Prenatal and Postnatal PCB-153 and p,p’-DDE Exposures and Behavior Scores at 5-9 Years of Age among Children in Greenland and Ukraine.


BACKGROUND: Studies have reported some evidence of adverse effects of organochlorine exposures on child development, but the results have been inconsistent, and few studies have evaluated associations with child behavior. OBJECTIVE: We investigated the association between prenatal and early-life exposures to 2,2′,4,4′,5,5′-hexachlorobiphenyl (PCB-153) and 1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)-ethylene (p,p’-DDE) and behaviors in children between 5 and 9 y of age. METHODS: In the Biopersistent organochlorines in diet and human fertility: Epidemiologic studies of time to pregnancy and semen quality in Inuit and European populations (INUENDO) cohort, consisting of mother-child pairs from Greenland and Ukraine (n=1,018), maternal serum PCB-153 and p,p’-DDE concentrations were measured during pregnancy, and cumulative postnatal exposures during the first 12 months after delivery were estimated using a pharmacokinetic model. Parents completed the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), and children’s behaviors were dichotomized as abnormal (high) versus normal/borderline for five SDQ subscales and the total difficulties score. RESULTS: The total difficulties score, an overall measure of abnormal behavior, was not clearly associated with pre- or postnatal exposures to PCB-153 or to p,p’-DDE. However, pooled adjusted odds ratios (ORs) for high conduct problem scores with a doubling of exposure were 1.19 (95% CI: 0.99, 1.42) and 1.16 (95% CI: 0.96, 1.41) for pre- and postnatal PCB-153, respectively, and 1.25 (95% CI: 1.04, 1.51) and 1.24 (95% CI: 1.01, 1.51) for pre- and postnatal p,p’-DDE, respectively. Corresponding ORs for high hyperactivity scores were 1.24 (95% CI: 0.94, 1.62) and 1.08 (95% CI: 0.81, 1.45) for pre- and postnatal PCB-153, respectively, and 1.43 (95% CI: 1.06, 1.92) and 1.27 (95% CI: 0.93, 1.73) for pre- and postnatal p,p’-DDE, respectively. CONCLUSION: Prenatal and early postnatal exposures to p,p’-DDE and PCB-153 were associated with a higher prevalence of abnormal scores for conduct and hyperactivity at 5-9 y of age in our study population. These findings provide further support for the importance of minimizing organochlorine exposures to young children and to women of childbearing age.