Temporal trends and predictors of perfluoroalkyl substances serum levels in Swedish pregnant women in the SELMA study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are used in numerous consumer products. They are persistent, bioaccumulating, and suspected to be endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). A growing body of research has reported the association between PFAS exposure and adverse health effects. Concerns have been raised with special focus in childhood development. Methods Perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA), perfluoroundecanoic acid (PFUnDA), perfluorododecanoic acid (PFDoDA), perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) were analyzed by LC/MS/MS in serum from 1,616 pregnant women in the Swedish SELMA study. The serum samples were collected in the first trimester (median week 10). Least square geometric means (LSGM) of PFAS were estimated for each year period for, adjusted for potential determinants including parity, fish intake in the family, and mother’s age. Results Six PFAS (PFNA, PFDA, PFUnDA, PFHxS, PFOA, and PFOS) were detected above levels of detection (LOD) in more than 99% of the SELMA women, while PFHpA, and PFDoDA were detected above LOD in 73.4% and 46.7% respectively. Parity, maternal age, maternal smoking, and fish intake during pregnancy were found to be significantly associated (p<0.05) with serum PFAS levels in the pregnant women. Finally, serum concentration of six PFAS (PFNA, PFDA, PFHxS, PFHpA, PFOA and PFOS) were significantly decreasing (range 14–31%) during the period of 30 months from 2007–2010. Conclusions Our analysis shows that six out of eight PFAS could be identified in serum of more than 99% of SELMA subjects with a significant slightly decreasing trend for five of these compounds. Furthermore, parity, higher fish intake and mothers age are determinants for serum levels of PFAS in pregnant women.


External organisations
  • Stockholm University
  • Karlstad University
  • Örebro University
  • Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
  • Environmental Health and Occupational Health
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0209255
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Dec
Publication categoryResearch