Concentration of Maternal Ether Linked to Birth Weight

No link between serum ether and infant's birth length, head circumference, gestational duration

THURSDAY, Sept. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Concentrations of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in maternal serum during pregnancy are associated with low infant birth weight, but no association is seen with birth length, head circumference, or gestational duration, according to a study published online Aug. 30 in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Kim G. Harley, Ph.D., from the University of California in Berkeley, and colleagues examined whether the concentration of PBDEs in maternal serum during pregnancy was associated with infant birth weight, length, head circumference, and length of gestation. A total of 286 low-income, pregnant women were enrolled in the study in 1999 to 2000. Near the 26th week of pregnancy, blood samples were collected and measured for the concentration of PBDE congeners including BDE-17, -28, -47, -66, -85, -99, -100,-153, -154, and -183. The correlation of lipid adjusted, log10-transformed PBDE concentration with birth outcome was investigated using multiple linear regression models.

The investigators identified a negative association between birth weight and some PBDE congeners including BDE-47 (β = −115 g), BDE-99 (β = −114 g) and BDE-100 (β = −122 g) in adjusted analyses. On including maternal weight gain in the models, these findings were found to diminish slightly and were no longer statistically significant. No association was observed between birth length, head circumference, or gestational duration with PBDE congeners.

"Higher concentrations of PBDEs in maternal serum during pregnancy were associated with lower birth weight in a population of low-income women living in California," the authors write.

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