Associations of birth outcomes with maternal polybrominated diphenyl ethers and thyroid hormones during pregnancy.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Previous research has linked polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) exposure to poor birth outcomes and altered thyroid hormone levels.


We examined whether maternal PBDE serum levels were associated with infant birth weight (g), head circumference (cm), birth length (cm), and birth weight percentile for gestational age. We explored the potential for a mediating role of thyroid hormone levels.


During 2008-2010, we recruited 140 pregnant women in their third trimester as part of a larger clinical obstetrics study known as Healthy Pregnancy, Healthy Baby. Blood samples were collected during a routine prenatal clinic visit. Serum was analyzed for PBDEs, phenolic metabolites, and thyroid hormones. Birth outcome information was abstracted from medical records.


In unadjusted models, a two-fold increase in maternal BDE 153 was associated with an average decrease in head circumference of 0.32cm (95% CI: -0.53, -0.12); however, this association was attenuated after control for maternal risk factors. BDE 47 and 99 were similarly negatively associated but with 95% confidence intervals crossing the null. Associations were unchanged in the presence of thyroid hormones.


Our data suggest a potential deleterious association between maternal PBDE levels and infant head circumference; however, confirmatory studies are needed in larger sample sizes. A mediating role of thyroid hormones was not apparent.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Miranda, ML; Anthopolos, R; Wolkin, A; Stapleton, HM

Published Date

  • December 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 85 /

Start / End Page

  • 244 - 253

PubMed ID

  • 26431883

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC4648648

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1873-6750

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0160-4120

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.envint.2015.09.015


  • eng