BACKGROUND: Most cerebral palsy (CP) cases have an unexplained etiology, but a role for environmental exposures has been suggested. One purported environmental risk factor is exposure to endocrine-disrupting pollutants specifically per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

OBJECTIVES: We investigated the association between prenatal PFAS exposures and CP in Swedish children.

METHODS: In this case-control study, 322 CP cases, 343 population controls, and 258 preterm controls were identified from a birth registry in combination with a CP follow-up program from 1995 to 2014 and linked to a biobank which contains serum samples from week 10-14 of pregnancy. Maternal serum concentrations of four PFAS compounds: perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) were analyzed using liquid chromatography-tandem-mass-spectrometry. We estimated odds ratios (ORs) and 95 % confidence intervals (CIs) for CP and each PFAS in quartiles and as continuous variables controlling for various sociodemographic and lifestyle factors.

RESULTS: In crude and adjusted analyses, we did not find consistent evidence of associations between serum PFHxS, PFOA, PFNA, PFOS and concentrations in early pregnancy and CP, except in preterm infants. The ORs comparing the highest PFAS quartiles to the lowest were 1.05 (95 % CI: 0.63-1.76), 0.96 (95 % CI: 0.55-1.68), 0.71 (95 % CI: 0.41-1.25), and 1.17 (95 % CI: 0.61-2.26), for PFHxS, PFOA, PFNA, and PFOS, respectively. Some positive associations were observed for preterm infants, but the results were imprecise. Similar patterns were observed in analyses treating PFAS as continuous variables.

CONCLUSIONS: In this study, we found little evidence that early pregnancy prenatal exposure to PFHxS, PFOA, PFNA, or PFOS increases the risk of CP. However, some positive associations were observed for preterm cases and warrant further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number165622
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Jul 19

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2023. Published by Elsevier B.V.

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Environmental Health and Occupational Health
  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology


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