Relationship Between Prenatal Exposure to Polychlorinated Biphenyls and Birth Weight: A Systematic Analysis of Published Epidemiological Studies Through a Standardization of Biomonitoring Data

Impact of prenatal PCB exposure on birth weight was investigated in various children cohorts and findings of published studies show inconsistencies. Because a direct comparison of results obtained from different studies remains difficult, the “biological concentration-birth weight” relationship is not clearly established. The objective of this research was to perform a systematic analysis of published epidemiological data to reassess relationship between prenatal PCB exposure and low birth weight, using toxicokinetic considerations and a novel standardization procedure of biological concentration data across studies. A systematic analysis of 20 epidemiological studies published up to 2011 on this topic was conducted. This was achieved through a standardization of reported exposure data in terms of total PCBs per kg of lipids in maternal plasma. Systematic analysis of the “standardized biological concentration-birth weight” relationship across studies was then conducted through the application of Hill criteria. Combining results of all 20 reviewed studies did not allow to establish an association between prenatal exposure to PCBs at the described levels and abnormal birth weight (<2500g). Our approach provides a framework for the use of published data to establish “PCB biological concentration-response” relationships.

Author(s): Naïma El Majidi, Michèle Bouchard, Nathalie Gosselin, Gaétan Carrier

Year: October 1, 2012