Prenatal Exposure to Perfluoroalkyl Substances and Body Fatness in Girls

Terryl J. Hartman, Antonia M. Calafat, Adrianne K. Holmes, Michele Marcus, Kate Northstone, W. Dana Flanders, Kayoko Kato, Ethel V. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Background: Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are used in surface coatings that resist stains, grease, and water. Methods: The association between in utero PFAS exposure and girls' body fatness at age 9 was analyzed in The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (UK). Maternal serum [median 15 weeks: interquartile range (IQR) 10 and 28 weeks of gestation] was analyzed for perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorooctanoate (PFOA), perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS), and perfluorononanoate (PFNA). Body composition was measured by dual X-ray emission absorptiometry, and percent total body fat (%BF) was calculated. Associations between PFASs and body fatness were modeled by multivariable linear regression. Results: Among 359 girls, median (IQR) %BF was 27.5 (IQR 21.7-34.6). Median (IQR) concentrations (all ng/mL) were 3.7 (2.9-4.8) for PFOA, 19.8 (15.0-25.3) for PFOS, 1.6 (1.3-2.2) for PFHxS, and 0.5 (0.4-0.7) for PFNA. Maternal PFAS concentrations were not significantly associated with daughters' total %BF overall. Mothers' educational status modified associations for PFOA and PFOS with %BF (P-interactions: 0.005 and 0.02, respectively). %BF was higher [1.4%; 95% confidence interval (95% CI): 0.3 to 2.5] for each one unit (ng/mL) higher PFOA among girls with mothers in the middle education group, but lower (-0.6%; 95% CI: -1.12 to -0.04) for the corresponding comparison among girls with mothers with the highest education. %BF was lower (-0.2%; 95% CI: -0.3 to -0.1) for each one unit higher PFOS among girls with the most educated mothers. Conclusions: Prenatal exposure to PFOA and PFOS was associated with girls' %BF within some strata of maternal education status. PFHxS and PFNA were not associated with %BF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)222-230
Number of pages9
JournalChildhood Obesity
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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