Association between perfluoroalkyl substances and reproductive hormones in adolescents and young adults

Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2015 Jul;218(5):437-43. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2015.03.008. Epub 2015 Mar 26.


Background: Few studies have explored the association between perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and reproductive hormones in adolescents and young adults.

Objectives: This study aimed to investigate the association of PFAS with reproductive hormones in adolescents and young adults.

Methods: We recruited 540 subjects aged 12-30 years from a 1992 to 2000 mass urine screening population and established a cohort from 2006 to 2008 via invitations by mail or/and telephone. Serum PFAS levels were analyzed with a Waters ACQUITY UPLC system coupled with a Waters Quattro Premier XE triple quadrupole mass spectrometer. Serum reproductive hormone levels were measured by immunoluminometric assay with an Architect random access assay system. PFAS levels were divided into different percentiles according to their detection limits in the multiple regression models to analyze associations between reproductive hormone levels and exposure with PFAS.

Results: The adjusted mean serum level of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) decreased significantly in association with the <50th, 50-75, 75-90 and >90th percentile categories of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) compared with a reference category for the females in the 12-17-year-old group. The follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels were significantly decreased in association with the different percentile categories of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) in the male 12-17-year-old group and the different percentile categories of perfluoroundecanoic acid (PFUA) in the female 12-17-year-old group. The serum FSH levels in the females aged 12-17 were also decreased in association with the different percentile categories of PFUA. On the other hand, there was a significantly negative association between the different percentile categories of PFOS and the serum testosterone level among the female 12-17-year-old group.

Conclusions: We found that the serum concentrations of PFOA, PFOS, and PFUA were negatively associated with the serum levels of SHBG, FSH, and testosterone in the young Taiwanese population and that these effects were the strongest in the females aged 12-17. Further studies are needed to determine whether these associations are causal.

Keywords: Adolescent; Perfluoroalkyl substances; Reproductive hormone; Young adults.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alkanesulfonic Acids / adverse effects*
  • Caprylates / adverse effects*
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Fatty Acids / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Fluorocarbons / adverse effects*
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Hormones / blood*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Reproduction / drug effects*
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin / metabolism
  • Testosterone / blood
  • Young Adult


  • Alkanesulfonic Acids
  • Caprylates
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Fatty Acids
  • Fluorocarbons
  • Hormones
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin
  • perfluoroundecanoic acid
  • Testosterone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone
  • perfluorooctanoic acid
  • perfluorooctane sulfonic acid