Association between exposure to perfluoroalkyl substances and metabolic syndrome and related outcomes among older residents living near a Science Park in Taiwan

Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2020 Sep 9;230:113607. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2020.113607. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are an emerging class of artificial environmental chemicals that have multiple potentially harmful effects on health. The largest Science Park in Taiwan discharges wastewater containing PFASs into the Keya River, and a high concentration of PFASs has been found in this river and its aquatic creatures. We conducted a cross-sectional study from 2016 to 2017 of 397 subjects aged 55-75 years living near the river and evaluated the association of PFASs with metabolic syndrome and related outcomes. The results indicated that perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) levels were positively associated with serum low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels (P for trend = 0.03) and that perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) and PFOS levels were positively correlated with uric acid levels (P for trend = 0.03 and 0.03). Perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA) and perfluoroundecanoic acid (PFUnDA) levels were negatively associated with serum triglyceride levels (P for trend = 0.014 and < 0.01). After excluding lipid-lowering drug users, the association between certain PFAS levels and the LDL level was significantly enhanced, but the downward trends of serum triglyceride levels were weakened. When stratified by sex, PFNA (P for trend <0.01), perfluorohexanesulfonate (PFHxS) (P for trend <0.01), and PFOS (P for trend <0.01) showed positive associations with the uric acid level only among males. In conclusion, our results showed that associations were consistently null between PFASs and metabolic syndrome. PFAS levels were associated with serum lipids, and lipid-lowering drugs may interfere with this relationship. Certain PFASs were found to be positively associated with uric acid levels, especially in males. Further studies are warranted to clarify the causal relationships.

Keywords: Lipid; Metabolic syndrome; Perfluoroalkyl substances; Taiwanese elderly.