Skip Navigation
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Your Environment. Your Health.

Publication Detail

Title: Prenatal exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances and maternal and neonatal thyroid function in the Project Viva Cohort: A mixtures approach.

Authors: Preston, Emma V; Webster, Thomas F; Claus Henn, Birgit; McClean, Michael D; Gennings, Chris; Oken, Emily; Rifas-Shiman, Sheryl L; Pearce, Elizabeth N; Calafat, Antonia M; Fleisch, Abby F; Sagiv, Sharon K

Published In Environ Int, (2020 06)

Abstract: BACKGROUND: Maternal and neonatal thyroid function is critical for growth and neurodevelopment. Exposure to individual per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) can alter circulating thyroid hormone levels, but few studies have investigated effects of combined exposure to multiple PFAS. OBJECTIVES: Estimate associations of exposure to multiple PFAS during early pregnancy with maternal and neonatal thyroid function. METHODS: The study population consisted of 726 mothers and 465 neonates from Project Viva, a Boston, Massachusetts area longitudinal pre-birth cohort. We measured six PFAS [perfluorooctanoate (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorononanoate (PFNA), perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS), 2-(N-ethyl-perfluorooctane sulfonamido)acetate (EtFOSAA), and 2-(N-methyl-perfluorooctane sulfonamido)acetate (MeFOSAA)] and thyroxine (T4), Free T4 Index (FT4I), and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) in maternal plasma samples collected during early pregnancy, and neonatal T4 in postpartum heel sticks. We estimated individual and joint effects of PFAS exposure with thyroid hormone levels using weighted quantile sum (WQS) regression and Bayesian kernel machine regression (BKMR), and evaluated potential non-linearity and interactions among PFAS using BKMR. RESULTS: Higher concentrations of the PFAS mixture were associated with significantly lower maternal FT4I, with MeFOSAA, EtFOSAA, PFOA, and PFHxS contributing most to the overall mixture effect in BKMR and WQS regression. In infants, higher concentrations of the PFAS mixture were associated with lower T4 levels, primarily in males, with PFHxS and MeFOSAA contributing most in WQS, and PFHxS contributing most in BKMR. The PFAS mixture was not associated with maternal T4 or TSH levels. However, in maternal BKMR analyses, ln-PFOS was positively associated with T4 levels (Δ25th to 75th percentile: 0.21 µg/dL; 95% credible interval: -0.03, 0.47) and ln-PFHxS was associated with a non-linear effect on TSH levels. CONCLUSIONS: These findings support the hypothesis that there may be combined effects of prenatal exposure to multiple PFAS on maternal and neonatal thyroid function, but the direction and magnitude of these effects may vary across individual PFAS.

PubMed ID: 32311629 Exiting the NIEHS site

MeSH Terms: Alkanesulfonic Acids*; Bayes Theorem; Boston; Environmental Pollutants*/toxicity; Female; Fluorocarbons*/toxicity; Humans; Infant; Infant, Newborn; Male; Massachusetts; Pregnancy; Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*; Thyroid Gland

to Top