Prenatal exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals and birth weight-A prospective cohort study

J Environ Sci Health A Tox Hazard Subst Environ Eng. 2016 Jan 28;51(2):178-185. doi: 10.1080/10934529.2015.1087753. Epub 2015 Nov 25.


Prenatal exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals may affect fetal development through disruption of hormonal actions and epigenetic modifications, potentially predisposing individuals to later on-set health risks, such as obesity. The objective of this study was to determine associations between biological exposure markers of various endocrine disrupting chemicals and birth weight in a newly established, prospective mother-child cohort in the Netherlands. Birth weight (n = 91) was obtained from birth records, and exposure to dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE), three di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) metabolites, polychlorinated biphenyl-153, perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) was determined in cord plasma. For DDE, exposure was also measured in breast milk. Linear regression analysis was used to determine associations between compounds and birth weight, which were stratified for gender and adjusted for a priori defined covariates. Increased exposure to DDE was associated with lower birth weight in boys (>95.89 ng L-1, -325.9 g, 95% CI -634.26 to -17.56), whereas in girls a tendency towards a higher birth weight was observed. Lower birth weights for boys were also observed for high exposure to MECPP, and to a certain extent also for PFOA. MEHHP and PFOS exposure on the other hand were associated with higher birth weights in boys. In girls no effects were observed for these compounds. It can be concluded that prenatal exposure to DDE, perfluorinated alkyl acids, and phthalates was associated with changes in birth weight in this population. Associations were gender specific, and appeared to be non-linear. Since the population was relatively small, results should be interpreted with caution.

Keywords: Birth weight; early life exposure; endocrine disruptors.