Concurrent foetal exposure to multiple environmental chemicals along the U.S.-Mexico border: an exploratory study in Brownsville, Texas

There is mounting concern that cumulative exposure to diverse chemicals in the environment may contribute to observed adverse health outcomes in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. To investigate this situation, biomarker concentrations of organochlorine (OC) pesticides/metabolites, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were measured in maternal and umbilical cord blood from pregnant Hispanic women in Brownsville, TX. Results show that both mothers and foetuses were exposed concurrently to a variety of relatively low-level, hazardous environmental chemicals. Approximately 10% of the blood specimens had comparatively high concentrations of specific OC pesticides, PCBs and PAHs. Because many pregnant women in Brownsville live in socioeconomically-disadvantaged and environmentally-challenging circumstances, there is appropriate concern that exposure to these exogenous substances, either individually or in combination, may contribute to endemic health problems in this population, including cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes. The authors concluded that the challenge is to identify individuals at highest comparative risk and then implement effective programs to either prevent or reduce cumulative exposures that pose significant health-related threats.

Authors: Sexton K, Salinas JJ. ;Full Source: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2014 Sep 29;11(10):10165-81. doi: 10.3390/ijerph111010165. ;