The association between maternal perfluoroalkyl substances exposure and early attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children: a systematic review and meta-analysis

By Aibin Qu, Tengrui Cao, Zixuan Li, Wenjuan Wang, Ran Liu, Xue Wang, Yaxiong Nie, Suju Sun, Xuehui Liu, and Xiaolin Zhang
Environ Sci Pollut Res Int
July 13, 2021
DOI: 10.1007/s11356-021-15136-2

Some studies have shown that maternal exposure to perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) may be associated with early attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. The purpose of this systematic review and meta-analysis is to verify this association by reviewing existing studies and to provide a strong basis for preventing ADHD. The researchers searched electronic databases such as PubMed, Science Direct, Scopus, Google Scholar, Web of Science, and Embase for all studies published before October 2020. Finally, we included nine articles for analysis. Our meta-analysis showed that maternal exposure to PFASs was not significantly associated with the prevalence rate of early childhood ADHD (perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), odds ratio (OR) = 1.00, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) = 0.75-1.25; perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), OR = 1.01, 95% CI = 0.88-1.14; perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS), OR = 1.08, 95% CI = 0.80-1.09; perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), OR = 1.13, 95% CI = 0.99-1.28; perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA), OR = 1.23, 95% CI = 0.15-2.32). Due to significant heterogeneity, we subsequently performed subgroup analysis and sensitivity analysis. Through subgroup analysis, we found that PFOS concentration of children's blood and the prevalence rate of early childhood ADHD were statistically positively correlated, and there was also a positive correlation between PFOS exposure and the prevalence rate of early childhood ADHD in the America. Moreover, there was also a statistically positive correlation between PFNA concentration in maternal blood and the prevalence rate of early childhood ADHD. Sensitivity analysis showed that the final results did not change much, the sensitivity was low, and the results were relatively stable. In conclusion, a causal relationship between maternal PFASs exposure and ADHD in children was unlikely. Among them, PFOS, PFNA, and ADHD might have positive associations worthy of further investigation.

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