Neurological condition in 18-month-old children perinatally exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls and dioxins

Early Hum Dev. 1995 Oct 2;43(2):165-76. doi: 10.1016/0378-3782(95)01674-0.


The neurological optimality of 418 Dutch children was evaluated at the age of 18 months, in order to determine whether prenatal and breast milk mediated exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dioxins affected neurological development. Half of the infants were breast-fed, the other half were formula-fed. PCB concentrations in cord and maternal plasma were used as a measure of prenatal exposure to PCBs. To measure postnatal exposure, PCB and dioxin congeners were determined in human milk and in formula milk. After adjusting for covariates, transplacental PCB exposure was negatively related to the neurological condition at 18 months. Although greater amounts of PCBs and dioxins are transferred via nursing than via placental passage, an effect of lactational exposure to PCBs and dioxins could not be detected. We even found a beneficial effect of breast-feeding on the fluency of movements. We conclude that transplacental PCB passage has a small negative effect on the neurological condition in 18-month-old toddlers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Dioxins / adverse effects*
  • Dioxins / analysis
  • Educational Status
  • Environmental Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Fathers
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Food
  • Milk, Human* / chemistry
  • Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / adverse effects*
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / analysis
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Regression Analysis


  • Dioxins
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls