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Environ Res. 2006 Jul;101(3):387-94. Epub 2005 Dec 13.

Estimations of past male and female serum concentrations of biomarkers of persistent organochlorine pollutants and their impact on fecundability estimates.

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  • 1Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and Psychiatric Epidemiology, Lund University Hospital, Lund 221 85, Sweden.


Persistent organochlorine pollutants (POPs) have been suggested to have negative effects on a number of hormonal systems. Several studies performed retrospectively have reported a possible association between POP exposure and fertility, measured as time to pregnancy (TTP). However, these studies lack biomarkers of exposure at the time when the women tried to conceive. It has previously been found that past female serum concentrations of 2,2',4,4',5,5'-hexachlorobiphenyl (CB-153) can be estimated using a complex decay model, assuming that the biological half-life is 5 years, the yearly environmental reduction of the compound has been 3% since 1976, and the reduction of body burden due to lactation is 20% for periods up to 6 months and 30% for periods exceeding 6 months. In the present study, it is established that the model is valid also for estimations of past male serum concentrations of CB-153. Furthermore, the complex decay model was found to be useful also for estimating past serum concentrations of 1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis (p-chlorophenyl)-ethylene (p,p'-DDE), assuming that the biological half-life of the compound is 8 years, the yearly reduction between 1971 and 1981 was 20% and after that 9%, and the reduction of body burden due to lactation is the same as that for CB-153. However, even though the estimated past serum concentrations of CB-153 and p,p'-DDE were found to be better proxy measures of actual past concentrations than current serum concentrations, there was little change in the rank order of the population investigated. Thus, the effect estimate for TTP was similar for both proxy measures when using categorized measures of exposure.

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