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Reprod Toxicol. 2008 Feb;25(2):247-55. doi: 10.1016/j.reprotox.2007.11.008. Epub 2007 Nov 22.

Study of the relation between the incidence of uterine leiomyomas and the concentrations of PCB and DDT in Baltic gray seals.

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Department of Women's and Children's Health, Uppsala University, SE-751 85 Uppsala, Sweden.


Exposure to environmental contaminants is believed to be associated with the previously described decrease in the reproduction rate of Baltic gray seals. In the present study the prevalence of uterine leiomyomas was investigated in 257 Baltic gray seal females examined during 1973-2007, in relation to the levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) in Baltic biota, using an estimated exposure index. Additionally, the proliferative activity in leiomyomas, occurrence of corpora lutea, and blubber concentrations of PCB and DDT were investigated in a subset of females. Leiomyomas were only found in females 22-41 years old, at a prevalence of 65%. No differences in blubber concentrations of PCB or DDT were detected between the subset of leiomyoma-bearing females and reference females, but the estimated exposure index indicated that the PCB level in Baltic biota might be related to the leiomyoma prevalence in Baltic gray seal females.

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