Introduction: Exposure to perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) has been associated with lower bone mineral density (BMD) in animal and human studies, but prospective data from children are limited. Objectives: To determine associations between prenatal and early postnatal PFAS exposure and BMD at age 7 years. Methods: In the Odense Child Cohort, Denmark, pregnant women were recruited in 2010–2012, and their children were invited for subsequent health examinations. At 12 weeks of gestation the pregnant women delivered a serum sample, and at age 18 months serum was obtained from the child to measure perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) and perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA) by LC-MS/MS. At age 7 years DXA scans were performed to measure bone mineral content (BMC) and BMD Z-score. PFAS in pregnancy (n = 881) and/or at age 18 months (n = 668) were regressed against DXA measurements, adjusted for maternal education, child height Z-score, sex (for BMC) and for postnatal exposure, additionally duration of total breastfeeding. We additionally performed structural equation models determining combined effects of pre-and postnatal PFAS exposures. Results: Higher prenatal and early postnatal serum concentrations of all measured PFAS were associated with lower BMC and BMD Z-scores at age 7 years, all estimates were negative although not all significant. For each doubling of 18-month exposure to PFNA or PFOS, BMD Z-scores were lowered by −0.10 (95 % CI −0.19;-0.00) and −0.08 (-0.17;-0.00), respectively after adjustment. Pre- and postnatal PFAS were correlated, but structural equation models suggested that associations with BMD were stronger for 18-month than prenatal PFAS exposure. Discussion: Bone density is established in childhood, and a reduction in BMD during early childhood may have long-term implication for peak bone mass and lifelong bone health. Future studies of the impact of PFAS exposure on fracture incidence will help elucidate the clinical relevance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108264
JournalEnvironment International
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023

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  • Bone mineral density
  • Children
  • Endocrine disruptors
  • Environmental epidemiology
  • Perfluoroalkyl substances


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