Prenatal dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) exposure and child growth during the first year of life

Environ Res. 2012 Feb:113:58-62. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2011.12.002. Epub 2012 Jan 13.


Background: Due to its long-term persistence in the environment and its ability to cross the placental barrier, prenatal p,p'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethene (DDE) exposure continues to be a public health concern. This study aimed to evaluate the association between prenatal DDE exposure and child growth, at birth and during the first year of life.

Methods: 253 pregnant women were recruited between January 2001 and June 2005 in a prospective cohort in Morelos, Mexico. Serum levels of DDE were measured during each trimester of pregnancy by gas chromatography with an electron capture detector. Using the generalized mixed-effects models, the association between DDE and child growth parameters (weight-for-age, length-for-age, weight-for-length, BMI-for-age and head circumference-for-age Z-scores) from birth to 1 year of age was assessed. Maternal dietary intake was considered as covariable among others.

Results: DDE levels were 6.3±2.8 ng/mL (first trimester), 6.6±2.9 ng/mL (second trimester), and 7.6±2.9 ng/mL (third trimester). After adjusting for potential confounder variables, no significant associations were observed with prenatal DDE exposure and each of the selected parameters.

Conclusions: Our results show no evidence of an association between prenatal DDE exposure and child growth during the first year of life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Size / drug effects*
  • Chromatography, Gas
  • Dichlorodiphenyl Dichloroethylene / blood
  • Dichlorodiphenyl Dichloroethylene / toxicity*
  • Female
  • Growth / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Insecticides / blood
  • Insecticides / toxicity*
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Maternal Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Mexico
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / chemically induced*
  • Prospective Studies


  • Insecticides
  • Dichlorodiphenyl Dichloroethylene