Prenatal Exposure to Perfluoroalkyl Substances and Cognitive and Neurobehavioral Development in Children at 6 Years of Age

By Zhenzhen Xie, Hong Liang, Maohua Miao, Ziliang Wang, Yao Chen, Lan Yang, Yan Zhou, Wencheng Cao, and Wei Yuan
Environ Sci Technol
May 22, 2023
DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.2c06535

Epidemiological evidence regarding the effects of prenatal exposure to perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) on neurodevelopment in children is inconclusive. In 449 mother-child pairs from the Shanghai-Minhang Birth Cohort Study, we measured the concentrations of 11 PFASs in maternal plasma samples obtained at 12-16 weeks of gestation. We assessed children's neurodevelopment at 6 years of age by the fourth edition of the Chinese Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children and Child Behavior Checklist for ages 6-18. We evaluated the association between prenatal exposure to PFASs and children's neurodevelopment and the effect modification of maternal dietary factors during pregnancy and the child's sex. We found that prenatal exposure to multiple PFASs was associated with increased scores for attention problems, and the individual effect of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) was statistically significant. However, no statistically significant association between PFASs and cognitive development was observed. Additionally, we found the effect modification of maternal nut intake and child's sex. In conclusion, this study suggests that prenatal exposure to PFASs was associated with more attention problems, and maternal nut intake during pregnancy may alter the potential effect of PFASs. However, these findings were exploratory because of multiple testing and the relatively small sample size.

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