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Environ Health Perspect. 2011 Sep;119(9):1339-44. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1003102. Epub 2011 Apr 28.

Dioxin exposure and age of pubertal onset among Russian boys.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. susan.korrick@channing.harvard.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Animal data demonstrate associations of dioxin, furan, and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) exposures with altered male gonadal maturation. It is unclear whether these associations apply to human populations.

OBJECTIVES:

We investigated the association of dioxins, furans, PCBs, and corresponding toxic equivalent (TEQ) concentrations with pubertal onset among boys in a dioxin-contaminated region.

METHODS:

Between 2003 and 2005, 499 boys 8-9 years of age were enrolled in a longitudinal study in Chapaevsk, Russia. Pubertal onset [stage 2 or higher for genitalia (G2+) or testicular volume (TV) > 3 mL] was assessed annually between ages 8 and 12 years. Serum levels at enrollment were analyzed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. We used Cox proportional hazards models to assess age at pubertal onset as a function of exposure adjusted for potential confounders. We conducted sensitivity analyses excluding boys with pubertal onset at enrollment.

RESULTS:

The median (range) total serum TEQ concentration was 21 (4-175) pg/g lipid, approximately three times higher than values in European children. At enrollment, boys were generally healthy and normal weight (mean body mass index, 15.9 kg/m2), with 30% having entered puberty by G2+ and 14% by TV criteria. Higher dioxin TEQs were associated with later pubertal onset by TV (hazard ratio = 0.68, 95% confidence interval, 0.49-0.95 for the highest compared with the lowest quartile). Similar associations were observed for 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin and dioxin concentrations for TV but not G2+. Results were robust to sensitivity analyses.

CONCLUSIONS:

Findings support an association of higher peripubertal serum dioxin TEQs and concentrations with later male pubertal onset reflected in delayed testicular maturation.

PMID:
21527364
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3230396
Free PMC Article
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