High in Utero Exposure to Perfluoroalkyl Substances from Drinking Water and Birth Weight: A Cohort Study among Infants in Ronneby, Sweden
By Karin Engström, Anna Axmon, Christel Nielsen, and Anna Rignell-Hydbom
Int J Environ Res Public Health
March 7, 2022
In 2013, the drinking water for one-third of the households in Ronneby, Sweden, was found to be contaminated by perfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS, >10,000 ng/L) from Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF). In utero PFAS exposure can influence birth weight, but little is known about the effects at very high levels. This study aimed to examine the association between in utero PFAS exposure and birth weight. Infants with mothers from Ronneby exposed to contaminated water at home (high exposure) and infants with mothers from Ronneby not exposed to contaminated water at home (low exposure) were compared to infants with mothers from Blekinge county excluding Ronneby (referents). All infants born in Blekinge county 1995-2013 were included ( = 30,360). Differences in birth weight were only seen among infants born after 2005. For boys, Ronneby high exposure had a lower mean birth weight than referents (-54 g, 95% CI -97; -11). For girls, Ronneby high exposure had a higher mean birth weight than referents (47 g, 95% CI 4; 90). There were no differences in birth weight between referents and Ronneby low exposure. In conclusion, high exposure to PFAS may influence birth weight in a sex-specific way, although the effect estimates were relatively small.