In a study published online in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives on July 9, 2013, researchers found blood levels of perfluoroctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanoic sulfonate (PFOS) to be associated with pregnancy-induced hypertension (Darrow et al. 2013). Hypertension during pregnancy can prevent the embryo from receiving sufficient blood resulting in low birth weight. The present study could, however, not establish a statistically significant link between the PFC burden and premature births or low birth-weight babies. The researchers of Emory University, U.S. and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, U.S. measured urinary levels of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) in 1330 women between 2005 and 2006. All women gave birth between 2005 and 2010 and lived near DuPont Co.’s Washington Works factory in West Virginia, U.S., which has manufactured PFOA since 1951. Drinking water in surrounding communities is highly contaminated with PFOA.
The primary U.S. manufacturer of PFOS, 3M, completed the phase-out of PFOS and PFOS-related compounds in 2002. China remains the last producer of PFOS. Under the New Chemicals Program (NPC) the U.S. Environmental Protection agency aims to replace the use of PFOA with less persistent alternatives. In Europe, PFOA is authorized for use in repeated use plastic food contact articles (EC 10/2011).
Darrow, L. et al. (2013). “Serum perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctane sulfonate concentrations in relation to birth outcomes in the mid-Ohio Valley, 2005-2010.” Environmental Health Perspectives (published online July 9, 2013). DOI:10.1289/ehp.1206372.