Preconception Maternal and Paternal Exposure to Persistent Organic Pollutants and Birth Size: The LIFE Study

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are developmental toxicants, but the impact of both maternal and paternal exposures on offspring birth size is largely unexplored. This study examined associations between maternal and paternal serum concentrations of 63 POPs, comprising five major classes of pollutants, with birth size measures. Parental serum concentrations of 9 organochlorine pesticides, 1 polybrominated biphenyl (PBB), 7 perfluoroalkyl chemicals (PFCs), 10 polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), and 36 polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were measured before conception for 234 couples. Differences in birth weight, length, head circumference, and ponderal index were estimated using multiple linear regression per 1-SD increase in natural log-transformed (ln-transformed) chemicals. Models were estimated separately for each parent and adjusted for maternal age, maternal prepregnancy body mass index (kilograms per meter squared) and other confounders, and all models included an interaction term between infant sex and each chemical. Among girls (n = 117), birth weight was significantly lower (range, 84-195 g) in association with a 1-SD increase in ln-transformed maternal serum concentrations of DDT, PBDE congeners 28 and 183, and paternal serum concentrations of PBDE-183 and PCB-167. Among boys (n = 113), maternal (PCBs 138, 153, 167, 170, 195, and 209 and perfluorooctane sulfonamide) and paternal (PCBs 172 and 195) serum concentrations of several POPs were statistically associated with lower birth weight (range, 98-170 g), whereas paternal concentrations of PBDEs (66, 99) were associated with higher birth weight. Differences in offspring head circumference, length, and ponderal index were also associated with parental exposures. The authors concluded that preconceptional maternal and paternal concentrations of several POPs were associated with statistically significant differences in birth size among offspring.

Authors: Robledo CA, Yeung E, Mendola P, Sundaram R, Maisog J, Sweeney AM, Barr DB, Louis GM. ;Full Source: Environmental Health Perspectives. 2015 Jan;123(1):88-94. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1308016. Epub 2014 Aug 5. ;