Background: Several studies have reported decreases in birth size associated with exposure to organochlorine compounds (OCs), but uncertainties remain regarding the critical windows of prenatal exposure and the effects on fetal body segments. Objective: We examined the relationship between prenatal OC concentrations and fetal anthropometry. Methods: We measured 4,4´-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (4,4´-DDE), hexachlorobenzene (HCB), and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners (138, 153, and 180) in 2,369 maternal and 1,140 cord serum samples in four Spanish cohorts (2003–2008). We used linear mixed models to obtain longitudinal growth curves for estimated fetal weight (EFW), abdominal circumference (AC), biparietal diameter (BPD), and femur length (FL) adjusted by parental and fetal characteristics. We calculated standard deviation (SD) scores of growth at 0–12, 12–20, and 20–34 weeks of gestation as well as size at gestational week 34 for the four parameters. We studied the association between OCs and the fetal outcomes by cohort-specific linear models and subsequent meta-analyses. Results: PCBs were associated with a reduction in AC up to mid-pregnancy, and BPD and FL from gestational week 20 onward. An inverse association was also found between HCB and AC growth in early pregnancy. The reduction of these parameters ranged from –4% to –2% for a doubling in the OC concentrations. No association between 4,4´-DDE and fetal growth was observed. Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first study to report an association between prenatal exposure to some PCBs and HCB and fetal growth: AC during the first two trimesters of pregnancy, and BPD and FL later in pregnancy.

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Journal Environmental Health Perspectives
Grant This work was funded by the European Commission 7th Framework Programme; grant id fp7/282957 - Developmental neurotoxicity assessment of mixtures in children (DENAMIC)
Lopez-Espinosa, M.-J, Murcia, M, Iñiguez, A, Vizcaino, E, Costa, O, Fernández-Somoano, A, … Ballester, F. (2016). Organochlorine compounds and ultrasound measurements of fetal growth in the INMA cohort (Spain). Environmental Health Perspectives, 124(1), 157–163. doi:10.1289/ehp.1408907