Advertisement Banner
Skip to content


Research Article Advance Publication

Environ Health Perspect; DOI:10.1289/ehp.1307621

Perfluorochemicals and Human Semen Quality: The LIFE Study

Germaine M. Buck Louis,1 Zhen Chen,1 Enrique F. Schisterman,1 Sungduk Kim,1 Anne M. Sweeney,2 Rajeshwari Sundaram,1 Courtney D. Lynch,3 Robert E. Gore-Langton,4 and Dana Boyd Barr
Author Affiliations close
1Division of Intramural Population Health Research, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Rockville, Maryland, USA; 2Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Texas Rural School of Public Health, College Station, Texas, USA; 3Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA; 4The EMMES Corporation, Rockville, Maryland, USA; 5Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
About This Article open

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: Buck Louis GM, Chen Z, Schisterman EF, Kim S, Sweeney AM, Sundaram R, Lynch CD, Gore-Langton RE, Barr DB. Perfluorochemicals and Human Semen Quality: The LIFE Study. Environ Health Perspect;

Received: 9 September 2013
Accepted: 12 August 2014
Advance Publication: 15 August 2014

Accessible PDF icon PDF Version (516 KB) | Accessible PDF icon Supplemental Material (248 KB)


Background: The relation between persistent environmental chemicals and semen quality is evolving, though limited data exist for men recruited from general populations.

Objectives: To assess the relation between perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) and semen quality among 501 male partners of couples planning pregnancy.

Methods: Utilizing population-based sampling strategies, we recruited 501 couples discontinuing contraception from two U.S. geographic regions from 2005-2009. Baseline interviews and anthropometric assessments were conducted followed by blood collection for the quantification of 7 serum PFCs (perfluorosulfonates, perfluorocarboxylates and perfluorosulfonamides) using tandem mass spectrometry. Men collected a baseline semen sample and another approximately a month later. Semen samples were shipped with freezer packs, and analyses were performed on the day after collection. We used linear regression to estimate the difference in each semen parameter associated with a one unit increase in the natural log transformed PFC concentration after adjusting for confounders and modeling repeated semen samples. Sensitivity analyses included optimal Box-Cox transformation of semen quality endpoints.

Results: Six PFCs (2-N-methyl-perfluorooctane sulfonamide acetate [Me-PFOSA-AcOH], perfluorodecanoate [PFDeA], perfluorononanoate [PFNA], perfluorooctane sulfonamide [PFOSA], perfluorooctane sulfonate [PFOS], and perfluorooctanoate [PFOA]) were associated with 17 semen quality endpoints before Box Cox transformation. PFOSA was associated with smaller sperm head area and perimeter, lower percentage of DNA stainability, and a higher percentage of bicephalic and immature sperm. PFDeA, PFNA, PFOA, and PFOS were associated with a lower percentage of sperm with coiled tails.

Conclusions: Select PFCs were associated with certain semen endpoints, with the most significant associations observed for PFOSA though with results in varying directions.

WP-Backgrounds Lite by InoPlugs Web Design and Juwelier Schönmann 1010 Wien