Global Exposure to Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances and Associated Burden of Low Birthweight

By Xiarui Fan, Song Tang, Ying Wang, Wenhong Fan, Yujie Ben, Ravi Naidu, and Zhaomin Dong
Environ Sci Technol
March 31, 2022
DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.1c08669

Low birthweight (LBW) is a worldwide public health concern, while the global burden of LBW attributable to endocrine-disrupting chemicals, such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), has not yet been evaluated. Here, we established a large dataset for the biomonitoring of seven representative congeners of PFAS by examining data from 2325 publications. Global exposure to perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) was the highest, followed by perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Spatiotemporal exposure to PFAS varied considerably, with daily intake estimated in the range of 0.01-1.7 ng/kg/day. Moreover, decreasing trends in PFOS, PFHxS, and PFOA exposure were noted in most regions of the world over the past two decades, but such trends were not observed for other PFAS with long carbon chains, especially in East Asia. Furthermore, we estimated that human exposure to PFOA contributed to approximately 461,635 (95% confidence interval: 57,418 to 854,645) cases per year of LBW during the past two decades, predominantly from Asian regions. Although our estimation may be constrained by uncertainties from the dose-response curve and data availability, this study has unveiled that PFAS might be a contributor to global LBW prevalence during 2000-2019, supporting continuous actions to mitigate PFAS contamination.

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