Placental transfer and composition of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs): A Korean birth panel of parent-infant triads

Habyeong Kang, Hee Sun Kim, Yeong Sook Yoon, Jeongsun Lee, Younglim Kho, Jisun Lee, Hye Jin Chang, Yoon Hee Cho, Young Ah Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Exposure to perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) is of public concern due to their persistent exposure and adverse health effects. Placental transfer of PFASs is an important excretion pathway of these chemicals in pregnant women and exposure route in fetuses. We measured PFAS concentrations in maternal, paternal, and umbilical cord serum collected from 62 pregnant Korean women and matched biological fathers of the fetuses. Placental transfer rates (cord to maternal serum ratio) of PFASs were also calculated. Demographics and pregnancy-related factors determining the placental transfer rates were identified using linear regression models. Maternal, paternal, and cord serum showed different PFASs compositions. Among the PFASs, perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) showed the highest concentrations in maternal and paternal serum, while perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) showed the highest concentration in cord serum. There was a higher proportion of perfluoroalkyl carboxylic acids (PFCAs) with 9–12 carbon chains than those with 13–14 carbon chains in maternal and paternal serum, but this proportion was in the opposite direction in cord serum. PFOA and perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS) had higher placental transfer rates (means of 0.32 and 0.36, respec-tively) than PFOS (mean of 0.12), which is in line with the results of previous studies. Gestational age and birth weight were positively associated with placental transfer rate of PFOA, PFHxS, and PFOS, while pre-pregnant BMI and weight were inversely associated with PFOS. This study showed that placental transfer of PFASs differs by compounds and is associated with pregnancy-related factors. Further studies on novel PFASs are warranted for Korean pregnant women.

Original languageEnglish
Article number168
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021


Funding: This work was supported by a grant from research year of Inje University in 2013–2014.

FundersFunder number
Inje University


    • Cord blood
    • Perfluoroalkyl acids
    • Placenta
    • Pregnancy
    • Prenatal exposure


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