Objective: Our objective was to explore whether childhood exposure to perfluorinated and polyfluorinated compounds (PFCs), widely used stain- and grease-repellent chemicals, is associated with adiposity and markers of glycemic control.
Materials and methods: Body mass index, skinfold thickness, waist circumference, leptin, adiponectin, insulin, glucose, and triglyceride concentrations were assessed in 8- to 10-year-old children in 1997 in a subset of the European Youth Heart Study, Danish component. Plasma PFC concentrations were available from 499 children. Linear regression models were performed to determine the association between PFC exposure and indicators of adiposity and markers of glycemic control.
Results: There was no association between PFC exposures and adiposity or markers of glycemic control in normal-weight children. Among overweight children, an increase of 10 ng perfluorooctane sulfonic acid/mL plasma was associated with 16.2% (95% confidence interval [CI], 5.2%-28.3%) higher insulin concentration, 12.0% (95% CI, 2.4%-22.4%) higher β-cell activity, 17.6% (95% CI, 5.8%-30.8%) higher insulin resistance, and 8.6% (95% CI, 1.2%-16.5%) higher triglyceride concentrations, and an increase of 10 ng perfluorooctanoic acid/mL plasma was associated with 71.6% (95% CI, 2.4%-187.5%) higher insulin concentration, 67.5% (95% CI, 5.5%-166.0%) higher β-cell function, 73.9% (95% CI, 0.2%-202.0%) higher insulin resistance, and 76.2% (95% CI, 22.8%-153.0%) higher triglyceride concentrations.
Discussion: Increased PFC exposure in overweight 8- to 10-year-old children was associated with higher insulin and triglyceride concentrations. Chance findings may explain some of our results, and due to the cross-sectional design, reverse causation cannot be excluded. The findings therefore need to be confirmed in longitudinal studies.