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Environ Int. 2010 Oct;36(7):728-35. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2010.05.007. Epub 2010 Jun 9.

Impact of non-occupational exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers on menstruation characteristics of reproductive-age females.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Neipu, 912 Pingtung County, Taiwan.


Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) have documented effects on thyroid functions and rodent behavior in vivo. Epidemiological studies, however, have revealed only limited information about associations between PBDE exposure and menstruation characteristics. Our goal was to examine whether high breast milk PBDE levels in reproductive-age females lead to interference with menstruation characteristics. We analyzed 15 PBDE congeners in 46 breast milk samples. Fifteen PBDE congeners (BDE-15, 28, 47, 49, 99, 100, 153, 154, 183, 196, 197, 203, 207, 208, and 209) were analyzed using a gas chromatograph equipped with a high resolution mass spectrometer. The mean sum of PBDEs (SigmaPBDEs) in breast milk was 3.42 ng/g lipid. Women's age at menarche was not correlated with breast milk PBDE levels. Increased BDE-208 and 209 levels were significantly associated with the prolonged length of average and the longest menstrual cycle independent of age, pre-pregnant BMI, and parity. Higher concentrations of SigmaPBDEs and the higher brominated PBDEs from BDE-183 to 209, except 197, were significantly linked to women whose menstruation periods were still coming irregularly at the sampling time. Age-adjusted odds ratios (ORs) of BDE-153, 183, 207, 208, and SigmaPBDEs were significantly higher in women with length of average menstrual cycle >32 days, compared to the control. Women whose menstruation periods still came irregularly when they were 18 years old had higher age-adjusted ORs of BDE-207, 208, 209, and SigmaPBDEs than those whose periods came regularly at the same age. Although SigmaPBDEs and certain higher brominated PBDEs appear to have potential to prolong length of average menstrual cycle and delay the age when menstruation periods begin coming regularly, these findings are not conclusive because our sample size is small and more scientific evidence is needed.

Copyright 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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