Variability and predictors of serum perfluoroalkyl substance concentrations during pregnancy and early childhood

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Exposure to poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), ubiquitous and persistent environmental contaminants, could be associated with adverse health outcomes, but there are limited longitudinal data assessing patterns and predictors of exposure during childhood. We quantified concentrations of eight different PFAS in sera collected from women during pregnancy and children at delivery and ages 3 and 8 years in 367 mother-child pairs enrolled in a prospective cohort from 2003 to 2006. In general, median childhood PFAS concentrations increased from birth to age 3 and then decreased by age 8. Maternal serum PFAS concentrations during pregnancy were strongly correlated with cord serum concentrations (0.76 < r < 0.94), but were weakly correlated with childhood concentrations (0.12 < r < 0.30). Several sociodemographic factors were associated with maternal PFAS concentrations, including income, race, and parity. In children, serum PFAS concentrations were associated with maternal age at delivery, race, parity, and child age. Breastfeeding duration was positively associated with childhood PFAS concentrations at ages 3 and 8 years. In addition, stain repellant use was associated with higher perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorohexane sulfonic acid concentrations at age 8 years. Serum PFAS concentrations are higher during early childhood, a potentially sensitive period of development, and were highest among breastfed children.HighlightsFew longitudinal studies have examined child perfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) exposure.Childhood PFAS concentrations increased from birth to age 3 and decreased by age 8.Sociodemographic factors (income, race, parity) were associated with PFAS.Breastfeeding was associated with high PFAS concentrations at ages 3 and 8 years.Exposure may be higher during a potentially sensitive period of development.

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