The effect of prenatal perfluorinated chemicals exposures on pediatric atopy

Environ Res. 2011 Aug;111(6):785-91. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2011.04.006. Epub 2011 May 23.


Background: The role of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) in the immune system and allergic diseases is not well-known. This study examined the effects of pre-natal exposure to PFCs on immunoglobulin E (IgE) levels and atopic dermatitis (AD).

Methods: In Taiwan Birth Panel cohort study, newborns with cord blood and peri-natal factors (i.e. birth body weight, weeks of gestation, and type of delivery) gathered at birth were evaluated. At the age of 2 years, information on the development of AD, environmental exposures, and serum total IgE were collected. The AD and non-AD children were compared for the concentration of cord blood serum PFCs measured by Ultra-performance liquid chromatography/triple-quadrupole mass (UPLC-MS/MS). Correlations among cord blood IgE, serum total IgE at 2 years of age, and cord blood PFC levels were made.

Results: Of 244 children who completed the follow-up and specimen collections, 43 (17.6%) developed AD. Concentrations of cord blood serum perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), and perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS) were median (range) 1.71 (0.75-17.40), 5.50 (0.11-48.36), 2.30 (0.38-63.87), and 0.035 (0.035-0.420)ng/mL, respectively. PFOA and PFOS levels positively correlated with cord blood IgE levels (per ln-unit: β=0.134 KU/l, p=0.047 for PFOA; β=0.161 KU/l, p=0.017 for PFOS). Analyses stratified by gender revealed that PFOA and PFOS levels positively correlated with cord blood IgE levels only in boys (per ln-unit: β=0.206 KU/l, p=0.025 for PFOA; β=0.175 KU/l, p=0.053 for PFOS). When dividing cord blood serum PFCs into quartiles in the fully adjusted models, AD had no significant association with PFOS.

Conclusions: Pre-natal PFOA and PFOS exposures positively correlated with cord blood IgE levels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / epidemiology*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / etiology
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / immunology
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / chemistry
  • Fetal Blood / immunology
  • Fluorocarbons / blood
  • Fluorocarbons / immunology
  • Fluorocarbons / toxicity*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Maternal Exposure*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / chemically induced*
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / epidemiology
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / immunology
  • Sex Factors
  • Taiwan


  • Fluorocarbons
  • Immunoglobulin E