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Environ Health Perspect; DOI:10.1289/ehp.1306925

Association between Maternal Serum Perfluoroalkyl Substances during Pregnancy and Maternal and Cord Thyroid Hormones: Taiwan Maternal and Infant Cohort Study

Yan Wang,1 Walter J. Rogan,1 Pau-Chung Chen,2,3,4 Guang-Wen Lien,2 Hsiao-Yen Chen,5 Ying-Chih Tseng,6 Matthew P. Longnecker,1 and Shu-Li Wang1,5,7
Author Affiliations close
1Epidemiology Branch, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, DHHS, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA; 2Institute of Occupational Medicine and Industrial Hygiene, National Taiwan University College of Public Health, Taipei, Taiwan; 3Department of Public Health, National Taiwan University College of Public Health, Taipei, Taiwan; 4Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine, National Taiwan University College of Medicine and National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan; 5Division of Environmental Health and Occupational Medicine, National Health Research Institutes, Miaoli, Taiwan; 6Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Hsinchu Cathay General Hospital, Hsinchu, Taiwan; 7Department of Public Health, College of Public Health, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan
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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: Wang Y, Rogan WJ, Chen PC, Lien GW, Chen HY, Tseng YC, Longnecker MP, Wang SL. Association between Maternal Serum Perfluoroalkyl Substances during Pregnancy and Maternal and Cord Thyroid Hormones: Taiwan Maternal and Infant Cohort Study. Environ Health Perspect; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1306925.

Received: 10 April 2013
Accepted: 20 February 2014
Advance Publication: 21 February 2014

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Background: Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are synthetic compounds that are widely used in industry and are often detectable in humans. In pregnant rats and their pups, PFASs can interfere with thyroid hormone homeostasis. In humans, maternal thyroid hormones supply the fetus throughout pregnancy, and thyroid hormones play a critical role in fetal growth and neurodevelopment.

Objectives: To investigate the association between maternal PFAS exposure and thyroid hormone status in pregnant women and neonates.

Methods: In a study of environmental exposure and health in Taiwan, we measured serum concentrations of 9 PFASs and 4 thyroid hormones for 285 pregnant women in their third trimester; and also measured cord serum thyroid hormones for 116 neonates. Associations between maternal PFASs and maternal and cord thyroid hormones were examined in multiple linear regression models.

Results: Perfluorohexanesulfonic acid concentrations were positively associated with maternal thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels. Pregnant women with higher levels of perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), perfluoroundecanoic acid (PFUnDA) and perfluorododecanoic acid (PFDoDA) had lower free thyroxine (T4) and total T4 levels. For example, we estimated that maternal free T4 levels decreased 0.019 ng/dL (-0.028, -0.009) with each ng/mL increase in maternal PFNA. Finally, maternal PFNA, PFUnDA, and PFDoDA levels were associated with lower cord total triiodothyronine (T3) and total T4 levels, and maternal perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDeA) was associated with lower cord total T3.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that exposure to some PFASs during pregnancy may interfere with thyroid hormone homeostasis in pregnant women and fetuses.

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