Archives of Osteoporosis

, 13:84 | Cite as

Prenatal concentrations of perfluoroalkyl substances and bone health in British girls at age 17

  • Zuha JeddyEmail author
  • Jonathan H. Tobias
  • Ethel V. Taylor
  • Kate Northstone
  • W. Dana Flanders
  • Terryl J. Hartman
Original Article



Prenatal exposures to perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have been associated with developmental outcomes in offspring. We found that prenatal concentrations of some PFAS may be associated with reduced bone mass and size in 17-year-old British girls, although it is not clear whether these associations are driven by body size.


PFAS are used to make protective coatings on common household products. Prenatal exposures have been associated with developmental outcomes in offspring. Using data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), we investigated the association between prenatal concentrations of PFAS and bone health in girls at 17 years of age and whether body composition can explain any associations.


We measured concentrations of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorooctanoate (PFOA), perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS), and perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) in maternal serum samples collected during pregnancy. We obtained bone health outcomes in the girls, such as bone mineral density, bone mineral content, bone area, and area-adjusted bone mineral content from whole-body dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans. We used multivariable linear regression to explore associations between each PFAS and each bone health outcome with adjustment for important confounders such as girls’ age at clinic visit, maternal education, and gestational age at sample collection. We also controlled for girls’ height and lean mass to explore the role body composition had on observed associations.


Prenatal PFOS, PFOA, PFHxS, and PFNA concentrations were associated with inverse effects on bone size and mass after adjusting for important confounders. Conversely, PFNA was positively associated with area-adjusted bone mineral content. However, most significant associations attenuated after additional controlling for height and lean mass.


Prenatal concentrations of some PFAS may be associated with reduced bone mass and size in adolescent girls, although it is not clear whether these associations are driven by body size.


PFAS ALSPAC Bone development Body composition Adolescent 



We are extremely grateful to all the families who took part in this study, the midwives for their help in recruiting them, and the whole ALSPAC team, which includes interviewers, computer and laboratory technicians, clerical workers, research scientists, volunteers, managers, receptionists, and nurses. The UK Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust (Grant ref.: 102215/2/13/2) and the University of Bristol provide core support for ALSPAC.

Funding information

This research was funded by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Compliance with ethical standards

We obtained approval for the study from the ALSPAC Ethics and Law Committee, the Local Research Ethics Committees, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Institutional Review Board.


The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the CDC, the Public Health Service, or the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Conflicts of interest


Supplementary material

11657_2018_498_MOESM1_ESM.docx (25 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 25 kb)


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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zuha Jeddy
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jonathan H. Tobias
    • 3
  • Ethel V. Taylor
    • 1
  • Kate Northstone
    • 4
  • W. Dana Flanders
    • 1
    • 5
  • Terryl J. Hartman
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Division of Environmental Health Science and Practice, National Center for Environmental HealthCenters for Disease Control and PreventionAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Oak Ridge Institute for Science and EducationOak RidgeUSA
  3. 3.Musculoskeletal Research Unit, Translational Health ScienceBristol Medical SchoolBristolUK
  4. 4.Population Health ScienceBristol Medical SchoolBristolUK
  5. 5.Rollins School of Public HealthEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA

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