Prenatal exposure to perfluroalkyl substances and children's IQ: The Taiwan maternal and infant cohort study

Yan Wang, Walter J. Rogan, Hsin Yi Chen, Pau Chung Chen, Pen Hua Su, Hsiao Yen Chen, Shu Li Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are a group of fluorinated organic substances that are widely used in consumer products and are often detectable in human tissues. Human studies on prenatal exposure to PFASs and neurodevelopment in children are few and inconsistent. Methods: In the Taiwan Maternal and Infant Cohort Study, we collected serum samples from pregnant women during the third trimester and measured concentrations of 9 PFASs using a high performance liquid chromatography system. A subsample of their children was assessed with full scale intelligence quotient (FSIQ), verbal IQ (VIQ) and performance IQ (PIQ) at both age 5 (n = 120) and 8 years (n = 120). We used multivariate linear regression models to examine prenatal PFAS exposure in relation to IQ scores at each age period. Results: Prenatal perfluoroundecanoic acid (PFUnDA) concentrations were inversely associated with children's PIQ scores at age 5 years, with an adjusted coefficient (β) of -1.6 (95% confidence interval [CI]: (-3.0, -0.2). When children reached 8 years, most of the prenatal PFASs showed inverse association with children's FSIQ, VIQ and PIQ scores. Among them, prenatal perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) reached significance. Children with higher prenatal PFNA levels had lower VIQ with an adjusted β of -2.1 (95% CI: -3.9, -0.2). Conclusions: We found two prenatal PFAS exposure, both long-chain PFASs, in association with decreased IQ test scores in children. Our findings suggest more studies on long-chain PFASs and children's neurodevelopment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)639-644
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Oct 1


  • Children
  • IQ
  • Perfluoroalkyl substances
  • Prenatal exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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