Combined effects of prenatal exposures to environmental chemicals on birth weight
Faculty of Social Sciences. Sociology
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences . Biomedical Sciences
International journal of environmental research and public health
, p. 1-19
University of Antwerp
Prenatal chemical exposure has been frequently associated with reduced fetal growth by single pollutant regression models although inconsistent results have been obtained. Our study estimated the effects of exposure to single pollutants and mixtures on birth weight in 248 mother-child pairs. Arsenic, copper, lead, manganese and thallium were measured in cord blood, cadmium in maternal blood, methylmercury in maternal hair, and five organochlorines, two perfluorinated compounds and diethylhexyl phthalate metabolites in cord plasma. Daily exposure to particulate matter was modeled and averaged over the duration of gestation. In single pollutant models, arsenic was significantly associated with reduced birth weight. The effect estimate increased when including cadmium, and mono-(2-ethyl-5-carboxypentyl) phthalate (MECPP) co-exposure. Combining exposures by principal component analysis generated an exposure factor loaded by cadmium and arsenic that was associated with reduced birth weight. MECPP induced gender specific effects. In girls, the effect estimate was doubled with co-exposure of thallium, PFOS, lead, cadmium, manganese, and mercury, while in boys, the mixture of MECPP with cadmium showed the strongest association with birth weight. In conclusion, birth weight was consistently inversely associated with exposure to pollutant mixtures. Chemicals not showing significant associations at single pollutant level contributed to stronger effects when analyzed as mixtures.