Background: Knowledge about PFAS exposure in Africa is limited. We have previously detected six types of PFAS in the serum of infants from Guinea-Bissau, West Africa. The aim of this study was to identify predictors of the infant serum-PFAS concentrations. Methods: This cross-sectional study was based on a subset of data from a randomized controlled trial of early measles vaccination performed in 2012–2015 in three rural regions of Guinea-Bissau. Blood samples were obtained from 237 children aged 4-to-7 months, and six types of PFAS were quantified in serum. Location of residence was recorded, and information about predictors related to socioeconomic status as well as maternal and child characteristics were obtained through structured interviews with the mothers through routine surveillance. Associations between potential predictors and infant serum-PFAS concentrations were examined in linear regression models while adjusting for potential confounding and mediating factors as identified in a directed acyclic graph. Results: Infants from the Cacheu region had the lowest concentrations of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), while infants from the Oio region had the lowest concentrations of all other PFAS. Compared to infants from Oio, infant serum-perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) concentrations were 94.1% (95% CI: 52.4, 147.1%) and 81.9% (95% CI: 45.7, 127.1%) higher in Cacheu and Biombo, respectively. Higher maternal age and lower parity were associated with slightly higher child-serum perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS) concentrations, while infants with higher socioeconomic status and infants breastfed without supplementary solid foods at inclusion had higher average concentrations of most PFAS, although the confidence intervals were wide and overlapped zero. Discussion: Location of residence was the most important determinant of serum-PFAS concentrations among Guinea-Bissau infants, indicating a potential role of diet as affected by the global spread of PFAS, but future studies should explore reasons for the regional differences in PFAS exposure.
- Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances
- Residence location