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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(5), 495; doi:10.3390/ijerph13050495

Combined Effects of Prenatal Exposures to Environmental Chemicals on Birth Weight

1
Environmental Risk and Health, Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO), 2400 Mol, Belgium
2
Department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, University of Antwerp, 2610 Wilrijk, Belgium
3
Interuniversity Institute for Biostatistics and Statistical Bioinformatics, Hasselt University, 3590 Diepenbeek, Belgium
4
Department of Public Health, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium; FWO Research Foundation, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
5
Department of Health, Provincial Institute for Hygiene, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium
6
Department of Analytical, Environmental and Geochemistry (AEGC), Vrije Universiteit Brussel, 1040 Brussels, Belgium
7
Centre for Environmental Sciences, Hasselt University, 3590 Diepenbeek, Belgium
8
Department of Public Health & Primary Care, Leuven University, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
9
Department Sociology, Faculty of Political and Social Sciences, University of Antwerp, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium
10
Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Antwerp, 2610 Wilrijk, Belgium
11
Department of Environmental Medicine, University of Southern Denmark, 5230 Odense, Denmark
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Wim Passchier and Luc Hens
Received: 22 September 2015 / Revised: 2 May 2016 / Accepted: 4 May 2016 / Published: 12 May 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cumulative and Integrated Health Impact Assessment)
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Abstract

Prenatal chemical exposure has been frequently associated with reduced fetal growth by single pollutant regression models although inconsistent results have been obtained. Our study estimated the effects of exposure to single pollutants and mixtures on birth weight in 248 mother-child pairs. Arsenic, copper, lead, manganese and thallium were measured in cord blood, cadmium in maternal blood, methylmercury in maternal hair, and five organochlorines, two perfluorinated compounds and diethylhexyl phthalate metabolites in cord plasma. Daily exposure to particulate matter was modeled and averaged over the duration of gestation. In single pollutant models, arsenic was significantly associated with reduced birth weight. The effect estimate increased when including cadmium, and mono-(2-ethyl-5-carboxypentyl) phthalate (MECPP) co-exposure. Combining exposures by principal component analysis generated an exposure factor loaded by cadmium and arsenic that was associated with reduced birth weight. MECPP induced gender specific effects. In girls, the effect estimate was doubled with co-exposure of thallium, PFOS, lead, cadmium, manganese, and mercury, while in boys, the mixture of MECPP with cadmium showed the strongest association with birth weight. In conclusion, birth weight was consistently inversely associated with exposure to pollutant mixtures. Chemicals not showing significant associations at single pollutant level contributed to stronger effects when analyzed as mixtures. View Full-Text
Keywords: endocrine disruptors; mixtures; principal component analysis; regression analysis; birth outcome; epidemiology; biomonitoring; cord blood endocrine disruptors; mixtures; principal component analysis; regression analysis; birth outcome; epidemiology; biomonitoring; cord blood
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Govarts, E.; Remy, S.; Bruckers, L.; Den Hond, E.; Sioen, I.; Nelen, V.; Baeyens, W.; Nawrot, T.S.; Loots, I.; Van Larebeke, N.; Schoeters, G. Combined Effects of Prenatal Exposures to Environmental Chemicals on Birth Weight. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 495.

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