2022 journal article
Drinking Water–Associated PFAS and Fluoroethers and Lipid Outcomes in the GenX Exposure Study
Environmental Health Perspectives.
Residents of Wilmington, North, Carolina, were exposed to drinking water contaminated by fluoroethers and legacy per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), with fluoroether exposure occurring from 1980 to 2017. PFOA and PFOS have previously been associated with metabolic dysfunction; however, few prior studies have examined associations between other PFAS and lipid levels.We measured the association between serum fluoroether and legacy PFAS levels and various cholesterol outcomes.Participants in the GenX Exposure Study contributed nonfasting blood samples in November 2017 and May 2018 that were analyzed for 20 PFAS (10 legacy, 10 fluoroethers) and serum lipids [total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high-density lipoprotein (HDL), triglycerides] and calculated non-HDL cholesterol. We estimated covariate-adjusted associations between quartiles of exposure to each of the PFAS measures (as well as the summed concentrations of legacy PFAS, fluoroethers, and all 10 targeted PFAS) and lipid outcomes by fitting inverse probability of treatment weighted linear regressions.In this cross-sectional study of 326 participants (age range 6-86 y), eight PFAS were detected in >50% of the population. For PFOS and perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), non-HDL cholesterol was approximately 5mg/dL higher per exposure quartile increase: [PFOS: 4.89; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.10, 9.68 and PFNA: 5.25 (95% CI: 0.39, 10.1)], whereas total cholesterol was approximately 6mg/dL higher per quartile [PFOS: 5.71 (95% CI: 0.38, 11.0), PFNA: 5.92 (95% CI: 0.19, 11.7)]. In age-stratified analyses, associations were strongest among the oldest participants. Two fluoroethers were associated with higher HDL, whereas other fluoroether compounds were not associated with serum lipid levels.PFNA and PFOS were associated with higher levels of total and non-HDL cholesterol, with associations larger in magnitude among older adults. In the presence of these legacy PFAS, fluoroethers appeared to be associated with HDL but not non-HDL lipid measures. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP11033.