Levels of PFAS concentrations in the placenta and pregnancy complications

Luda Groisman, Tamar Berman, Anna Quinn, Gali Pariente, Efrat Rorman, Isabella Karakis, Roni Gat, Batia Sarov, Lena Novack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Recent research has raised concerns about the potential health effects of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) exposure, particularly during critical periods of development such as pregnancy. In this study, we sought to investigate the presence and potential impacts of PFAS in the placenta. Methods: We measured 13 PFAS compounds in placental tissue samples among 50 women who gave birth at a tertiary medical center in southern Israel. The sample comprised of 10 women with pregnancy-related complications (preterm birth, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes or small-for-gestational age) and 40 women without complications individually matched to cases by age. Results: For five (5) out of 13 PFAS compounds (Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), Perfluorohexanesulphonic acid (PFHxS), Perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), Perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA)) median concentrations were lower or comparable to placental measurements in different international populations. Geometric mean was estimated at 0.09 ng/g (90%CI:0.07;0.10) for PFOA, 0.05 ng/g for PFNA (90%CI:0.04;0.07), 0.03 ng/g for PFDA (90%CI:0.01;0.03), 0.06 ng/g for PFHxS (90%CI:0.05;0.07), 0.23 ng/g for PFOS linear measurement (90%CI:0.20;0.26) and 0.25 ng/g (90%CI:0.22;0.30) for PFOS summed concentrations that included non-linear isomers. Composite outcome of pregnancy-related complications was associated with elevated PFOA placental concentrations at an odds ratio (OR)= 1.82 (90%CI:1.06;3.13) for an increase of one quintile of PFOA value and adjusted to maternal gravidity in a conditional logistic regression. Conclusion: This pilot study indicates a widespread exposure to multiple PFAS compounds in placental tissue of pregnant women in Israel. These findings warrant further validation through comprehensive national human biomonitoring initiatives.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115165
JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2023


  • Diabetes
  • General population
  • PFAS
  • Placenta
  • Pregnancy complications

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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