Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are ubiquitous environmental contaminants that may influence growth and development.
We investigated the association between exposure to PBDEs via breast milk and anthropometric measurements in early childhood.
The Pregnancy Infection and Nutrition (PIN) Babies studies followed a cohort of North Carolina pregnant women and their children through 36 months of age. Breast milk samples obtained at 3 months postpartum were analyzed for PBDEs. We collected height and weight records from well-baby doctor visits and also measured children during study visits (n = 246 children with > 1,400 anthropometric measurements). We assessed the relationship between breast milk concentrations of five PBDE congeners-BDEs 28, 47, 99, 100, and 153-and child's weight-for-age, height-for-age, and weight-for-height z-scores (WAZ, HAZ, and WHZ, respectively), adjusting for age; maternal age, race, prepregnancy BMI; parity; smoking during pregnancy; and breastfeeding, and stratifying by sex.
Overall, PBDE exposures via breast milk were not associated with early-life anthropometric measures in the PIN Babies cohort. When stratified by sex, PBDEs in milk were inversely associated with WHZ for boys; however, associations did not follow a consistent pattern across the concentration gradient and were imprecisely estimated. Among girls, PBDEs tended to be associated with increased WHZ except for BDE-153, which was inversely associated with WHZ, though all estimates were imprecisely estimated.
We observed little evidence of associations between early-life PBDE exposures via breast milk and anthropometric measurements overall; however, our results prompt the need for sex-specific investigations in larger cohorts.
Hoffman K, Mendez M, Siega-Riz AM, Herring AH, Sjödin A, Daniels JL. 2016. Lactational exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers and its relation to early childhood anthropometric measurements. Environ Health Perspect 124:1656-1661; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/EHP201.