Breastfeeding as an Exposure Pathway for Perfluorinated Alkylates

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Perfluorinated alkylate substances (PFASs) are widely used and have resulted in human exposures worldwide. PFASs occur in breast milk, and the duration of breastfeeding is associated with serum-PFAS concentrations in children. To determine the time-dependent impact of this exposure pathway, we examined the serum concentrations of five major PFASs in a Faroese birth cohort at birth, and at ages 11, 18, and 60 months. Information about the children's breastfeeding history was obtained from the mothers. The trajectory of serum-PFAS concentrations during months with and without breastfeeding was examined by linear mixed models that accounted for the correlations of the PFAS measurements for each child. The models were adjusted for confounders such as body size. The duration of exclusive breastfeeding was associated with increases of most PFAS concentrations by up to 30% per month, with lower increases during partial breast-feeding. In contrast to this main pattern, perfluorohexanesulfonate was not affected by breast-feeding. After cessation of breastfeeding, all serum concentrations decreased. This finding supports the evidence of breastfeeding being an important exposure pathway to some PFASs in infants.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology (Washington)
Issue number17
Pages (from-to)10466-10473
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Research areas

  • Alkylation, Breast Feeding, Child, Preschool, Cohort Studies, Environmental Exposure, Female, Fluorocarbons, Humans, Infant, Male

ID: 161882691