Exposure to perfluoroalkyl substances in early pregnancy and risk of sporadic first trimester miscarriage
By Sverre Wikström, Ghada Hussein, Annika Lingroth Karlsson, Christian H Lindh, and Carl-Gustaf Bornehag
February 16, 2021
Many first trimester sporadic miscarriages are unexplained and the role of environmental exposures is unknown. The present aim was to study if levels of Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in early pregnancy are associated with unexplained, sporadic first trimester miscarriage. The study was performed within the Swedish SELMA pregnancy cohort. Seventy-eight women with non-recurrent first trimester miscarriage were included and 1449 women were available as live birth controls. Eight PFASs were measured in first trimester serum. A doubling of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) exposure, corresponding to an inter-quartile increase, was associated with an odds ratio (95%CI) for miscarriage of 1.48 (1.09-2.01) when adjusting for parity, age and smoking. Analyses per quartiles of PFOA exposure indicated a monotonic dose response association with miscarriage. A similar, but not significant, pattern was observed for perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA). For other PFAS, there were no associations with miscarriage. We have previously shown associations between early pregnancy PFAS exposures and preeclampsia, as well as lower birth weight. Now we report an association between PFOA and miscarriage within the same cohort, which may suggest shared but unknown mechanisms. The study can only represent a period of early placentation and clinical pregnancy loss during the second half of the first trimester.