Perfluorooctanoate exposure and major birth defects

Reprod Toxicol. 2014 Aug;47:15-20. doi: 10.1016/j.reprotox.2014.04.006. Epub 2014 May 4.


Perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) is detectable in umbilical cord blood and amniotic fluid. Some toxicological findings suggest that perfluoroalkyl substances may be teratogenic. Using data from the C8 Health Project, a 2005-2006 survey in a Mid-Ohio Valley community exposed to PFOA through contaminated drinking water, we examined the association between estimated prenatal PFOA concentration and maternally reported birth defects (n=325) among 10,262 live singleton or multiple births from 1990 to 2006. Logistic regression models accounted for siblings using generalized estimating equations. There was generally no association between estimated PFOA concentration and birth defects, with the possible exception of brain defects, where the odds ratio adjusted for year of conception was 2.6 (95% confidence interval 1.3-5.1) for an increase in estimated PFOA exposure from the 25th to 75th percentile. This estimate, however, was based on 13 cases and may represent a chance finding. Further investigation of this potential association may be warranted.

Keywords: Congenital abnormalities; Epidemiology; Fluorocarbons; Perfluorooctanoic acid.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain / abnormalities*
  • Caprylates / blood*
  • Congenital Abnormalities / epidemiology*
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis*
  • Female
  • Fluorocarbons / blood*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Ohio / epidemiology
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / blood*
  • Young Adult


  • Caprylates
  • Fluorocarbons
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • perfluorooctanoic acid