Objective: To examine the relation between prenatal 1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)ethylene (p,p'-DDE) exposure (a metabolite of the insecticide DDT) and child growth during the first 7 years of life. Design Prospective cohort study. Participants 1,712 children born between 1959 and 1966 with measured p,p'-DDE concentrations in their mother's serum samples from pregnancy. Setting Multicenter US Collaborative Perinatal Project (CPP).
Results: The highest prenatal concentrations of p,p'-DDE (>or=60 microg/l), as compared with the lowest (<15 microg/l), were associated with decreased height at age 1 year [adjusted coefficient (SE) = -0.72 cm (0.37), n = 1,540], 4 years [-1.14 cm (0.56), n = 1,289], and 7 years [-2.19 (0.46), n = 1,371]. Among subjects in lower categories of exposure no association was observed.
Conclusions: The findings suggest that high prenatal exposure to p,p'-DDE decreases height in children. Impaired growth may be a general indicator of toxicity and suggests that specific organ systems (e.g. endocrine) could be affected.