DOI: 10.3390/toxics11120965 ISSN: 2305-6304

The Association of Perfluoroalkyl Substance Exposure and a Serum Liver Function Marker in Korean Adults

Jisuk Yun, Soon-Chan Kwon
  • Chemical Health and Safety
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Toxicology

Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), widely used throughout industry and daily life, are currently one of the environmental pollutants garnering the most attention worldwide. Recently, environmental pollutants have had a high profile as one of the main causes of chronic liver disease, such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Research on PFAS is actively underway. Although Korea has a remarkably high prevalence of chronic liver disease, and it continues to increase, only a few studies have revealed the relationship between PFAS and liver disease. In addition, regulations on PFAS in Korea are delayed compared to developed countries, such as Europe and the United States, and public interest is insufficient compared to others. Therefore, we would like to investigate the exposure of Koreans to PFAS in the blood and examine the relationship between these substances and markers of liver function (AST, ALT, and GGT). This study was based on the results of the Korean National Environmental Health Survey (KoNEHS) 2015–2017 (Cycle 3), and a total of 2961 subjects were selected. The concentration of PFAS in the blood of Korean adults was measured to be significantly higher based on the geometric mean compared to the results of recently investigated American adults based on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES, 2017–2018). A multivariable linear regression analysis adjusted for age, sex, body mass index (BMI), smoking status, alcohol intake, and regular exercise was performed to examine changes in three liver function markers as the serum PFAS concentration increased. We found that some of the five PFAS (PFOA, PFOS, PFHxS, PFNA, and PFDeA) were significantly associated with increased liver enzymes. It is necessary to recognize the threat of PFAS to the human body and to discuss regulations and alternatives in earnest. Continuous follow-up studies are required through a well-designed cohort.

More from our Archive