Healthy eating index and diet diversity score as determinants of serum perfluoroalkyl acid (PFAA) concentrations in a national survey of Swedish adolescents

By Jennifer Nyström, Jonathan P. Benskin, Merle Plassmann, Oskar Sandblom, Anders Glynn, Erik Lampa, Irina Gyllenhammar, Sanna Lignell, and Lotta Moraeus
Environ. Res.
April 6, 2022
DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2022.113170

Food is an important source of perfluoroalkyl acid (PFAA) exposure for the general adult population, but few data exist for adolescents. Healthy food habits established during adolescence may positively influence health later in life. Associations between serum PFAA concentrations and a healthy eating index (SHEIA15), as well as a diet diversity score (RADDS), were determined in a nationally representative adolescent population from Sweden (Riksmaten Adolescents 2016–2017, RMA). Using consumption data from food registrations and frequency questionnaires, we additionally analyzed associations with commonly consumed food groups. Associations were analyzed by fitting a cumulative probability model using ordinal regression. Among the seven PFAAs detected in ≥70% of the 1098 participants (age 10–21 years), median concentrations ranged from <1 ng/g serum of perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA), perflurorundecanoic acid (PFUnDA), linear (lin-) perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS) and branched (br-) perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) to 1–2 ng/g serum of lin-perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and lin-PFOS. PFNA, PFDA, PFUnDA and lin-PFOS concentrations were positively associated with both SHEIA15 and RADDS, a finding most likely driven by higher consumption of seafood. PFDA, PFUnDA and lin-PFOS concentrations were positively related to commonly consumed fish/shellfish groups, such as lean marine fish and shellfish. Inverse associations between PFAA concentrations and dairy consumption suggest an underlying factor behind dairy consumption that similarly affects adolescent exposure to the different PFAAs. Isomeric differences in dietary exposure between lin-PFOS and br-PFOS were suggested, as br-PFOS concentrations, in contrast to lin-PFOS, were not associated with SHEIA15, RADDS and consumption of different food groups. We conclude that Swedish adolescents, adhering to a diverse and healthy diet, appears to be more highly exposed to legacy PFAAs than those eating less healthy. Additional research is necessary for a better understanding of the health implications of healthy eating from a PFAA exposure perspective.


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