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Environ Health Perspect; DOI:10.1289/EHP277

Polychlorinated Biphenyl and Organochlorine Pesticide Concentrations in Maternal Mid-Pregnancy Serum Samples: Association with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Intellectual Disability

Kristen Lyall,1 Lisa.A. Croen,2 Andreas Sjödin,3 Cathleen K. Yoshida,2 Ousseny Zerbo,2 Martin Kharrazi,1 and Gayle C. Windham1
Author Affiliations open
1California Department of Public Health, Environmental Health Investigations Branch, 850 Marina Bay Parkway, Richmond, CA 94804; 2Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, 2000 Broadway, Oakland CA 94612; 3Division of Laboratory Sciences, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA

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  • Background: Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) are neurodevelopmental toxicants, but few studies have examined associations with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

    Objectives: To determine whether prenatal exposure to PCBs and OCPs influences offspring risk of ASD and intellectual disability without autism (ID).

    Methods: We conducted a population-based case-control study among Southern California births, including children with ASD (N=545) meeting Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)-IV-TR criteria, ID (N=181), and general population (GP) controls (N=418). Concentrations of 11 PCB congeners and 2 OCPs measured in banked second trimester serum samples were compared between the diagnostic groups. Logistic regression was used to calculate crude and adjusted odds ratios (AOR) for associations with ASD, and separately for ID, compared to GP controls, by quartiles of analyte concentrations in primary analyses.

    Results: Geometric mean levels of several PCB congeners were higher in the ASD group compared to ID and GP groups. ASD risk was elevated for a number of PCB congeners, particularly for the highest vs. lowest quartile of PCB138/158 (AOR=1.79, 95% CI 1.10, 2.71) and PCB153 (AOR=1.82, 95% CI 1.10, 3.02), and for highest deciles of other congeners in secondary analyses. PCB138/158 was also associated with increased ID (AOR=2.41, 95% CI 1.18, 4.91), though no trend was suggested. OCPs were not associated with increased risk of ASD in primary analyses, while non-monotonic increases in risk of ID were found with p,p’-DDE.

    Conclusions: Our results suggest higher levels of some organochlorine compounds during pregnancy are associated with ASD and ID.

  • This EHP Advance Publication article has been peer-reviewed, revised, and accepted for publication. EHP Advance Publication articles are completely citable using the DOI number assigned to the article. This document will be replaced with the copyedited and formatted version as soon as it is available. Through the DOI number used in the citation, you will be able to access this document at each stage of the publication process.

    Citation: Lyall K, Croen LA, Sjödin A, Yoshida CK, Zerbo O, Kharrazi M, Windham GC. Polychlorinated Biphenyl and Organochlorine Pesticide Concentrations in Maternal Mid-Pregnancy Serum Samples: Association with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Intellectual Disability. Environ Health Perspect; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/EHP277

    Received: 16 February 2016
    Revised: 27 June 2016
    Accepted: 20 July 2016
    Published: 23 August 2016

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