How prenatal and postnatal exposure to PFAS affect child cardiometabolic health and inflammatory biomarkers – six European cohorts

February 23, 2022
12:00 pm US Eastern Time

Slides & Resources


Eleni Papadopoulou: Prenatal and postnatal exposure to PFAS and cardiometabolic factors and inflammation status in children from six European cohorts.


Papadopoulou, E. Stratakis, N., Basagaña, X., et al. (2021). Prenatal and postnatal exposure to PFAS and cardiometabolic factors and inflammation status in children from six European cohortsEnviron International. 157(106853). doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2021.106853.

Stratakis N, V Conti D, et al. (2020). Prenatal Exposure to Perfluoroalkyl Substances Associated With Increased Susceptibility to Liver Injury in Children. Hepatology. 72(5):1758-1770. doi: 10.1002/hep.31483.

Papadopoulou E, Haug LS, et al. (2019). Diet as a Source of Exposure to Environmental Contaminants for Pregnant Women and Children from Six European Countries. Environ Health Perspect. 127(10):107005. doi: 10.1289/EHP5324.

ECHA PFAS resource page: available in many languages

Click here to download a flyer, available in 10 languages, illustrating how ATHLETE can help us better understand how environmental pollutants affect our health over a lifetime, and how we can prevent this from happening by taking individual, community and policy action. 

Click here to visit the ATHLETE projectYouTube page, with videos available in 10 languages explaining the nature and goals of the project. 

The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) and the University of California in San Francisco (UCSF), PRHE and Office of Sustainability have made available the following resources on PFAS:

  • An infographic on the problems with PFAS, including health impacts (available in EnglishDutchFrenchSpanish and German).
  • fact sheet, outlining exactly how PFAS chemicals affect women, pregnancy and human development (also in collaboration with the Natural Resources Defence Council - NRDC).
  • An infographic with 10 tips to avoid harmful chemicals during and after pregnancy (available in EnglishGermanFrench and Spanish).

Click here to visit HEAL’s resource page on PFAS.

Developing children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of endocrine disrupting chemicals. The authors hypothesized that early life exposure to PFASs is associated with poor metabolic health in children. The aim of the study is to examine the association between prenatal and postnatal PFAS mixture exposure with markers of metabolic health, and explore the role of inflammatory biomarkers by constructing an integrated network, in a well-characterized study of 1,101 mother–child pairs.

During the webinar, the lead author, Dr. Eleni Papadopoulou, from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, presented the data published in Environmental International in December 2021, which are relevant when considering long-term health effects associated with PFAS exposure at early life stage for metabolic disorders and overall call for a more restrictive approach to the regulation of those chemicals.

This study is part of the EU-funded HELIX project, a collaboration across six ongoing longitudinal population-based birth cohort studies in Europe: the Born in Bradford (BiB) study in the UK, the Étude des Déterminants pré et postnatals du développement et de la santé de l’Enfant (EDEN) study in France, the INfancia y Medio Ambiente (INMA) cohort in Spain, the Kaunas cohort (KANC) in Lithuania, the Norwegian Mother, Father and Child Cohort Study (MoBa) and the RHEA Mother Child Cohort study in Crete, Greece.

This work is continuing in the ATHLETE project. The ATHLETE cohorts, including the HELIX participants, have assessed early (embryonic, fetal, and infant) organ development using cutting-edge measurements of advanced cardiac and great vessel imaging (anatomical and functional echocardiography and MRI), as well as trajectories of cardiometabolic health (e.g., blood pressure, macrovascular and microvascular phenotypes, weight gain, lipid profiles) into adolescence. The specific goals of ATHLETE can be found here:  http://www.athleteproject.eu/.

This webinar was moderated by Génon Jensen, Executive Director of Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL). It lasted for 30 minutes and was recorded for our call and webinar archive.

The webinar builds on the CHE EDC Strategies Partnership’s PFAS, Science and Policy webinar series, which includes webinars featuring leading scientists presentations on topics such as the safety of fluoropolymers and connection to PFAS, the concept of essentiality as a means to phase out all but the most needed uses of PFAS and proposed actions on PFAS within the regulatory bodies of the EU as set out in EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability.

This webinar series is sponsored by the EDC Strategies Partnership. The EDC Strategies Partnership is co-chaired by Sharyle Patton (Commonweal Biomonitoring Resource Center), Jerry Heindel (Commonweal HEEDS, Healthy Environment and Endocrine Disruptor Strategies), Genon Jensen (HEAL, Health and Environment Alliance), Sarah Howard (HEEDS and the Commonweal Diabetes and Environment Program), and Hannah Donart (Commonweal CHE, Collaborative on Health and the Environment). To see a full list of past calls and webinars related to EDCs and listen to or view recordings, please visit our partnership page. For updates and more information on upcoming webinars, sign up for our HEEDSHEAL, and CHE newsletters! 

Featured Speaker

Dr. Eleni Papadopoulou is an epidemiologist and a researcher in the Global Health Cluster at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. With a background in nutritional science and a PhD in environmental epidemiology, her work is focused on the potential effects of early life exposures to environmental contaminants, especially food contaminants, on fetal and childhood growth and metabolic health. As a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions fellow she has studied dietary exposures to emerging toxicants, including PFAS, and her work has contributed to the recent risk assessment for PFAS in food by EFSA (adopted in July 2020) and the ongoing risk-benefit assessment of fish in the Norwegian diet by the Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment. As a researcher in the pioneering HELIX project she has studied the exposome, describing the totality of the environmental stressors we are exposed to. She is currently involved in global health research in several LMICs, including Palestine, Ethiopia, Uganda and Rwanda.