Maternal Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether (PBDE) Exposure and Thyroid Hormones in Maternal and Cord Sera: The HOME Study, Cincinnati, USA, Environ Health Perspect; DOI:10.1289/ehp.1408996, January 2016.
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) reduce blood concentrations of thyroid hormones in laboratory animals, but it is unclear whether PBDEs disrupt thyroid hormones in pregnant women or newborn infants.
We investigated the relationship between maternal PBDE levels and thyroid hormone concentrations in maternal and cord sera.
We used data from the Health Outcomes and Measures of the Environment (HOME) Study, a prospective birth cohort of 389 pregnant women in Cincinnati, Ohio, who were enrolled from 2003 through 2006 and delivered singleton infants. Maternal serum PBDE concentrations were measured at enrollment (16 ± 3 weeks of gestation). Thyroid hormone concentrations were measured in maternal serum at enrollment (n = 187) and in cord serum samples (n = 256).
Median maternal serum concentrations of BDEs 28 and 47 were 1.0 and 19.1 ng/g lipid, respectively. A 10-fold increase in BDEs 28 and 47 concentrations was associated with a 0.85-μg/dL [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.05, 1.64] and 0.82-μg/dL (95% CI: 0.12, 1.51) increase in maternal total thyroxine concentrations (TT4), respectively. Both congeners were also positively associated with maternal free thyroxine (FT4). We also observed positive associations between BDE-47 and maternal total and free triiodothyronine (TT3 and FT3). A 10-fold increase in BDE-28 was associated with elevated FT3 concentrations (β = 0.14 pg/mL; 95% CI: 0.02, 0.26). In contrast, maternal PBDE levels were not associated with thyroid hormone concentrations in cord serum.
These findings suggest that maternal PBDE exposure, particularly BDEs 28 and 47, are associated with maternal concentrations of T4 and T3 during pregnancy.
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