• Effect of environmental phthalate exposure on pregnancy duration and birth outcomes

      Polanska, Kinga; Ligocka, Danuta; Sobala, Wojciech; Hanke, Wojciech; Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Lodz, Poland (2016)
      Objectives: The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of phthalate exposure on pregnancy duration and birth outcomes based on the Polish Mother and Child Cohort (REPRO_PL). Material and Methods: Phthalate exposure was determined by measuring 11 phthalate metabolites (mono-ethyl phthalate (MEP), mono-iso-butyl phthalate (MiBP), mono-n-butyl phthalate (MnBP), 3OH-mono-n-butyl phthalate (OH-MnBP), mono-benzyl phthalate (MBzP), mono‑(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (MEHP), mono-(2-ethyl-5-hydroxyhexyl) phthalate (MEHHP), mono-(2-ethyl-5-oxohexyl) phthalate (MEOHP), mono-hydroxy-iso-nonyl phthalate (MHiNP), mono-oxo-iso-nonyl phthalate (MOiNP), and mono-n-octyl phthalate (MOP)) in the urine collected from 165 mothers during the third trimester of pregnancy by high performance liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS/MS). The following measures at birth were considered: gestational age, birth weight, length as well as head and chest circumference. Results: Pregnancy duration was inversely associated with natural log concentrations (μg/g creatinine) of MEP (standardized regression coefficient (β) = –0.2, p = 0.04) after adjustment for a variety of confounders. Significant impact of MOiNP on head circumference (β = –0.1, p = 0.05) was also observed. Conclusions: The study findings add further support to the hypothesis that phthalate exposure may be associated with shorter pregnancy duration and a decreased head circumference, and underscore importance of public health interventions to reduce that exposure.
    • Environmental Tobacco Smoke Exposure during Pregnancy and Child Neurodevelopment.

      Polanska, Kinga; Krol, Anna; Merecz-Kot, Dorota; Ligocka, Danuta; Mikolajewska, Karolina; Mirabella, Fiorino; Chiarotti, Flavia; Calamandrei, Gemma; Hanke, Wojciech; Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Łódź, Poland (2017-07-17)
      The developing fetus is especially vulnerable to environmental toxicants, including tobacco constituents. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure during pregnancy on child neurodevelopment within the first two years of life. The study population consisted of 461 non-smoking pregnant women (saliva cotinine level <10 ng/mL). Maternal passive smoking was assessed based on the cotinine level in saliva analyzed by the use of high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-ESI + MS/MS) and by questionnaire data. The cotinine cut-off value for passive smoking was established at 1.5 ng/mL (sensitivity 63%, specificity 71%). Psychomotor development was assessed in children at the age of one- and two-years using the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development. Approximately 30% of the women were exposed to ETS during pregnancy. The multivariate linear regression model indicated that ETS exposure in the 1st and the 2nd trimesters of pregnancy were associated with decreasing child language functions at the age of one (β = -3.0, p = 0.03, and β = -4.1, p = 0.008, respectively), and two years (β = -3.8, p = 0.05, and β = -6.3, p = 0.005, respectively). A negative association was found for cotinine level ≥1.5 ng/mL in the 2nd trimester of pregnancy and child cognition at the age of 2 (β = -4.6, p = 0.05), as well as cotinine levels ≥1.5 ng/mL in all trimesters of pregnancy and child motor abilities at two years of age (β = -3.9, p = 0.06, β = -5.3, p = 0.02, and β = -4.2, p = 0.05, for the 1st, the 2nd, and the 3rd trimester of pregnancy, respectively; for the 1st trimester the effect was of borderline statistical significance). This study confirmed that ETS exposure during pregnancy can have a negative impact on child psychomotor development within the first two years of life and underscore the importance of public health interventions aiming at reducing this exposure.
    • First steps toward harmonized human biomonitoring in Europe: demonstration project to perform human biomonitoring on a European scale.

      Den Hond, Elly; Govarts, Eva; Willems, Hanny; Smolders, Roel; Casteleyn, Ludwine; Kolossa-Gehring, Marike; Schwedler, Gerda; Seiwert, Margarete; Fiddicke, Ulrike; Castaño, Argelia; et al. (2015-03)
      For Europe as a whole, data on internal exposure to environmental chemicals do not yet exist. Characterization of the internal individual chemical environment is expected to enhance understanding of the environmental threats to health.
    • Fish consumption patterns and hair mercury levels in children and their mothers in 17 EU countries.

      Castaño, Argelia; Cutanda, Francisco; Esteban, Marta; Pärt, Peter; Navarro, Carmen; Gómez, Silvia; Rosado, Montserrat; López, Ana; López, Estrella; Exley, Karen; et al. (2015-02-06)
      The toxicity of methylmercury (MeHg) in humans is well established and the main source of exposure is via the consumption of large marine fish and mammals. Of particular concern are the potential neurodevelopmental effects of early life exposure to low-levels of MeHg. Therefore, it is important that pregnant women, children and women of childbearing age are, as far as possible, protected from MeHg exposure. Within the European project DEMOCOPHES, we have analyzed mercury (Hg) in hair in 1799 mother-child pairs from 17 European countries using a strictly harmonized protocol for mercury analysis. Parallel, harmonized questionnaires on dietary habits provided information on consumption patterns of fish and marine products. After hierarchical cluster analysis of consumption habits of the mother-child pairs, the DEMOCOPHES cohort can be classified into two branches of approximately similar size: one with high fish consumption (H) and another with low consumption (L). All countries have representatives in both branches, but Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Portugal and Sweden have twice as many or more mother-child pairs in H than in L. For Switzerland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia the situation is the opposite, with more representatives in L than H. There is a strong correlation (r=0.72) in hair mercury concentration between the mother and child in the same family, which indicates that they have a similar exposure situation. The clustering of mother-child pairs on basis of their fish consumption revealed some interesting patterns. One is that for the same sea fish consumption, other food items of marine origin, like seafood products or shellfish, contribute significantly to the mercury levels in hair. We conclude that additional studies are needed to assess and quantify exposure to mercury from seafood products, in particular. The cluster analysis also showed that 95% of mothers who consume once per week fish only, and no other marine products, have mercury levels 0.55μg/g. Thus, the 95th percentile of the distribution in this group is only around half the US-EPA recommended threshold of 1μg/g mercury in hair. Consumption of freshwater fish played a minor role in contributing to mercury exposure in the studied cohort. The DEMOCOPHES data shows that there are significant differences in MeHg exposure across the EU and that exposure is highly correlated with consumption of fish and marine products. Fish and marine products are key components of a healthy human diet and are important both traditionally and culturally in many parts of Europe. Therefore, the communication of the potential risks of mercury exposure needs to be carefully balanced to take into account traditional and cultural values as well as the potential health benefits from fish consumption. European harmonized human biomonitoring programs provide an additional dimension to national HMB programs and can assist national authorities to tailor mitigation and adaptation strategies (dietary advice, risk communication, etc.) to their country's specific requirements.