Background: Previous findings suggest that developmental exposures to persistent organochlorine pollutants (POPs) may be detrimental for the development of the immune system in the offspring. Whether these suspected immunoregulatory effects persist beyond early childhood remains unclear.
Objectives: The objective of this study was to evaluate the association between maternal serum concentrations of POPs and the risk of asthma in offspring after 20 years of follow-up.
Methods: A birth cohort with 965 women was formed in 1988–1989 in Aarhus, Denmark. Concentrations of six polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) (congeners 118, 138, 153, 156, 170, 180), hexachlorobenzene (HCB), and dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p,p´-DDE) were quantified in maternal serum (n = 872) collected in gestation week 30. Information about offspring use of asthma medications was obtained from the Danish Registry of Medicinal Product Statistics.
Results: Maternal serum concentrations of HCB and dioxin-like PCB-118 were positively associated with offspring asthma medication use after 20 years of follow-up (p for trend < 0.05). Compared with subjects in the first tertile of maternal concentration, those in the third tertile of PCB-118 had an adjusted hazard ratio (HR) of 1.90 (95% CI: 1.12, 3.23). For HCB the HR for the third versus the first tertile of maternal concentration was 1.92 (95% CI: 1.15, 3.21). Weak positive associations were also estimated for PCB-156 and the non-dioxin-like PCBs (PCBs 138, 153, 170, 180). No associations were found for p,p´-DDE.
Conclusions: Maternal concentrations of PCB-118 and HCB were associated with increased risk of asthma in offspring followed through 20 years of age.
Citation: Hansen S, Strøm M, Olsen SF, Maslova E, Rantakokko P, Kiviranta H, Rytter D, Bech BH, Hansen LV, Halldorsson TI. 2014. Maternal concentrations of persistent organochlorine pollutants and the risk of asthma in offspring: results from a prospective cohort with 20 years of follow-up. Environ Health Perspect 122:93–99; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1206397