Background: Prenatal exposure to individual per‑ and poly‑fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and psychosocial stressors have been associated with reductions in fetal growth. Studies suggest cumulative or joint effects of chemical and non-chemical stressors on fetal growth. However, few studies have examined PFAS and non-chemical stressors together as a mixture, which better reflects real life exposure patterns. We examined joint associations between PFAS, perceived stress, and depression, and fetal growth using two approaches developed for exposure mixtures. Methods: Pregnant participants were enrolled in the Chemicals in Our Bodies cohort and Illinois Kids Development Study, which together make up the ECHO.CA.IL cohort. Seven PFAS were previously measured in 2nd trimester maternal serum samples and were natural log transformed for analyses. Perceived stress and depression were assessed using self-reported validated questionnaires, which were converted to t-scores using validated methods. Quantile g-computation and Bayesian kernel machine regression (BKMR) were used to assess joint associations between PFAS, perceived stress and depression t-scores and birthweight z-scores (N = 876). Results: Individual PFAS, depression and perceived stress t-scores were negatively correlated with birthweight z-scores. Using quantile g-computation, a simultaneous one quartile increase in all PFAS, perceived stress and depression t-scores was associated with a slight reduction in birthweight z-scores (mean change per quartile increase = -0.09, 95% confidence interval = -0.21, 0.03). BKMR similarly indicated that cumulative PFAS and stress t-scores were modestly associated with lower birthweight z-scores. Across both methods, the joint association appeared to be distributed across multiple exposures rather than due to a single exposure. Conclusions: Our study is one of the first to examine the joint effects of chemical and non-chemical stressors on fetal growth using mixture methods. We found that PFAS, perceived stress, and depression in combination were modestly associated were lower birthweight z-scores, which supports prior studies indicating that chemical and non-chemical stressors are jointly associated with adverse health outcomes.
- Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Science(all)