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Relationship of perfluorooctanoic acid exposure to pregnancy outcome based on birth records in the mid-Ohio Valley.


Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is a potential cause of adverse pregnancy outcomes, but previous studies have been limited by low exposures and small study size.

Using birth certificate information, we examined the relation between estimated PFOA exposure and birth outcomes in an area of West Virginia and Ohio whose drinking water was contaminated by a chemical plant.

Births in the study area from 1990 through 2004 were examined to generate case groups of stillbirth (n = 106), pregnancy-induced hypertension (n = 224), preterm birth (n = 3,613), term low birth weight (n = 918), term small-for-gestational-age (SGA) (n = 353), and a continuous measure of birth weight among a sample of term births (n = 4,534). A 10% sample of term births ≥ 2,500 g were selected as a source of controls (n = 3,616). Historical estimates of serum PFOA were derived from a previously developed fate and transport model. In a second study, we examined 4,547 area births linked to a survey with residential history data.

In the analysis based only on birth records, we found no consistent evidence of an association between estimated PFOA exposure and stillbirth, pregnancy-induced hypertension, preterm birth, or indices of fetal growth. In the analysis of birth records linked to the survey, PFOA was unrelated to pregnancy-induced hypertension or preterm birth but showed some suggestion of an association with early preterm birth. Measures of growth restriction showed weak and inconsistent associations with PFOA.

Based on the analysis using the health survey, these results provide little support for an effect of PFOA exposure on most pregnancy outcomes, except for early preterm birth and possibly fetal growth restriction.

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