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Am J Epidemiol. 2011 Oct 15;174(8):885-92. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwr212. Epub 2011 Aug 30.

Association of prenatal exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers and infant birth weight.

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Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94704, USA.


Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are a class of persistent compounds that have been used as flame retardants in vehicles, household furnishings, and consumer electronics. This study examined whether concentrations of PBDEs in maternal serum during pregnancy were associated with infant birth weight, length, head circumference, and length of gestation. Participants were pregnant women (n = 286) enrolled in the Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas (CHAMACOS) Study, a longitudinal cohort study of low-income, predominantly Mexican families living in the Salinas Valley, California. Blood samples were collected near the 26th week of pregnancy in 1999-2000, and concentrations of 10 PBDE congeners (BDE-17, -28, -47, -66, -85, -99, -100, -153, -154, and -183) were measured. Multiple linear regression models were used to investigate the association of lipid-adjusted, log(10)-transformed PBDE concentrations and birth outcome. In adjusted analyses, negative associations with birth weight were seen with BDE-47 (β = -115 g, 95% confidence interval (CI): -229, -2), BDE-99 (β = -114 g, 95% CI: -225, -4), and BDE-100 (β = -122 g, 95% CI: -235, -9). These findings were diminished slightly and were no longer statistically significant when maternal weight gain was included in the models. PBDE congeners were not associated with birth length, head circumference, or gestational duration.

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