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Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and thyroid hormones in cord blood

Ding, Guodong, Yu, Jing, Chen, Limei, Wang, Caifeng, Zhou, Yijun, Hu, Yi, Shi, Rong, Zhang, Yan, Cui, Chang, Gao, Yu, Tian, Ying, Liu, Fang
Environmental pollution 2017 v.229 pp. 489-495
blood serum, confidence interval, humans, lipids, maternal exposure, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, pregnant women, thyroid function, thyroid hormones, thyroxine, China
Human exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) has been increasing over the last three decades in China and around the world. Animal studies suggest that PBDEs could reduce blood levels of thyroid hormones, but it is unclear whether PBDEs disrupt thyroid function in humans. We used data from a prospective birth cohort of 123 pregnant women who were enrolled between September 2010 and March 2011 in Shandong, China. We measured the concentrations of eight PBDE congeners (n = 106) and five thyroid hormones (n = 107) in cord serum samples. We examined the relationship between prenatal exposure to PBDEs and thyroid function (n = 90). Median concentrations of BDEs 47, 99, 100, and 153 (detection frequencies > 75%) were 3.96, 8.27, 3.31, and 1.89 ng/g lipid, respectively. A 10-fold increase in BDE-99 and Σ4 PBDEs (the sum of BDEs 47, 99, 100, and 153) concentrations was associated with a 0.41 μg/dL (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.10 to 0.72) and 0.37 μg/dL (95% CI: 0.06 to 0.68) increase in total thyroxine levels (TT4), respectively. No associations were found between other individual congeners and any of the five thyroid hormones. Our study suggests that prenatal exposure to PBDEs may be associated with higher TT4 in cord blood. Given the inconsistent findings across existing studies, our results need to be confirmed in additional studies.