Lactational exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, and dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene and infant neurodevelopment: an analysis of the pregnancy, infection, and nutrition babies study.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) are persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic pollutants that were broadly used in the United States until the 1970s. Common exposure to PCBs, DDT, and dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE), the most stable metabolite of DDT, may influence children's neurodevelopment, but study results are not consistent.


We examined the associations between lactational exposure to PCBs, DDT, and DDE and infant development at 12 months, using data from the Pregnancy, Infection, and Nutrition Babies Study, 2004-2006.


We measured PCBs, DDT, and DDE in breast milk at the third month postpartum. Lactational exposure of these chemicals was estimated by the product of chemical concentrations and the duration of breast-feeding. Infant development at 12 months of age was measured by the Mullen Scales of Early Learning (n=231) and the Short Form: Level I (infant) of the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Indices (n=218).


No consistent associations were observed between lactational exposure to PCBs, DDT, and DDE through the first 12 months and the measures of infant development. However, DDE was associated with scoring below average on the gross motor scale of the Mullen among males only (adjusted odds ratio=1.9; 95% confidence interval, 1.1-3.3).


Infant neurodevelopment at 12 months of age was not impaired by PCBs, DDT, and DDE at the concentrations measured here, in combination with benefits from long duration of breast-feeding in this population.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Pan, I-J; Daniels, JL; Goldman, BD; Herring, AH; Siega-Riz, AM; Rogan, WJ

Published Date

  • March 2009

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 117 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 488 - 494

PubMed ID

  • 19337527

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC2661922

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1552-9924

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0091-6765

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1289/ehp.0800063


  • eng