Current Environmental Health Reports

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 1–19 | Cite as

Developmental Exposures to Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs): An Update of Associated Health Outcomes

  • Zeyan Liew
  • Houman Goudarzi
  • Youssef Oulhote
Susceptibility Factors in Environmental Health (B Ritz and Z Liew, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Susceptibility Factors in Environmental Health


Purpose of Review

We reviewed and summarized the epidemiological evidence for the influence that pre- and postnatal exposures to perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) may have on health outcomes in offspring, with a particular focus on birth outcomes and postnatal growth, immunomodulatory effects and neurodevelopment.

Recent Findings

PFASs are persistent organic pollutants that have been widely produced and used in a range of commercial products since the 1950s. Human exposures to PFASs are nearly ubiquitous globally, but studies that addressed potential health effects of PFASs have only begun to accumulate in recent years. Animal studies suggest adverse effects resulting from developmental encompasses prenatal exposures to PFASs. In humans, the developing fetus is exposed to PFASs via active or passive placenta transfer, while newborns might be exposed via breastfeeding or PFAS in the home environment.


Overall, epidemiological findings are consistent and suggest possible associations with fetal and postnatal growth and immune function, while the findings on neurodevelopmental endpoints to date are rather inconclusive. Methodological challenges and future directions for PFASs-focused research are discussed.


Perfluoroalkyl substances Developmental exposures Fetal growth Immunotoxicity Neurodevelopment 



ZL was supported by the NIH/NIEHS Pathway to Independence Award (K99ES026729).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Zeyan Liew, Houman Goudarzi, and Youssef Oulhote declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology, Fielding School of Public HealthUniversity of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)Los AngelesUSA
  2. 2.First Department of MedicineHokkaido University School of MedicineSapporoJapan
  3. 3.Center for Environmental and Health SciencesHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan
  4. 4.Department of Environmental HealthHarvard T. H. Chan School of Public HealthBostonUSA

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