Serum Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substance (PFAS) Concentrations and Predictors of Exposure among Pregnant African American Women in the Atlanta Area, Georgia.
By Che-Jung Chang, P Barry Ryan, Melissa Smarr, Kurunthachalam Kannan, Parinya Panuwet, Anne L Dunlop, Elizabeth J Corwin, and Dana Boyd Barr
November 17, 2020
Exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) has been associated with adverse health outcomes, especially when exposure occurs within sensitive time windows such as the pre- and post-natal periods and early childhood. However, few studies have focused on PFAS exposure distribution and predictors in pregnant women, especially among African American women. We quantified serum concentrations of the four most common PFAS collected in all 453 participants and an additional 10 PFAS in 356 participants who were pregnant African American women enrolled from 2014 to 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia, and investigated the sociodemographic predictors of exposure. Additional home environment and behavior predictors were also examined in 130 participants. Perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) were detected in > 95% of the samples with PFOS having the highest concentrations (geometric mean (GM) 2.03 ng/mL). N-Methyl perfluorooctane sulfonamido acetic acid (NMeFOSAA), perfluoropentanoic acid (PFPeA), perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA), and perfluoroundecanoic acid (PFUnDA) were found in 40-50% of the samples, whereas the detection frequencies for the other six PFAS were below 15%. When compared to National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) participants matching sex, race, and age with this study, our results showed similar concentrations of most PFAS, but higher concentrations of PFHxS (GM 0.99 ng/mL in this study; 0.63 and 0.4 ng/mL in NHANES 2014-2015 and 2016-2017 cycles). A decline in concentrations over the study period was found for most PFAS but not PFPeA. In adjusted models, education, sampling year, parity, BMI, tobacco and marijuana use, age of house, drinking water source, and cosmetic use were significantly associated with serum PFAS concentrations. Our study reports the first PFAS exposure data among pregnant African American women in the Atlanta area, Georgia. The identified predictors will facilitate the setting of research priorities and enable development of exposure mitigation strategies.