Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 2691–2698 | Cite as

Efficiency of maternal-fetal transfer of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances

  • Yiwen Wang
  • Wenchao Han
  • Caifeng Wang
  • Yijun Zhou
  • Rong Shi
  • Eva Cecilie Bonefeld-Jørgensen
  • Qian Yao
  • Tao Yuan
  • Yu GaoEmail author
  • Jun ZhangEmail author
  • Ying TianEmail author
Research Article


Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) can be transferred from a mother to her fetus during pregnancy and adversely affect fetal development. However, the efficiency and influencing factors of PFASs maternal–fetal transfer remain unclear. We measured the levels of six perfluoroalkylcarboxylates, three perfluoroalkylsulfonates, and one sulfonamide in 369 pairs of maternal and umbilical cord serum and examined the transplacental transfer efficiency (TTE) of PFASs by the functional group and carbon chain length in a prospective birth cohort in Shandong, China. All ten PFASs were detected in both maternal and umbilical cord serum in nearly all samples. Maternal and cord levels were closely correlated (the correlation coefficient [r] ranging from 0.485 to 0.908) in most PFASs except perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS) (r = 0.159). TTE was significantly affected by the functional group and carbon chain length. Compared to perfluoroalkylcarboxylates, perfluoroalkylsulfonates had a lower ratio of maternal to fetal transfer. A U-shaped relationship between carbon chain length and TTE was observed for perfluoroalkylcarboxylates while a monotonic descending trend was identified between TTE and the increasing carbon chain length for perfluoroalkylsulfonates. PFASs can readily pass through the placenta. The functional group and carbon chain length are important determinants for the TTE of PFASs.


Perfluoroalkylcarboxylates Perfluoroalkylsulfonates Transplacental transfer efficiency China 



Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances


transplacental transfer efficiency


perfluorohexane sulfonic acid


perfluorooctane sulfonate


body mass index


perfluoroheptanoic acid


perfluorooctanoic acid


perfluorononanoic acid


perfluorodecanoic acid


perfluoroundecanoic acid


perfluorododecanoic acid


perfluorobutane sulfonic acid


perfluorooctane sulfonamide


high-performance liquid chromatography system coupled with tandem mass spectrometry


limit of detection


Funding information

This work was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (Grant No.2017YFC1600500, 2016YFC1000203), National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No.81872629, 81773387, 81803185), Scientific research program of Shanghai Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning (201840180).

Compliance with ethical standards

The Medical Ethics Committee of Xin Hua Hospital, affiliated to Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, had approved the study protocol (Chen et al. 2015). Written informed consent was obtained from all participants.

Conflict of interests

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

11356_2018_3686_MOESM1_ESM.docx (25 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 25 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yiwen Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wenchao Han
    • 1
    • 3
  • Caifeng Wang
    • 4
  • Yijun Zhou
    • 4
  • Rong Shi
    • 4
  • Eva Cecilie Bonefeld-Jørgensen
    • 5
  • Qian Yao
    • 4
  • Tao Yuan
    • 6
  • Yu Gao
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  • Jun Zhang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ying Tian
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.MOE and Shanghai Key Laboratory of Children’s Environmental HealthXin Hua Hospital Affiliated to Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of MedicineShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Department of NeonatologyXin Hua Hospital Affiliated to Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of MedicineShanghaiChina
  3. 3.Department of PediatricsQingdao Municipal HospitalQingdaoChina
  4. 4.Department of Environmental Health, School of Public HealthShanghai Jiao Tong University School of MedicineShanghaiChina
  5. 5.Centre for Arctic Environmental Medicine (CAM), Department of Public HealthUniversity of AarhusAarhusDenmark
  6. 6.School of Environmental Science and EngineeringShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiChina

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