Polybrominated diphenyl ethers and perfluoroalkyl substances in serum of pregnant women: Levels, correlations, and potential health implications

  • Vorkamp K
  • Nielsen F
  • Kyhl H
 et al. 
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Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), a group of flame retardants, and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) were analysed in serum samples of pregnant women from Denmark to provide information about their exposure and to study indications of common exposure pathways. The main BDE congener was the fully brominated BDE-209 with a median value of 7.5 ng/g lipid (46 pg/mL; 9.8 pmol/g lipid). Other BDE congeners decreased in the order BDE-47 > BDE-99 > BDE-153. The summed concentration of tri- to hepta-BDEs was 7.7 ng/g lipid, i.e. in the higher end of previously reported concentrations from Europe, including plasma samples of pregnant Danish women. Total lipid contents were relatively low, on average 5.9 g/L (9.0 mmol/L). The main PFAS compound was perfluorooctane sulfonate with a median concentration of 8.4 ng/mL. Other PFASs decreased in the order perfluorooctanoic acid > perfluorononanoic acid > perfluorodecanoic acid > perfluorohexane sulfonate and resulted in a ΣPFAS of 12 ng/mL. Within each group, compounds were highly intercorrelated with the exception of BDE-209, which was not correlated with any of the other compounds. No correlations were found either between PFASs and PBDEs suggesting different sources of exposure and/or pharmacokinetic and metabolisation processes. PBDE and PFAS concentrations were in the range associated with adverse effects in some epidemiological studies.

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