PFAS and placental toxicity

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Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a hot topic of conversation at our household these days, as both of my teenage boys are competitive cross-country skiers, and this year was the first to have an enforced ban on PFAS (“fluoro”) in ski wax. My youngest son even did his science fair experiment on the topic of fluoro-free waxes! 

PFAS are used in a number of items, from teflon and waterproof outdoor gear to (up until this year) ski wax. They are “forever” chemicals that do not biodegrade, and can accumulate in human and animal organs, causing a host of endocrine (hormone) disruptions as well as cancers. 

Despite the awareness of the toxicity of PFAS and enforcements on bans, it is assumed that virtually all people in the United States (and likely Canada) have been exposed to some PFAS because of their wide-scale application and accumulation in the environment. Given the research on impaired placental function and pregnancy loss related to PFAS exposure, a recent study out of New York State tested 326 pregnant women from 2015 to 2019 for PFAS associations with HCG subunits (human chorionic gonadotropin) to assess PFAS transfer to the fetus via the placenta.  

Not only were PFAS associated with HCGb, but there were differences in magnitude within social determinant subgroups (particularly maternal race/ethnicity), suggesting that these PFAS may be factors contributing to health disparity in pregnancy

We have a long way to go in understanding inequities in reproductive health outcomes across various social and racialized groups, given the same or even lower exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Hopefully, this study will hopefully start to shed more light on the importance of further controlling these harmful chemicals, especially in light of more vulnerable populations.

I hope you have found this helpful, and do let me know if you have any questions!

If you are hungry for more evidence-based information in your pregnancy, sign up for my free webinar: 7 Pregnancy Myths Debunked – and get the information you need to have a healthy pregnancy and a thriving baby.

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In health,

Dr Jocelyn Land-Murphy, ND

Terra Life

Disclaimer: The information and content provided is for general educational and informational purposes only and is not professional medical advice, nor is it intended to be a substitute therefore. Please consult the Disclaimer and Terms of Use for full details.


Liang, H. et al. (2024). Associations of Serum Perfluoroalkyl Substances and Placental Human Chorionic Gonadotropin in Early Pregnancy, Measured in the UPSIDE Study in Rochester, New York. Environmental Health Perspectives, 132(4).

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8 Proven Shortcuts To A Healthy Pregnancy

it's free!
Protecting your personal information is of utmost importance to me