Prenatal perfluorooctanoic acid exposure is associated with early onset atopic dermatitis in 5-year-old children

Chemosphere. 2019 Sep;231:25-31. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2019.05.100. Epub 2019 May 16.


Atopic dermatitis (AD) is the most common childhood skin disease and the first step of atopic march. Perfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) exposure is associated with atopic diseases, including AD. However, whether PFAS exposure is related to earlier AD onset remains unclear. We aimed to investigate the association between prenatal PFAS exposure and earlier onset of AD in children in a 5-year follow-up study. From 2001 to 2005, 1264 mother-infant pairs were recruited from eight Taiwanese maternity hospitals. PFAS levels were analyzed from cord blood. Information on children's health status, including AD occurrence, was obtained via phone interviews at multiple time points. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) concentrations were measured by ultra-high performance liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry. Cox proportional hazards models assessed associations between prenatal PFAS exposure and early onset AD. Overall, 863 mother-infant pairs with complete measurements were recruited. The prevalence of physician-diagnosed AD before 5 years of age was 7.1%. PFOA and PFOS concentrations were grouped based on whether they were above the 75th percentile. PFOA exposure was positively associated with earlier onset of AD (Kaplan-Meier estimate, p = 0.014). In the Cox model, after adjusting for sex, family income, parental atopy, breast feeding, and maternal age at childbirth, significance was observed in children above the upper quartile (≥75th) of the PFOA group (hazard ratio: 1.89; 95% confidence interval, 1.10-3.16). Our findings suggested that children with higher prenatal PFOA exposure have a higher risk of earlier AD development. Minimizing early life PFAS exposure may help inhibit AD development.

Keywords: Atopic dermatitis; Birth cohort; Perfluorooctanoic acid; Survival curve.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alkanesulfonic Acids / toxicity*
  • Breast Feeding
  • Caprylates / toxicity*
  • Child
  • Child Health
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / chemically induced*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / epidemiology
  • Eczema / chemically induced*
  • Eczema / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / chemistry
  • Fluorocarbons / toxicity*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Maternal Age
  • Mothers
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / chemically induced*
  • Taiwan / epidemiology


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