Effects of prenatal PCB and dioxin background exposure on cognitive and motor abilities in Dutch children at school age

  • Hestien J.I. Vreugdenhil
    Affiliations
    Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, Erasmus University and University Hospital/Sophia Children's Hospital, Rotterdam, TNO Prevention and Health, Child Health Division, Leiden, (formerly the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Perinatal Nutrition and Development Unit, University of Groningen), Institute of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Perinatal Nutrition and Development Unit, University of Groningen, The Netherlands
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  • Caren I. Lanting
    Affiliations
    Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, Erasmus University and University Hospital/Sophia Children's Hospital, Rotterdam, TNO Prevention and Health, Child Health Division, Leiden, (formerly the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Perinatal Nutrition and Development Unit, University of Groningen), Institute of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Perinatal Nutrition and Development Unit, University of Groningen, The Netherlands
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  • Paul G.H. Mulder
    Affiliations
    Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, Erasmus University and University Hospital/Sophia Children's Hospital, Rotterdam, TNO Prevention and Health, Child Health Division, Leiden, (formerly the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Perinatal Nutrition and Development Unit, University of Groningen), Institute of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Perinatal Nutrition and Development Unit, University of Groningen, The Netherlands
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  • E.Rudy Boersma
    Affiliations
    Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, Erasmus University and University Hospital/Sophia Children's Hospital, Rotterdam, TNO Prevention and Health, Child Health Division, Leiden, (formerly the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Perinatal Nutrition and Development Unit, University of Groningen), Institute of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Perinatal Nutrition and Development Unit, University of Groningen, The Netherlands
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  • Nynke Weisglas-Kuperus
    Affiliations
    Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, Erasmus University and University Hospital/Sophia Children's Hospital, Rotterdam, TNO Prevention and Health, Child Health Division, Leiden, (formerly the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Perinatal Nutrition and Development Unit, University of Groningen), Institute of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Perinatal Nutrition and Development Unit, University of Groningen, The Netherlands
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      Abstract

      Objective: Our purpose was to evaluate whether effects of exposure to environmental levels of PCBs and dioxins on development in the Dutch cohort persist until school age. Study design: In the Dutch PCB/dioxin study, cognitive and motor abilities were assessed with the McCarthy Scales of Children's Abilities in children at school age. During infancy, half of this population was fully breast-fed for at least ≥6 weeks and the other half formula fed. Prenatal exposure to PCBs was defined as the sum of PCB118, 138, 153, and 180 in maternal and cord plasma. In breast milk, additional measurements of 17 dioxins, 6 dioxin-like PCBs, and 20 nondioxin-like PCBs were done. Results: Negative effects of prenatal PCB and dioxin exposure on cognitive and motor abilities were seen when parental and home characteristics were less optimal. These effects were not measurable in children raised in more optimal environments. Conclusions: .Neurotoxic effects of prenatal PCB and dioxin exposure may persist into school age, resulting in subtle cognitive and motor developmental delays. More optimal intellectual stimulation provided by a more advantageous parental and home environment may counteract these effects of prenatal exposure to PCBs and dioxins on cognitive and motor abilities. (J Pediatr 2002;140:48-56)

      Abbreviations:

      BF ( Breast-fed), FF ( Formula-fed), HOME ( Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment), IUPAC ( International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry), GCI ( General Cognitive Index), PCBs ( Polychlorinated biphenyls), ΣPCB ( Sum of PCBs IUPAC Nos. 118, 138, 153, and 180), PCDDs ( Polychlorinated dibenzo-p -dioxins), PCDFs ( Polychlorinated dibenzo-p -furans), TEF ( Toxic equivalence factor), TEQ ( Toxic equivalent), TTEQ ( Total TEQ: sum of the dioxin and dioxin-like PCB TEQs)
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