Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Pediatr. 2000 Apr;136(4):490-6.

Pubertal growth and development and prenatal and lactational exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls and dichlorodiphenyl dichloroethene.

Author information

  • 1Biostatistics Branch and the Epidemiology Branch, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, USA.



Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dichlorodiphenyl dichloroethene (DDE) are ubiquitous toxic environmental contaminants. Prenatal and early life exposures affect pubertal events in experimental animals. We studied whether prenatal or lactational exposures to background levels of PCBs or DDE were associated with altered pubertal growth and development in humans.


Follow-up of 594 children from an existing North Carolina cohort whose prenatal and lactational exposures had previously been measured. Height, weight, and stage of pubertal development were assessed through annual mail questionnaires.


Height of boys at puberty increased with transplacental exposure to DDE, as did weight adjusted for height; adjusted means for those with the highest exposures (maternal concentration 4+ ppm fat) were 6.3 cm taller and 6.9 kg larger than those with the lowest (0 to 1 ppm). There was no effect on the ages at which pubertal stages were attained. Lactational exposures to DDE had no apparent effects; neither did transplacental or lactational exposure to PCBs. Girls with the highest transplacental PCB exposures were heavier for their heights than other girls by 5.4 kg, but differences were significant only if the analysis was restricted to white girls.


Prenatal exposures at background levels may affect body size at puberty.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center