Prenatal exposure to poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances and the incidence of asthma in early childhood

Environ Res. 2023 Dec 15;239(Pt 1):117311. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2023.117311. Epub 2023 Oct 5.


EXPOSURE TO POLY: and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in early life may increase the risk of childhood asthma, but evidence has been inconsistent. We estimated associations between maternal serum concentrations of PFAS during pregnancy and clinician-diagnosed asthma incidence in offspring through age eight. We included 597 mother-child pairs with PFAS quantified in mid-pregnancy serum and childhood medical records reviewed for asthma diagnoses. We used separate Cox proportional hazards models to assess the relationship between log-transformed concentrations of five PFAS and the incidence of asthma. We estimated associations between the PFAS mixture and clinician-diagnosed asthma incidence using quantile-based g-computation. PFAS concentrations were similar to those among females in the US general population. Seventeen percent of children (N = 104) were diagnosed with asthma during follow-up. Median (interquartile range) duration of follow-up was 4.7 (4.0, 6.2) years, and median age at asthma diagnosis was 1.7 (0.9, 2.8) years. All adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) were elevated, but all 95% confidence intervals (CI) included the null. The HR (95% CI) of asthma for a one-quartile increase in the PFAS mixture was 1.17 (0.86, 1.61). In this cohort of children followed to eight years of age, prenatal PFAS concentrations were not significantly associated with incidence of clinician-diagnosed asthma.

Keywords: Asthma; Environmental exposure; Immunotoxicity; Poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances; Prenatal exposure.

MeSH terms

  • Asthma* / chemically induced
  • Asthma* / epidemiology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Family
  • Female
  • Fluorocarbons* / toxicity
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects* / chemically induced
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects* / epidemiology


  • Fluorocarbons