Serum polychlorinated biphenyl and organochlorine insecticide concentrations in a Faroese birth cohort

Dana B. Barr, Pál Weihe, Mark D. Davis, Larry L. Needham, Philippe Grandjean

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    55 Citations (Scopus)


    A prospective birth cohort of 1022 participants was established in the Faroe Islands over a 21-month period during 1986-1987. We collected questionnaire data on potential persistent organic pollutant (POP) concentration predictors, such as duration of breastfeeding and blubber consumption. To assess the participants' exposure from in utero to 14 years of age to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and the insecticide p,p′-DDT and its primary degradate p,p′-DDE, we measured 37 PCB congeners and pesticides in 316 umbilical cord samples taken from participants at birth, in 124 serum samples collected from participants at approximately 7 years of age, and in 795 serum samples collected from participants at 14 years of age. Measurements of higher chlorination PCB congeners made on individuals' serum samples collected at 7 years and 14 years were highly correlated (typically r > 0.5, p > 0.01), although their concentrations at 7 years were generally two to three times higher than at 14 years. Similarly, umbilical cord PCB concentrations were correlated with PCB concentrations in both 7- and 14-year serum samples. Sex-specific differences in higher chlorination PCB and p,p′-DDE concentrations were found at 14 years but not at 7 years, although a sex interaction with blubber consumption and nursing duration was observed at both ages. Both duration of breastfeeding and consumption of blubber were significant predictors of serum ∑PCB concentrations at 7 and 14 years. Multivariate analyses showed that breastfeeding duration was the primary contributor to serum ∑PCB concentrations at 7 years, and blubber consumption was the primary contributor at 14 years. These data suggest that infant exposures from breastfeeding were sufficiently large so that continued exposures to PCBs, p,p′-DDT, and p,p′-DDE through the diet have not fully diluted their contribution to the ∑PCB and p,p′-DDE body burden of the children. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1167-1182
    Number of pages16
    Issue number7
    Early online date16 Sept 2005
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2006


    • Blubber
    • Breastfeeding
    • Children
    • DDE
    • Faroe Islands
    • Organochlorine
    • PCB
    • Serum


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