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Persistent Environmental Pollutants and Couple Fecundity, The LIFE Study


Journal Article

Louis, G.M.Buck; Sundaram, R.; Schisterman, E.F.; Sweeney, A.M.; Lynch, C.D.; Gore-Langton, R.E.; Maisog, J.; Kim, S.; Chen, Z.; Barr, D.B.

Environ Health Perspect




environment; environmental health; Fecundity; Female; gene ontology; Male; pollutants; Pregnancy; reproductive studies; toxicity

BACKGROUND: Evidence suggesting that persistent environmental pollutants may be reproductive toxicants underscores the need for prospective studies of couples for whom exposures are measured. OBJECTIVES: To determine the relation between selected persistent pollutants and couple fecundity as measured by time-to-pregnancy. METHODS: A cohort comprising 501 couples discontinuing contraception to become pregnant was prospectively followed for 12 months of trying to conceive or until a human chorionic gonadotrophin test confirmed pregnancy. Couples completed daily journals on lifestyle and provided biospecimens for the quantification of 9 organochlorine pesticides, 1 polybrominated biphenyl, 10 polybrominated diphenyl ethers, 36 polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and 7 perfluorochemicals (PFCs) in serum. Using Cox models for discrete time, fecundability odds ratios (FORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated separately for each partner's concentrations adjusting for age, body mass index, serum cotinine, serum lipids (except for PFCs), and study site (Michigan or Texas); sensitivity models further adjusted for left truncation or time off contraception (≤2 months) before enrollment. RESULTS: The adjusted reduction in fecundability associated with standard deviation increases in log-transformed serum concentrations ranged between 18%-21% for PCB congeners 118, 167, 209, and perfluorooctane sulfonamide in females, and 17%-29% for p,p'-DDE and PCB congeners 138, 156, 157, 167, 170, 172, and 209 in males. The strongest associations were observed for PCB 167 (FOR 0.79; 95% CI 0.64, 0.97) in females and PCB 138 (FOR=0.71; 95% CI 0.52, 0.98) in males. CONCLUSIONS: In a couple-based prospective cohort study with preconception enrollment and quantification of exposures in both female and male partners, a subset of persistent environmental chemicals were associated with reduced fecundity.

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