Maternal exposure to perfluoroalkyl chemicals and anogenital distance in the offspring: a Faroese cohort study

By Jonathan Vibe Retbøll Christensen, Khushal Khan Bangash, Pál Weihe, Phillippe Grandjean, Flemming Nielsen, Tina Kold Jensen, and Maria Skaalum Petersen
Reprod Toxicol
July 6, 2021
DOI: 10.1016/j.reprotox.2021.06.016

Exposure to perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) has in some studies been associated with reduced anogenital distance (AGD) in newborns as a sensitive indicator of prenatal anti-androgenic exposure. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between maternal PFAS exposure and offspring AGD in a population with wide ranges of PFAS exposures. Participants were recruited in the Faroe Islands in 2007-2009, and information on AGD and PFAS exposure was obtained from 463 mother-infant pairs. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) and perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA) were measured in maternal pregnancy serum. Data were analyzed using multiple linear regression analysis adjusted for birth weight, child age at examination, parity, and maternal education level. Among boys, higher maternal serum concentrations of PFOA, PFOS, PFNA and PFDA were significantly associated with a longer AGD, both with the exposure entered as a continuous variable and as quartiles. Boys in the highest quartile of PFOA, PFOS, PFNA and PFDA exposure had an increase in AGD of 1.2 mm (95% CI 0.1;2.2), 1.3 mm (95% CI 0.3;2.3), 1.0 mm (95% CI 0.0:2.0) and 1.3 mm (95% CI 0.3;2.4), respectively, when compared to boys in the lowest quartile of exposure (p < 0.05). No significant association was found between male AGD and PFHxS. No association was found for girls. In conclusion, elevated maternal exposure to major PFASs was significantly associated with a longer AGD in boys. No significant associations were found among girls, thus suggesting a sex-dimorphic effect of PFAS exposure.

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