Exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) during prenatal and postnatal life has been extensively studied in relation to adverse health effects in children.
The aim was to identify determinants of the concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), brominated flame retardants (polybrominated diphenyl ethers, PBDEs; polybrominated biphenyl, PBB), and organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) in blood samples from pregnant women and children in The Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa).
Blood samples were collected from two independent subsamples within MoBa; a group of women (n=96) enrolled in mid-pregnancy during the years 2002-2008 and a group of 3 year old children (n=99) participating during 2010-2011. PCB congeners (74, 99, 138, 153, 180, 170, 194, 209, 105, 114, 118, 156, 157, 167, and 189), brominated flame retardants (PBDE-28, 47, 99, 100, 153, 154, and PBB-153), as well as the OCPs hexachlorobenzene (HCB), oxychlordane, 4,4'dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), and 4,4'dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) were measured in both pregnant women and children.
Age, low parity, and low pre-pregnant BMI were the most important determinants of increased plasma concentrations of POPs in pregnant women. In 3 year old children, prolonged breastfeeding duration was a major determinant of increased POP concentrations. Estimated dietary exposure to PCBs during pregnancy was positively associated with plasma concentrations in 3 year old children, but not in pregnant women. Plasma concentrations were approximately 40% higher in children compared to pregnant women.
Several factors associated with exposure and toxicokinetics, i.e. accumulation, excretion and transfer via breastmilk of POPs were the main predictors of POP levels in pregnant women and children. Diet, which is the main exposure source for these compounds in the general population, was found to predict PCB levels only among children. For the PBDEs, for which non-dietary sources are more important, toxicokinetic factors appeared to have less predictive impact.
Inadequate iodine intake has been identified in populations considered iodine replete for decades. The objective of the current study is to evaluate urinary iodine concentration (UIC) and the probability of adequate iodine intake in subgroups of the Norwegian population defined by age, life stage and vegetarian dietary practice. In a cross-sectional survey, we assessed the probability of adequate iodine intake by two 24-h food diaries and UIC from two fasting morning spot urine samples in 276 participants. The participants included children (n = 47), adolescents (n = 46), adults (n = 71), the elderly (n = 23), pregnant women (n = 45), ovo-lacto vegetarians (n = 25), and vegans (n = 19). In all participants combined, the median (95% CI) UIC was 101 (90, 110) µg/L, median (25th, 75th percentile) calculated iodine intake was 112 (77, 175) µg/day and median (25th, 75th percentile) estimated usual iodine intake was 101 (75, 150) µg/day. According to WHOs criteria for evaluation of median UIC, iodine intake was inadequate in the elderly, pregnant women, vegans and non-pregnant women of childbearing age. Children had the highest (82%) and vegans the lowest (14%) probability of adequate iodine intake according to reported food and supplement intakes. This study confirms the need for monitoring iodine intake and status in nationally representative study samples in Norway.
Department of Environmental Exposure and Epidemiology, Domain of Infection Control and Environmental Health, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, P.O. Box 4404, Nydalen, NO-0403, Oslo, Norway. AnneLise.Brantsaeter@fhi.no.
Preterm delivery increases the risk of neonatal morbidity and mortality. Studies suggest that maternal diet may affect the prevalence of preterm delivery. The aim of this study was to assess whether maternal intakes of seafood and marine long chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCn-3PUFA) from supplements were associated with preterm delivery.
The study population included 67,007 women from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study. Maternal food and supplement intakes were assessed by a validated self-reported food frequency questionnaire in mid-pregnancy. Information about gestational duration was obtained from the Medical Birth Registry of Norway. We used Cox regression to estimate hazard ratios (HR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) for associations between total seafood, lean fish, fatty fish, and LCn-3PUFA intakes and preterm delivery. Preterm was defined as any onset of delivery before gestational week 37, and as spontaneous or iatrogenic deliveries and as preterm delivery at early, moderate, and late preterm gestations.
Lean fish constituted 56%, fatty fish 34% and shellfish 10% of seafood intake. Any intake of seafood above no/rare intake (>5 g/d) was associated with lower prevalence of preterm delivery. Adjusted HRs were 0.76 (CI: 0.66, 0.88) for 1-2 servings/week (20-40 g/d), 0.72 (CI: 0.62, 0.83) for 2-3 servings/week (40-60 g/d), and 0.72 (CI: 0.61, 0.85) for =3 servings/week (>60 g/d), p-trend
We investigated whether prenatal exposure from the maternal diet to the toxicants polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dioxins is associated with the development of immune-related diseases in childhood. Children participating in BraMat, a sub-cohort of the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa), were followed in the three first years of life using annual questionnaires (0-3years; n=162, 2-3years; n=180), and blood parameters were examined at three years of age (n=114). The maternal intake of the toxicants was calculated using a validated food frequency questionnaire from MoBa. Maternal exposure to PCBs and dioxins was found to be associated with an increased risk of wheeze and more frequent upper respiratory tract infections. Furthermore, maternal exposure to PCBs and dioxins was found to be associated with reduced antibody response to a measles vaccine. No associations were found between prenatal exposure and immunophenotype data, allergic sensitization and vaccine-induced antibody responses other than measles. Our results suggest that prenatal dietary exposure to PCBs and dioxins may increase the risk of wheeze and the susceptibility to infectious diseases in early childhood.
Methyl mercury (MeHg) is a well-known neurotoxin and evidence suggests that also low level exposure may affect prenatal neurodevelopment. Uncertainty exists as to whether the maternal MeHg burden in Norway might affect child neurodevelopment.
To evaluate the association between prenatal mercury exposure, maternal seafood consumption and child language and communication skills at age five.
The study sample comprised 38,581 mother-child pairs in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study. Maternal mercury blood concentration in gestational week 17 was analysed in a sub-sample of 2239 women. Prenatal mercury exposure from maternal diet was calculated from a validated FFQ answered in mid-pregnancy. Mothers reported children's language and communications skills at age five by a questionnaire including questions from the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ), the Speech and Language Assessment Scale (SLAS) and the Twenty Statements about Language-Related Difficulties (language 20). We performed linear regression analyses adjusting for maternal characteristics, nutritional status and socioeconomic factors.
Median maternal blood mercury concentration was 1.03µg/L, dietary mercury exposure was 0.15µg/kgbw/wk, and seafood intake was 217g/wk. Blood mercury concentrations were not associated with any language and communication scales. Increased dietary mercury exposure was significantly associated with improved SLAS scores when mothers had a seafood intake below 400g/wk in the adjusted analysis. Sibling matched analysis showed a small significant adverse association between those above the 90th percentile dietary mercury exposure and the SLAS scores. Maternal seafood intake during pregnancy was positively associated with the language and communication scales.
Low levels of prenatal mercury exposure were positively associated with language and communication skills at five years. However, the matched sibling analyses suggested an adverse association between mercury and child language skills in the highest exposure group. This indicates that prenatal low level mercury exposure still needs our attention.
Prenatal methylmercury (MeHg) exposure and its possible neurodevelopmental effects in susceptible children are of concern. Studies of MeHg exposure and negative health outcomes have shown conflicting results and it has been suggested that co-exposure to other contaminants and/or nutrients in fish may confound the effect of MeHg. Our objective was to examine the association between prenatal exposure to MeHg and language and communication development at three years, adjusting for intake of fish, n-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LCPUFAs) and co-exposure to dioxins and dioxin like polychlorinated biphenyls (dl-PCBs). We used data from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa) collected between 2002 and 2008. The study sample consisted of 46,750 mother-child pairs. MeHg exposure was calculated from reported fish intake during pregnancy by a FFQ in mid-pregnancy. Children's language and communication skills were measured by maternal report on the Dale and Bishop grammar rating and the Ages and Stages communication scale (ASQ). We estimated odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) using logistic regressions. Median MeHg exposure was 1.3µg/day, corresponding to 0.14µg/kgbw/week. An exposure level above the 90th percentile (>2.6µg/day, >0.29µg/kgbw/week) was defined as the high MeHg exposure. Results indicated an association between high MeHg exposure and unintelligible speech with an adjusted OR 2.22 (1.31, 3.72). High MeHg exposure was also associated with weaker communication skills adjusted OR 1.33 (1.03, 1.70). Additional adjustment for fish intake strengthened the associations, while adjusting for PCBs and n-3 LCPUFA from diet or from supplements had minor impact. In conclusion, significant associations were found between prenatal MeHg exposure above the 90th percentile and delayed language and communication skills in a generally low exposed population.