Exposure to PFAS and small for gestational age new-borns: A birth records study in Veneto Region (Italy)

By Manea, Silvia, Laura Salmaso, Giulia Lorenzoni, Monica Mazzucato, Francesca Russo, Domenico Mantoan, Marco Martuzzi, Tony Fletcher, and Paola Facchin
Environ Res
November 17, 2020
DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2020.109282

Background: Perfluoroalkylated substances (PFAS) in serum are inversely associated with fetal growth. Small for gestational age (SGA) is a measure based on birth weight and gestational age at birth and represents a good indicator of fetal growth but it has been used only in a small number of studies. We examined the association between PFAS exposure and the risk of severe SGA in a PFAS contaminated area in the Veneto Region (North-East of Italy).

Methods: A retrospective cohort study has been developed including all singleton live births reported in the Veneto Region Birth Registry between 2003 and 2018 to mothers living in the contaminated and in a control area. We estimated the association between mothers' area of residence and severe SGA using crude RR (and 95% CI) and stepwise logistic regression, including all the maternal characteristics.

Results: The study included 105,114 singleton live births. The occurence of severe SGA was 3.44% in the contaminated area and 2.67% in the control area. The multivariate analysis confirmed that living in the contaminated area significantly increased the odds of severe SGA (adjusted OR 1.27 (95% C.I. 1.16, 1.39)).

Conclusions: The findings suggest that living in a contaminated area by PFAS plays a role in affecting fetal growth and support the hypothesis that PFAS exposure is a risk factor for SGA. Individual data on exposure are needed to confirm the direct association.


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