Background: We assessed the association between perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and pregnancy outcome in an area with elevated exposure to PFOA from drinking water contaminated by chemical plant releases.
Methods: Serum PFOA was measured, and reproductive and residential histories were obtained during 2005–2006. We estimated serum PFOA levels at the time of pregnancy for 11,737 pregnancies occurring between 1990 and 2006, based on historical information on PFOA releases, environmental distribution, pharmacokinetic modeling, and residential histories. We assessed the association between PFOA and the odds of miscarriage, stillbirth, preeclampsia, preterm birth, term low birthweight, and birth defects, controlling for calendar time, age, parity, education, and smoking. PFOA exposure was evaluated as a continuous measure (with and without log transformation) and in quintiles, combining the lowest 2 quintiles (<6.8 ng/mL) as the referent.
Results: Measures of association between PFOA and miscarriage, preterm birth, term low birthweight, and birth defects were close to the null. Odds of stillbirth were elevated in the fourth quintile only. For preeclampsia, the odds ratio was 1.13 (95% confidence interval = 1.00–1.28) for an interquartile shift in log-transformed PFOA, and the odds ratios were 1.1–1.2 across the upper 3 quintiles of exposure.
Conclusions: In this large, population-based study in a region with markedly elevated PFOA exposure, we found no associations between estimated serum PFOA levels and adverse pregnancy outcomes other than possibly preeclampsia. Conclusions are tempered by inherent limitations in exposure reconstruction and self-reported pregnancy outcome information.