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PFOA and PFOS Detected in Newborns

FOA was detected in all of the samples and PFOS in all but two of the samples. The concentrations for both compounds were lower than those typically detected in adults in the United States and lower than those known to cause tumors and developmental problems in laboratory animals; more study is needed to understand health effects at these lower exposure levels.

PFOS concentrations were slightly higher in Black and Asian infants compared to White infants, but no correlation was found between concentrations and the mother’s socioeconomic status, age, education, marital status or whether she lived within the city limits or not. In addition, the researchers found a strong correlation between concentrations of PFOS and PFOA even though the compounds come from different industrial sources. The finding suggests that humans may be exposed to both chemicals in a similar manner.

“This study confirms that, as we might have suspected, exposure to PFOS and PFOA is fairly universal; this is of particular concern because of the potential toxicity, especially developmental toxicity, for these chemicals and the lack of information about health risks at these exposure levels. What was surprising is how strongly they are associated with each other, given that they have very different uses. We will need additional research to understand how exposures are occurring in this region,” said Lynn Goldman, MD, co-author of the study and a professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Addition study authors include Antonia M. Calafat, Julie B. Herbstman, Zsuzsanna Kuklenyik, Jochen Heidler, Larry Needham, Rolf U. Halden and Frank Witter. Heidler and Halden are with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Herbstman, formerly a doctoral student in epidemiology at the JHSPH is now at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health and Witter is with the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Calaf
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