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Pesticide Exposure of Pregnant Women in Guadeloupe: Ability of a Food Frequency Questionnaire to Estimate Blood Concentration of Chlordecone

Guldner, Laurence*†; Multigner, Luc; Heraud, Fanny; Monfort, Christine; Thomé, Jean Pierre§; Giusti, Arnaud§; Kadhel, Philippe; Cordier, Sylvaine

doi: 10.1097/
Abstracts: ISEE 21st Annual Conference, Dublin, Ireland, August 25–29, 2009: Oral Presentations

*InVS, Saint Maurice, France; †INSERM U625, Rennes, France; ‡Office of Scientific Support to Risk Assessment, French Food Safety Agency, Maisons-Alfort, France; §Laboratory of Animal Ecology and Ecotoxicology, CART, Liège University, Liège, Belgium; and ¶Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University Hospital of Pointe à Pitre, Pointe à Pitre, Guadeloupe, France.

Abstracts published in Epidemiology have been reviewed by the organizations of Epidemiology. Affliate Societies at whose meetings the abstracts have been accepted for presentation. These abstracts have not undergone review by the Editorial Board of Epidemiology.


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Background and Objective:

Chlordecone, an environmentally persistent organochlorine insecticide used intensively in banana culture in the French West Indies until 1993, has permanently polluted soils and contaminated foodstuffs. Consumption of contaminated food is the main source of exposure nowadays. Exposure indicators are required to assess its potential health effects today. We sought to validate an exposure indicator based on food intake as an alternative to blood measurements.

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We used a food frequency questionnaire completed by a sample of 194 pregnant women to estimate their dietary exposure to chlordecone and compared it to blood levels. In a first approach, chlordecone daily intake was estimated as the product of frequency of consumption of 214 foodstuffs, multiplied by their chlordecone content, and summed over all items. We then predicted individual blood chlordecone levels with empirical weight linear regression models based on frequency of food consumption and without contamination data.

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Mean blood chlordecone levels were 1.3 ng/mL (range: 0.5-13.2) among the 59% of subjects with detectable values. Mean per capita dietary intake of chlordecone was estimated at 3.3μ−1 (range: 0.1-22.2). Blood chlordecone levels were significantly correlated with food exposure predicted from the empirical weight models (r = 0.47, P <0.0001) and, to a lesser extent, with chlordecone intake estimated from food consumption and food contamination data (r = 0.16, P = 0.03).

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These results demonstrate that our food frequency questionnaire is able to estimate dietary chlordecone exposure. Estimates from empirical weight models correlated better with blood levels of chlordecone than did estimates from the dietary intake assessment.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.