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Children's Health Advance Publication

Environ Health Perspect; DOI:10.1289/ehp.1306606

Perfluoroalkyl Chemicals and Asthma among Children 12–19 Years of Age: NHANES (1999–2008)

Olivier Humblet,1 Ledif Grisell Diaz-Ramirez,2 John R. Balmes,2,3 Susan M. Pinney,4 and Robert A. Hiatt5
Author Affiliations close
1Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholars Program, Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA; 2University of California Berkeley School of Public Health, Berkeley, California, USA; 3Department of Medicine, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA; 4Department of Environmental Health, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; 5Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA
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This EHP Advance Publication article has been peer-reviewed, revised, and accepted for publication. EHP Advance Publication articles are completely citable using the DOI number assigned to the article. This document will be replaced with the copyedited and formatted version as soon as it is available. Through the DOI number used in the citation, you will be able to access this document at each stage of the publication process.

Citation: Humblet O, Diaz-Ramirez LG, Balmes JR, Pinney SM, Hiatt RA. Perfluoroalkyl Chemicals and Asthma among Children 12–19 Years of Age: NHANES (1999–2008). Environ Health Perspect;

Received: 4 February 2013
Accepted: 5 June 2014
Advance Publication: 6 June 2014

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Background: Perfluoroalkyl chemicals (PFCs) are a family of commonly-used industrial chemicals whose persistence and ubiquity in human blood samples has led to concern about possible toxicity. Several animal studies and one recent human study have suggested a link between exposure to PFCs and asthma, although few epidemiologic studies have been conducted.

Methods: We evaluated the association between serum concentrations of eight PFCs, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), and perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), with self-reported lifetime asthma, recent wheezing, and current asthma using data from participants 12-19 years of age from the 1999-2000 and 2003-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys.

Results: In multivariable adjusted models, PFOA was associated with higher odds of ever having received a diagnosis of asthma (OR: 1.18, 95% CI: 1.01, 1.39 for a doubling in PFOA), whereas for PFOS there were inverse relationships with both asthma and wheezing (OR: 0.88, 95% CI: 0.74, 1.04; OR: 0.83, 95% CI: 0.67, 1.02, respectively). The associations were attenuated after accounting for sampling weights. No associations were seen between the other PFCs and any outcome.

Conclusions: This cross-sectional study provides some evidence for associations between exposure to PFCs and asthma-related outcomes in children. The evidence is inconsistent, however, and prospective studies are needed.

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