Identifying Risk Factors for Levels of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in the Placenta in a High-Risk Pregnancy Cohort in North Carolina
By Bangma, Jacqueline, Lauren A. Eaves, Kirsi Oldenburg, Jessica L. Reiner, Tracy Manuck, and Rebecca C. Fry
Environ Sci Technol
November 17, 2020
Prenatal exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a ubiquitous class of chemicals, is associated with adverse outcomes such as pre-eclampsia, low infant birth weight, and later-life adiposity. The objectives of this study were to examine PFAS levels in the placenta and identify sociodemographic risk factors in a high-risk pregnancy cohort (n = 122) in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Of concern, PFOS, PFHxS, PFHpS, and PFUnA were detected above the reporting limit in 99, 75, 55, and 49% of placentas, respectively. Maternal race/ethnicity was associated with significant differences in PFUnA levels. While the data from this high-risk cohort did not provide evidence for an association with hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, fetal growth, or gestational age, the prevalence of detectable PFAS in the placenta suggests a need to biomonitor for exposure to PFAS during pregnancy. Future research should investigate factors underlying the differences in PFAS levels in association with a mother's race/ethnicity, as well as potential effects on pregnancy and child health.
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