Perfluorinated compounds in relation to birth weight in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study

Am J Epidemiol. 2012 Jun 15;175(12):1209-16. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwr459. Epub 2012 Apr 19.


Perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid are perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) widely distributed in the environment. Previous studies of PFCs and birth weight are equivocal. The authors examined this association in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa), using data from 901 women enrolled from 2003 to 2004 and selected for a prior case-based study of PFCs and subfecundity. Maternal plasma samples were obtained around 17 weeks of gestation. Outcomes included birth weight z scores, preterm birth, small for gestational age, and large for gestational age. The adjusted birth weight z scores were slightly lower among infants born to mothers in the highest quartiles of PFCs compared with infants born to mothers in the lowest quartiles: for perfluorooctane sulfonate, β = -0.18 (95% confidence interval: -0.41, 0.05) and, for perfluorooctanoic acid, β = -0.21 (95% confidence interval: -0.45, 0.04). No clear evidence of an association with small for gestational age or large for gestational age was observed. Perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid were each associated with decreased adjusted odds of preterm birth, although the cell counts were small. Whether some of the associations suggested by these findings may be due to a noncausal pharmacokinetic mechanism remains unclear.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alkanesulfonic Acids / blood
  • Alkanesulfonic Acids / toxicity*
  • Birth Weight / drug effects*
  • Caprylates / blood
  • Caprylates / toxicity*
  • Diet Surveys
  • Environmental Pollutants / blood
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Female
  • Fetal Macrosomia / chemically induced*
  • Fluorocarbons / blood
  • Fluorocarbons / toxicity*
  • Food Contamination
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Small for Gestational Age
  • Maternal Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Norway
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pregnancy
  • Premature Birth / chemically induced*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Seafood
  • Single-Blind Method


  • Alkanesulfonic Acids
  • Caprylates
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Fluorocarbons
  • perfluorooctanoic acid
  • perfluorooctane sulfonic acid