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Pediatr Res. 2000 May;47(5):598-601.

Parental smoking and neonatal serum levels of polychlorinated biphenyls and hexachlorobenzene.

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  • 1Zentrum für Kinderheilkunde, Heinrich-Heine-Universität, Düsseldorf, Germany.


Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) and hexachlorobenzene (HCB) are ubiquitous compounds that have tumor-promoting properties if applied together with tobacco-specific carcinogens. It was the purpose of the present study to investigate whether parental smoking by itself will increase the prenatal uptake of such organochloric compounds. With the informed consent of the parents, blood samples were taken from 80 full-term neonates before the first oral feeding. Six PCB congeners (PCB 28, 52, 101, 138, 153, and 180) and HCB were analyzed with capillary gas chromatography. Information about parental smoking behavior, the geographic origin of the parents, and their actual and previous working places was recorded. We composed three study groups for statistical analyses: active smoking mothers (n = 12), passive smoking mothers (n = 33), and nonsmoking families (n = 35). Neonates born to active smoking mothers had the highest PCB and HCB concentrations compared with children of passive or nonsmoking mothers. These differences were statistically significant (p < 0.01) in the cases of PCB 138, total PCB, and HCB. Newborns of passive smoking mothers had higher PCB and HCB concentrations than children of nonsmoking families but lower values than those of active smoking mothers. These differences were statistically significant for all compounds with the exception of PCB 180. It is concluded that active and passive maternal smoking increases the neonatal burden with PCB and HCB.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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