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In Utero DDT Exposure and Prevalence of Child

Warner, M*; Eskenazi, B*; Harley, K*; Bradman, A*; Fenster, L; Barr, D

doi: 10.1097/01.ede.0000276633.17503.88

*University of California, Berkeley, United States; †California Department of Health Services, United States; and ‡Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, United States.


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Overweight and obesity are major public health concerns worldwide. It has been hypothesized that in utero exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals, such as DDT, may play a role in the etiology of obesity. The Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas (CHAMACOS) study is a longitudinal birth cohort study of low-income Latinas living in an agricultural community in California. We examined the relation of in utero DDT and DDE exposure with prevalence of overweight at 24, 42, and 60 months.

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Material and Methods:

This analysis includes 282 CHAMACOS children who had maternal serum DDT/DDE levels and complete 24-, 42-, and 60-month follow-up data. In utero exposure to o,p′-DDT, p,p′-DDT, and p,p′-DDE was measured by ID-high-resolution mass spectrometry in maternal serum collected at 26 weeks gestation or delivery and reported as lipid-adjusted values (ng/g) and considered as either continuous (log10) or categorical variables (tertiles). At the 24-, 42-, and 60-month follow-ups, standing height (cm) and weight (g) were measured. Body mass index (BMI) was calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared. BMI-for-age percentiles were calculated for each child using 2000 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention growth charts. Overweight was defined as ≥95th percentile of the sex-specific BMI for age growth charts.

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At 24 months, 45 (16.0%) children were overweight. Overweight prevalence was inversely related with exposure to both p,p′-DDT [I: 1.55–9.09 ng/g, (20.2%); II: 9.10–23.2 ng/g, (14.9%); and III: 23.3–33.174 ng/g (12.8%)] and p,p′-DDE [I: 48.8–737.3 ng/g, (18.1%); II: 737.4–1717.9 ng/g, (18.1%); and III: 1735.2–159,303.3 ng/g, (11.7%)], with the highest exposure tertile having the lowest prevalence of overweight.

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The multivariate risk of overweight at 24, 42, and 60 months will be presented. To our knowledge, this is the first epidemiologic study of the relation of in utero DDT/DDE exposure and child overweight.

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.