Background: Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) are compounds that do not occur in nature, have been widely used since World War II, and persist indefinitely in most environments. Median serum levels in the United States are 4 ng/mL for PFOA and 21 ng/mL for PFOS. PFOA has been associated with elevated uric acid in two studies of chemical workers. Uric acid is a risk factor for hypertension and possibly other cardiovascular outcomes.
Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study of PFOA and PFOS and uric acid among 54,951 adult community residents in Ohio and West Virginia, who lived or worked in six water districts contaminated with PFOA from a chemical plant. Analyses were conducted by linear and logistic regression, adjusted for confounders.
Results: Both PFOA and PFOS were significantly associated with uric acid. An increase of 0.20.3 mg/dL uric acid was associated with an increase from the lowest to highest decile of either PFOA or PFOS. Hyperuricemia risk increased modestly with increasing PFOA; the odds ratios by quintile of PFOA were 1.00, 1.33 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.241.43], 1.35 (95% CI, 1.261.45), 1.47 (95% CI, 1.371.58), and 1.47 (95% CI, 1.371.58; test for trend, p < 0.0001). We saw a less steep trend for PFOS. Inclusion of both correlated fluorocarbons in the model indicated PFOA was a more important predictor than was PFOS.
Conclusion: Higher serum levels of PFOA were associated with a higher prevalence of hyperuricemia, but the limitations of cross-sectional data and the possibility of noncausal mechanisms prohibit conclusions regarding causality.