PFOA Concentration in Serum Collected 1991-2008 and Related Health Effects

EPA Grant Number: R834788
Title: PFOA Concentration in Serum Collected 1991-2008 and Related Health Effects
Investigators: Pinney, Susan M. , Succop, Paul , Bornschein, Robert
Current Investigators: Pinney, Susan M. , Biro, Frank M. , Succop, Paul , Herrick, Robert , Bornschein, Robert
Institution: University of Cincinnati
Current Institution: University of Cincinnati , Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: February 1, 2011 through January 31, 2013 (Extended to January 31, 2015)
Project Amount: $499,980
RFA: Exploring Linkages Between Health Outcomes and Environmental Hazards, Exposures, and Interventions for Public Health Tracking and Risk Management (2009) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Human Health , Health


We propose to measure PFC concentrations in archived serum from an established cohort, with samples obtained during an 18-year period from 1991 to 2008, and test for associations with early biological indicators of disease such as biomarkers of inflammation, elevated hepatic enzymes, and changes in levels of triglycerides, cholesterol and thyroid hormones, using a database of clinical information. We believe that some members of this cohort, living in towns along the Ohio River during the 1990s, may have been exposed to PFCs from drinking water. Our hypotheses are:

H1: Persons living in communities along the Ohio River at the time of serum collection will have serum PFOA concentrations greater than the age-specific population values established using data from NHANES 2003-2004.

H2 : Distance of town or city of residence upriver from Cincinnati, calendar years (1990- 2002) lived in the area, and drinking water source from a water treatment system using the Ohio River will be directly related to serum PFOA concentration, and live birth and breastfeeding (for women),will be inversely related. Drinking tap water from a water treatment system using granulated activated carbon will be inversely related to serum PFOA concentration.

H3 :Early biological indicators of disease such as white blood cell count, differential count of white blood cells, and serum concentration of C-reactive protein and interleukins (IL 1-α, IL 1-β ,IL-6 and IL-8),serum triglyceride and cholesterol levels, thyroid hormone and hepatic enzymes, and body mass index are related to serum PFOA concentration.


We will measure PFC concentrations in archived serum from 250 members of the cohort who lived throughout the Ohio River Valley during the 1990s, and collect detailed residential history information from them. Using these data and the data in the cohort database, we will conduct statistical analyses to determine if there are associations between serum PFOA concentrations, residence location and calendar year, drinking water source, and biological indicators of early physiologic effect.

Expected Results:

The findings of this project will better characterize the extent of PFOA exposure through drinking water to the Ohio River Valley population. If the degree of exposure to PFOA was limited by granular activated carbon water treatment of river water, then other present and future chemical exposures also may be limited. Statistical analyses using data from the FMMP database will determine if there is a relationship between PFOA serum concentration and early biological indicators of health effects. If relatively low levels of PFOA exposure are found to be detrimental to health, serum concentrations in humans can be modified by changes in water treatment, personal practices, or composition of manufactured products.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 5 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 2 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

Epidemiology, Midwest, heavy metals, perfluorochemicals, perfluoralkyl acids, C-8, perfluorooctanoic acid,

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2011 Progress Report
  • 2012 Progress Report
  • 2013 Progress Report
  • Final Report