A new study published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives concluded a plausibility for reduced kidney function to result in higher perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) exposure. The researchers estimated historical PFOA exposure and predicted kidney function based on serum creatinine, height and age. Because predicted historical serum PFOA and serum PFOA at time of enrolment were not associated with kidney function, but measured PFOA at time of enrolment was associated with kidney function, the researchers concluded that lower kidney function may cause decreased PFOA elimination and thereby higher exposure, rather than the other way around.

The study was based on the C8 health project cohort and included the analysis of 9660 participants residing around a teflon producing DuPont plant in the U.S.. The authors concede that there might also be causal effects in both directions, with decreased kidney function causing increased PFOA exposure, which in turn may lead to further decreased kidney function. This aspect could however not be confirmed with the present study, requiring further research.


Watkins, D. (2013). “Exposure to perfluoroalkyl acids and markers of kidney function among children and adolescents living near a chemical plant.” Environmental Health Perspectives 121, 5, 625-630.