reduced by consuming more plant-based foods and potential interventions, such as drinking water treatment.

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