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Reprod Toxicol. 2013 Jan;35:156-64. doi: 10.1016/j.reprotox.2012.10.013. Epub 2012 Nov 9.

Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), DDT metabolites and pregnancy outcomes.

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Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.


Organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) are persistent endocrine disruptors. OCPs cross the placenta; this prenatal exposure has been associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes. We investigated associations between prenatal exposure to OCPs and gestational age and birth weight in 600 infants born between 1960 and 1963. The primary OCP was 1,1,1-trichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)ethane (p,p'-DDT), its primary metabolite, 1,1'-dichloro-2,2'-bis(p-chlorophenyl)ethylene (p,p'-DDE) and the contaminant, 1,1,1-trichloro-2-(p-chlorophenyl)-2-(o-chlorophenyl)-ethane (o,p'-DDT). Regression analysis indicated that for each natural log unit increase in p,p'-DDT, birth weight increased by 274 g (95% CI: 122, 425) when controlling for p,p'-DDE and o,p'-DDT. At a given level of p,p'-DDT exposure, o,p'-DDT and p,p'-DDE were associated with decreased birth weight. p,p'-DDE was negatively associated with length of gestation, controlling for p,p'-DDT and o,p'-DDT. These findings suggest opposing associations between exposure to p,p'-DDT and p,p'-DDE and birth weight. We did not find evidence to support mediation by maternal thyroid hormone status nor that the association differed by sex.

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