Exposure to dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) during pregnancy and breastfeeding may result in adverse health effects in children. Prenatal exposure is determined by the concentrations of dioxins and PCBs in maternal blood, which reflect the body burden obtained by long term dietary exposure. The aims of this study were (1) to describe dietary exposure and important dietary sources to dioxins and PCBs in a large group of pregnant women and (2) to identify maternal characteristics associated with high dietary exposure to dioxins and PCBs. Dietary exposure to dioxins (sum of toxic equivalents (TEQs) from dioxin-like (dl) compounds) and PCB-153 in 83,524 pregnant women (gestational weeks 17-22) who participated in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa) during the years 2002-2009 was calculated based on a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) and a database of dioxin and PCB concentrations in Norwegian food. The median (interquartile range, IQR) intake of PCB-153 (marker of ndl-PCBs) was 0.81 (0.77) ng/kg bw/day. For dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs, the median (IQR) intake was 0.56 (0.37) pg TEQ/kg bw/day. Moreover, 2.3% of the participants had intakes exceeding the tolerable weekly intake (TWI) of 14pg TEQ/kg bw/week. Multiple regression analysis showed that dietary exposure was positively associated with maternal age, maternal education, weight gain during pregnancy, being a student, and alcohol consumption during pregnancy and negatively associated with pre-pregnancy BMI and smoking. A high dietary exposure to PCB-153 or dl-compounds (TEQ) was mainly explained by the consumption of seagull eggs and/or pate with fish liver and roe. Women who according to Norwegian recommendations avoid these food items generally do not have dietary exposure above the tolerable intake of dioxins and dl-PCBs.
Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), Barcelona, Spain; Division of Environmental Medicine, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway; Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, Spain. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maternal diet not only provides essential nutrients to the developing fetus but is also a source of prenatal exposure to environmental contaminants. We investigated the association between dietary intake of dioxins and PCBs during pregnancy and birth size. The study included 50,651 women from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa). Dietary information was collected by FFQs and intake estimates were calculated by combining food consumption and food concentration of dioxins, dioxin-like PCBs and non-dioxin-like PCBs. We used multivariable regression models to estimate the association between dietary intake of dioxins and PCBs and fetal growth. The contribution of fish and seafood intake during pregnancy was 41% for dietary dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs and 49% for dietary non-dioxin-like PCBs. Further stratified analysis by quartiles of seafood intake during pregnancy was conducted. We found an inverse dose-response association between dietary intake of dioxins and PCBs and fetal growth after adjustment for confounders. Newborns of mothers in the upper quartile of dioxin and dioxin-like PCBs intake had 62g lower birth weight (95% CI: -73, -50), 0.26cm shorter birth length (95% CI: -0.31, -0.20) and 0.10cm shorter head circumference (95% CI: -0.14, -0.06) than newborns of mothers in the lowest quartile of intake. Similar negative associations for intake of dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs were found after excluding women with intakes above the tolerable weekly intake (TWI=14pg TEQ/kg bw/week). The negative association of dietary dioxins and PCBs with fetal growth was weaker as seafood intake was increasing. No association was found between dietary dioxin and PCB intake and the risk for small-for-gestational age neonate. In conclusion, dietary intakes of dioxins and PCBs during pregnancy were negatively associated with fetal growth, even at intakes below the TWI.
Background: Severe iodine deficiency in pregnancy has major effects on child neurodevelopment, but less is known about the potential consequences of mild-to-moderate deficiency and iodine supplement use.Objective: We explored the associations between maternal iodine intake and child neurodevelopment at 3 y of age and the potential impact of maternal intake of iodine from supplements on the same outcomes.Methods: This population-based prospective observational study included 48,297 mother-child pairs recruited during pregnancy from 2002 to 2008. Maternal iodine intake was calculated based on a validated food-frequency questionnaire answered during midpregnancy that covered mean intake since the beginning of pregnancy. Associations between iodine intake and maternal-reported child language and motor development and behavior problems were explored by multivariable regression analyses.Results: In 33,047 mother-child pairs, excluding iodine supplement users, maternal iodine intake was associated with child language delay (P = 0.024), externalizing and internalizing behavior problems (both P 1.5 SD, and 16% (95% CI: 10%, 21%) of the cases of internalizing behavior problems >1.5 SD. In 48,297 mother-child pairs, including iodine supplement users, we found no protective effects of supplemental iodine during pregnancy on neurodevelopment.Conclusions: Maternal iodine intake below the Estimated Average Requirement during pregnancy was associated with symptoms of child language delay, behavior problems, and reduced fine motor skills at 3 y of age. The results showed no evidence of a protective effect of iodine supplementation during pregnancy.