Effects of perinatal exposure to PCBs on neuropsychological functions in the Rotterdam cohort at 9 years of age

Neuropsychology. 2004 Jan;18(1):185-93. doi: 10.1037/0894-4105.18.1.185.


PCBs are known for their neurotoxic properties, especially on the developing brain. To increase insight into the neurotoxic effects of PCB exposure, the authors studied the effects of perinatal exposure to environmental levels of these compounds on different neuropsychological domains. In 9-year-old children of the Rotterdam PCB--dioxin cohort, higher prenatal PCB levels were associated with longer response times (RTs), more variation in RTs, and lower scores on the Tower of London (TOL; Shallice, 1982). A longer breast-feeding duration was associated with lower TOL scores and with better spatial organizational skills. There was some evidence of negative effects of lactational exposure to PCBs on scores on the TOL.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Decision Making / drug effects
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intelligence
  • Male
  • Maternal Exposure
  • Memory, Short-Term / drug effects
  • Milk, Human
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Neuropsychological Tests*
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / toxicity*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Psychomotor Performance / drug effects*
  • Reaction Time
  • Regression Analysis
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Verbal Learning / drug effects
  • Visual Perception / drug effects


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls