Environmental exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances and sleep disturbance in pregnant women: A prospective cohort study

By Yun Huang, Min Nian, Guoqi Yu, Ying Tian, Jingsong Zhang, Fan Jiang, and Jun Zhang
Sci Total Environ
June 22, 2022
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.156869

Previous studies on the association between exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and sleep patterns in pregnant women are limited. This cohort study aims to assess the associations between PFAS and sleep quality in pregnant women. Of the 4127 women who participated in the Shanghai Birth Cohort, 3174, 3070, and 2887 women in their first, second, and third trimesters of gestation, respectively, were included in our analysis. Sleep measures were taken using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index questionnaire. Ten PFAS were measured in blood samples collected in early pregnancy. We first evaluate the associations between individual PFAS and sleep quality in the three trimesters. Weighted quantile sum (WQS) regression models were performed to test the overall effect of the PFAS mixture on sleep quality during the three trimesters. Longitudinal analyses throughout pregnancy were performed with generalized estimating equation models. Furthermore, the effect of the PFAS mixture on longitudinal sleep patterns was examined using longitudinal latent class analyses combined with WQS models. The single pollutant analysis suggested that most PFAS were associated with increased sleep disturbance risk, lower sleep efficiency, and shorter sleep duration in the three trimesters. Similarly, the WQS models revealed a significant association between the PFAS mixtures and elevated sleep disturbance risk in pregnant women, with perfluorobutane sulfonate acting as the predominant risk factor. Additionally, the longitudinal analysis confirmed the effects of PFAS exposure on increased sleep disturbance over time. The PFAS mixture was positively associated with higher risks of poor sleep quality and sleep medicine use [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 1.10; 95 % confidence interval (95%CI): 1.01, 1.20; and aOR = 1.25 (95%CI: 1.04, 1.50) respectively] throughout the three trimesters. Our study suggests that PFAS may increase the risk of sleep disturbance in pregnant women. Further studies are needed to confirm our results and elucidate potential mechanisms.

MAIN FINDINGS: Pregnant women might be at particular risk for sleep disturbance with environmental exposure to PFAS, highlighting the need for prioritizing PFAS clean-up in products for pregnant women.

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