Perinatal exposure to chlordecone and infant growth

Environ Res. 2015 Oct;142:123-34. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2015.06.023. Epub 2015 Jun 30.


Background: The intensive use of chlordecone (an organochlorine insecticide) in the French West Indies until 1993 resulted in a long-term soil and water contamination. Chlordecone has known hormonal properties and exposure through contaminated food during critical periods of development (gestation and early infancy) may affect growth.

Objectives: We aimed to assess the impact of prenatal and postnatal exposure to chlordecone on the growth of children from the TIMOUN mother-child cohort.

Methods: Chlordecone was determined in cord plasma at birth (N=222) and in breast milk samples (at 3 months). Dietary chlordecone intake was estimated at 7 and 18 months, with food-frequency questionnaires and food-specific contamination data. Anthropometric measurements were taken at the 3-, 7- and 18-month visits and measurements reported in the infants' health records were noted. Structured Jenss-Bayley growth models were fitted to individual height and weight growth trajectories. The impact of exposure on growth curve parameters was estimated directly with adjusted mixed non-linear models. Weight, height and body mass index (BMI), and instantaneous height and weight growth velocities at specific ages were also analyzed relative to exposure.

Results: Chlordecone in cord blood was associated with a higher BMI in boys at 3 months, due to greater weight and lower height, and in girls at 8 and 18 months, mostly due to lower height. Postnatal exposure was associated with lower height, weight and BMI at 3, 8 and 18 months, particularly in girls.

Conclusion: Chlordecone exposure may affect growth trajectories in children aged 0 to 18 months.

Keywords: Chlordecone; Growth modeling; Infant growth; Organochlorine pesticide; Prenatal exposure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Body Height / drug effects
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Child Development / drug effects*
  • Chlordecone / adverse effects
  • Chlordecone / analysis*
  • Chlordecone / blood
  • Endocrine Disruptors / adverse effects
  • Endocrine Disruptors / analysis*
  • Endocrine Disruptors / blood
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / chemistry
  • Food Contamination / analysis
  • Guadeloupe
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Maternal Exposure / adverse effects
  • Milk, Human / chemistry
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / chemically induced*
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / physiopathology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Regression Analysis
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Chlordecone