Background: Animal studies suggest that some perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs), including perfluorooctanoate (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), and perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) may impair thyroid function. Epidemiological findings, mostly related to adults, are inconsistent.
Objectives: We investigated whether concentrations of PFAAs were associated with thyroid function among 10,725 children (1–17 years of age) living near a Teflon manufacturing facility in the Mid-Ohio Valley (USA).
Methods: Serum levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), total thyroxine (TT4), and PFAAs were measured during 2005–2006, and information on diagnosed thyroid disease was collected by questionnaire. Modeled in utero PFOA concentrations were based on historical information on PFOA releases, environmental distribution, pharmacokinetic modeling, and residential histories. We performed multivariate regression analyses.
Results: Median concentrations of modeled in utero PFOA and measured serum PFOA, PFOS, and PFNA were 12, 29, 20, and 1.5 ng/mL, respectively. The odds ratio for hypothyroidism (n = 39) was 1.54 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.00, 2.37] for an interquartile range (IQR) contrast of 13 to 68 ng/mL in serum PFOA measured in 2005–2006. However, an IQR shift in serum PFOA was not associated with TSH or TT4 levels in all children combined. IQR shifts in serum PFOS (15 to 28 ng/mL) and serum PFNA (1.2 to 2.0 ng/mL) were both associated with a 1.1% increase in TT4 in children 1–17 years old (95% CIs: 0.6, 1.5 and 0.7, 1.5 respectively).
Conclusions: This is the first large-scale report in children suggesting associations of serum PFOS and PFNA with thyroid hormone levels and of serum PFOA and hypothyroidism.