In a study released today in the Environment International journal, authors from China and the University of Chicago examined the current knowledge related to pre- and neonatal exposures to PFAS based on more than 200 articles published from 2000 to the present. The article, entitled “Exposure characteristics for congeners, isomers, and enantiomers of perfluoroalkyl substances in mothers and infants” (Liu, et. al, 2020), reviewed global studies that have undertaken PFAS level determinations in maternal blood, umbilical cord blood, breast milk, placenta, amniotic fluid, fetal organs, newborns’ dried blood spots, and infant serum. The authors attempt to draw conclusions based on the existing literature.
Some of the key takeaways from the article include:
- The detected levels of PFAS differ significantly geographically, with significant discrepancies among countries;
- The levels of “legacy” PFAS (PFOA and PFOS) have declines since 2000;
- While PFOA and PFOS have been studied widely in the pre- and neonatal areas, very little has been undertaken to study other types of PFAS in these same areas;
- For infants, the reported potential adverse effects of PFAS include low birth weight, obesity, thyroid function disorders, small gestational age, and lower gut microbiome diversity;
- For women, the reported potentil adverse effects of PFAS include lower fertility, hypertension, and reduced ability to lactate; and
- Concentrations of PFAS in the studied areas showed the highest concentrations in mothers’ blood, cord blood, and infant blood, followed by placenta and infant organs, and followed last by breast milk and amniotic fluid.
While drawing the above conclusions from the studies that they reviewed, the authors conclude by noting that “the number of studies in this research area is far from being sufficiently large, thus efforts must continue.” Such a conclusion is scientifically sound, as the authors do not jump to conclusions about PFAS as a class, or even individual types of PFAS, given the relative infancy that the science behind PFAS is at in this point in time.
CMBG3 Law is following judicial, legislative, administrative, and scientific developments relating to PFAS. More information about the services we can provide, including risk assessments, to ensure your business is ready for any intersection with these substances can be found on our PFAS Litigation page.
Our attorneys have been at the forefront of PFAS issues, including giving presentations as to the future waves of litigation stemming from PFAS issues. For more information, please contact any of our PFAS – Toxic Torts Team: Jessica Deyoe, Suzanne Englot, Alexandra Fraher,or John Gardella.