Journal Article

Maternal Serum Levels of Polychlorinated Biphenyls and 1,1-Dichloro-2,2-bis(<i>p</i>-chlorophenyl)ethylene (DDE) and Time to Pregnancy

Dionne C. Gesink Law, Mark A. Klebanoff, John W. Brock, David B. Dunson and Matthew P. Longnecker

in American Journal of Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 162, issue 6, pages 523-532
Published in print September 2005 | ISSN: 0002-9262
Published online September 2005 | e-ISSN: 1476-6256 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwi240
Maternal Serum Levels of Polychlorinated Biphenyls and 1,1-Dichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)ethylene (DDE) and Time to Pregnancy

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Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), once used widely in transformers and other applications, and 1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)ethylene (DDE), the main metabolite of the pesticide 1,1,1-trichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)ethane (DDT), are hormonally active agents. Changes in menstrual cycle functioning associated with PCBs and DDE, and increased odds of spontaneous abortion associated with DDE, suggest that these compounds could affect fertility. The authors investigated the association between PCB and DDE exposure and time to pregnancy by using serum levels measured in 390 pregnant women in the Collaborative Perinatal Project enrolled at 12 study centers in the United States from 1959 to 1965. They estimated adjusted fecundability odds ratios by using Cox proportional hazards modeling for discrete time data. Compared with time to pregnancy for women in the lowest exposure category (PCBs <1.24 μg/liter, DDE <14 μg/liter), time to pregnancy increased for women in the highest exposure category in terms of both PCBs (fecundability odds ratio for PCBs ≥5.00 μg/liter = 0.65, 95% confidence interval: 0.36, 1.18) and DDE (fecundability odds ratio for DDE ≥60 μg/liter = 0.65, 95% confidence interval: 0.32, 1.31). Overall, time to pregnancy increased with increasing serum PCB levels but was less suggestive of an association with DDE. Both trends were imprecise and attenuated when expressed on a lipid basis. Overall, evidence of an association between PCB or DDE exposure and time to pregnancy was weak and inconclusive.

Keywords: dichlorodiphenyl dichloroethylene; fertility; fertilization; hydrocarbons, chlorinated; polychlorinated biphenyls; pregnancy; reproduction; CI, confidence interval; DDE, 1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)ethylene; DDT, 1,1,1-trichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)ethane; OR, odds ratio; PCB, polychlorinated biphenyl

Journal Article.  6369 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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