Environment International

Meng Li, Xiao-Wen Zeng, Zhengmin (Min) Qian, Michael G. Vaughn, Sébastien Sauvé, Gunther Paul, Shao Lin*, Long Lu, Li-Wen Hu, Bo-Yi Yang, Yang Zhou, Xiao-Di Qin, and Shu-Li Xu


Prior investigations on the associations of polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) with fetal growth are mixed. Moreover, little research has accrued pertaining to the association between isomers of PFASs with gestational age and birth weight. To address this gap and present novel information, we conducted a study including 321 pairs of mothers and their infants recruited from Guangzhou, China. High performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry was utilized to analyze isomers of perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS), perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) along with other PFAS levels in cord serum samples. Mothers’ and infants’ characteristics were gathered from medical records. The resulting data revealed that higher PFOS, PFOA and isomers of PFOS were associated with lower birth weight. Per ln-unit (ng/mL) increase in cord serum total branched PFOS isomers was associated with a 126.3 g (95% CI: − 195.9, − 56.8) reduction in the weight of infants at birth, while an ln-unit (ng/mL) increase of serum linear PFOS isomers (n-PFOS) was associated with a 57.2 g (95% CI: − 103.1, − 11.3) reduction in the weight of infants at birth upon the subsequent adjustment for potential confounding variables. Notably, the association between cord PFAS level and birth weight was more pronounced in male infants. Furthermore, a positive association among branched PFOS isomers (1m-PFOS and 3 + 4 + 5m-PFOS) and gestational age was found. No associations could be found among other PFASs in conjunction with gestational age or birth weight. In conclusion, this investigation suggests that higher PFAS concentrations are associated with lower birth weight, and branched PFOS isomers show greater impact on infant birth weight than linear PFOS.

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* Denotes CSDA Associates, Affiliates, and Staff