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1.  Maternal exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls and the secondary sex ratio: an occupational cohort study 
Environmental Health  2011;10:20.
Background
Though commercial production of polychlorinated biphenyls was banned in the United States in 1977, exposure continues due to their environmental persistence. Several studies have examined the association between environmental polychlorinated biphenyl exposure and modulations of the secondary sex ratio, with conflicting results.
Objective
Our objective was to evaluate the association between maternal preconceptional occupational polychlorinated biphenyl exposure and the secondary sex ratio.
Methods
We examined primipara singleton births of 2595 women, who worked in three capacitor plants at least one year during the period polychlorinated biphenyls were used. Cumulative estimated maternal occupational polychlorinated biphenyl exposure at the time of the infant's conception was calculated from plant-specific job-exposure matrices. A logistic regression analysis was used to evaluate the association between maternal polychlorinated biphenyl exposure and male sex at birth (yes/no).
Results
Maternal body mass index at age 20, smoking status, and race did not vary between those occupationally exposed and those unexposed before the child's conception. Polychlorinated biphenyl-exposed mothers were, however, more likely to have used oral contraceptives and to have been older at the birth of their first child than non-occupationally exposed women. Among 1506 infants liveborn to polychlorinated biphenyl-exposed primiparous women, 49.8% were male; compared to 49.9% among those not exposed (n = 1089). Multivariate analyses controlling for mother's age and year of birth found no significant association between the odds of a male birth and mother's cumulative estimated polychlorinated biphenyl exposure to time of conception.
Conclusions
Based on these data, we find no evidence of altered sex ratio among children born to primiparous polychlorinated biphenyl-exposed female workers.
doi:10.1186/1476-069X-10-20
PMCID: PMC3070618  PMID: 21418576
2.  Occupational Exposure to Polychlorinated Biphenyls and Risk of Breast Cancer 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2008;117(2):276-282.
Background
Despite the endocrine system activity exhibited by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), recent studies have shown little association between PCB exposure and breast cancer mortality.
Objectives
To further evaluate the relation between PCB exposure and breast cancer risk, we studied incidence, a more sensitive end point than mortality, in an occupational cohort.
Methods
We followed 5,752 women employed for at least 1 year in one of three capacitor manufacturing facilities, identifying cases from questionnaires, cancer registries, and death certificates through 1998. We collected lifestyle and reproductive information via questionnaire from participants or next of kin and used semiquantitative job-exposure matrices for inhalation and dermal exposures combined. We generated standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) and standardized rate ratios and used Cox proportional hazards regression models to evaluate potential confounders and effect modifiers.
Results
Overall, the breast cancer SIR was 0.81 (95% confidence interval, 0.72–0.92; n = 257), and regression modeling showed little effect of employment duration or cumulative exposure. However, for the 362 women of questionnaire-identified races other than white, we observed positive, statistically significant associations with employment duration and cumulative exposure; only smoking, birth cohort, and self- or proxy questionnaire completion had statistically significant explanatory power when added to models with exposure metrics.
Conclusions
We found no overall elevation in breast cancer risk after occupational exposure to PCBs. However, the exposure-related risk elevations seen among nonwhite workers, although of limited interpretability given the small number of cases, warrant further investigation, because the usual reproductive risk factors accounted for little of the increased risk.
doi:10.1289/ehp.11774
PMCID: PMC2649231  PMID: 19270799
breast cancer; incidence; occupational epidemiology; polychlorinated biphenyls
3.  Lead Exposures in U.S. Children, 2008: Implications for Prevention 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2008;116(10):1285-1293.
Objective
We reviewed the sources of lead in the environments of U.S. children, contributions to children’s blood lead levels, source elimination and control efforts, and existing federal authorities. Our context is the U.S. public health goal to eliminate pediatric elevated blood lead levels (EBLs) by 2010.
Data sources
National, state, and local exposure assessments over the past half century have identified risk factors for EBLs among U.S. children, including age, race, income, age and location of housing, parental occupation, and season.
Data extraction and synthesis
Recent national policies have greatly reduced lead exposure among U.S. children, but even very low exposure levels compromise children’s later intellectual development and lifetime achievement. No threshold for these effects has been demonstrated. Although lead paint and dust may still account for up to 70% of EBLs in U.S. children, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that ≥30% of current EBLs do not have an immediate lead paint source, and numerous studies indicate that lead exposures result from multiple sources. EBLs and even deaths have been associated with inadequately controlled sources including ethnic remedies and goods, consumer products, and food-related items such as ceramics. Lead in public drinking water and in older urban centers remain exposure sources in many areas.
Conclusions
Achieving the 2010 goal requires maintaining current efforts, especially programs addressing lead paint, while developing interventions that prevent exposure before children are poisoned. It also requires active collaboration across all levels of government to identify and control all potential sources of lead exposure, as well as primary prevention.
doi:10.1289/ehp.11241
PMCID: PMC2569084  PMID: 18941567
children’s health; environmental health; lead poisoning; primary prevention
4.  Mortality and Exposure Response among 14,458 Electrical Capacitor Manufacturing Workers Exposed to Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2006;114(10):1508-1514.
Background
We expanded an existing cohort of workers (n = 2,588) considered highly exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at two capacitor manufacturing plants to include all workers with at least 90 days of potential PCB exposure during 1939–1977 (n = 14,458). Causes of death of a priori interest included liver and rectal cancers, previously reported for the original cohort, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), melanoma, and breast, brain, intestine, stomach, and prostate cancers, based on other studies.
Methods
We ascertained vital status of the workers through 1998, and cumulative PCB exposure was estimated using a new job exposure matrix. Analyses employed standardized mortality ratios (SMRs; U.S., state, and county referents) and Poisson regression modeling.
Results
Mortality from NHL, melanoma, and rectal, breast, and brain cancers were neither in excess nor associated with cumulative exposure. Mortality was not elevated for liver cancer [21 deaths; SMR 0.89; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.55–1.36], but increased with cumulative exposure (trend p-value = 0.071). Among men, stomach cancer mortality was elevated (24 deaths; SMR 1.53; 95% CI, 0.98–2.28) and increased with cumulative exposure (trend p-value = 0.039). Among women, intestinal cancer mortality was elevated (67 deaths; SMR 1.31; 95% CI, 1.02–1.66), especially in higher cumulative exposure categories, but without a clear trend. Prostate cancer mortality, which was not elevated (34 deaths; SMR 1.04; 95% CI, 0.72–1.45), increased with cumulative exposure (trend p-value = 0.0001).
Conclusions
This study corroborates previous studies showing increased liver cancer mortality, but we cannot clearly associate rectal, stomach, and intestinal cancers with PCB exposure. This is the first PCB cohort showing a strong exposure–response relationship for prostate cancer mortality.
doi:10.1289/ehp.9175
PMCID: PMC1626402  PMID: 17035134
cancer; electrical capacitor manufacturing; liver cancer; mortality; occupational exposure; PCBs; polychlorinated biphenyls; prostate cancer
5.  Update: cohort mortality study of workers highly exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) during the manufacture of electrical capacitors, 1940-1998 
Environmental Health  2006;5:13.
Background
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health previously reported mortality for a cohort of workers considered highly exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) between 1939 and 1977 at two electrical capacitor manufacturing plants. The current study updated vital status, examined liver and rectal cancer mortality previously reported in excess in this cohort and evaluated mortality from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) and cancers of the stomach, intestine, breast, prostate, skin (melanoma) and brain reported to be in excess in other cohort and case-control studies of PCB-exposed persons.
Methods
Mortality was updated through 1998 for 2572 workers. Age-, gender-, race- and calendar year-adjusted standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated using U.S., state and county referent rates. SMRs using U.S. referent rates are reported. Duration of employment was used as a surrogate for exposure.
Results
Consistent with the previous follow-up, mortality from biliary passage, liver and gall bladder cancer was significantly elevated (11 deaths, SMR 2.11, CI 1.05 – 3.77), but mortality from rectal cancer was not (6 deaths, SMR 1.47, CI 0.54 – 3.21). Among women, mortality from intestinal cancer (24 deaths, SMR 1.89, CI 1.21 – 2.82) and from "other diseases of the nervous system and sense organs", which include Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, (15 deaths, SMR 2.07, CI 1.16 – 3.42) were elevated. There were four ALS deaths, all women (SMR 4.35, CI 1.19–11.14). Mortality was elevated for myeloma (7 deaths, SMR 2.11, CI 0.84 – 4.34), particularly among workers employed 10 years or more (5 deaths, SMR 2.80, CI 0.91 – 6.54). No linear associations between mortality and duration of employment were observed for the cancers of interest.
Conclusion
This update found that the earlier reported excess in this cohort for biliary, liver and gall bladder cancer persisted with longer follow-up. Excess mortality for intestinal cancer among women was elevated across categories of duration of employment; myeloma mortality was highest among those working 10 years or more. The small numbers of deaths from liver and intestinal cancers, myeloma and nervous system diseases coupled with the lack of an exposure-response relationship with duration of employment preclude drawing definitive conclusions regarding PCB exposure and these causes of death.
doi:10.1186/1476-069X-5-13
PMCID: PMC1524943  PMID: 16716225
6.  Workgroup Report: Implementing a National Occupational Reproductive Research Agenda—Decade One and Beyond 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2005;114(3):435-441.
The initial goal of occupational reproductive health research is to effectively study the many toxicants, physical agents, and biomechanical and psychosocial stressors that may constitute reproductive hazards in the workplace. Although the main objective of occupational reproductive researchers and clinicians is to prevent recognized adverse reproductive outcomes, research has expanded to include a broader spectrum of chronic health outcomes potentially affected by reproductive toxicants. To aid in achieving these goals, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, along with its university, federal, industry, and labor colleagues, formed the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) in 1996. NORA resulted in 21 research teams, including the Reproductive Health Research Team (RHRT). In this report, we describe progress made in the last decade by the RHRT and by others in this field, including prioritizing reproductive toxicants for further study; facilitating collaboration among epidemiologists, biologists, and toxicologists; promoting quality exposure assessment in field studies and surveillance; and encouraging the design and conduct of priority occupational reproductive studies. We also describe new tools for screening reproductive toxicants and for analyzing mode of action. We recommend considering outcomes such as menopause and latent adverse effects for further study, as well as including exposures such as shift work and nanomaterials. We describe a broad domain of scholarship activities where a cohesive system of organized and aligned work activities integrates 10 years of team efforts and provides guidance for future research.
doi:10.1289/ehp.8458
PMCID: PMC1392239  PMID: 16507468
communication; environmental exposure; occupational exposure; reproduction; research design; risk factors
7.  Mortality among Workers Exposed to Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) in an Electrical Capacitor Manufacturing Plant in Indiana: An Update 
An Indiana capacitor-manufacturing cohort (n = 3,569) was exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from 1957 to 1977. The original study of mortality through 1984 found excess melanoma and brain cancer; other studies of PCB-exposed individuals have found excess non-Hodgkin lymphoma and rectal, liver, biliary tract, and gallbladder cancer. Mortality was updated through 1998. Analyses have included standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) using rates for Indiana and the United States, standardized rate ratios (SRRs), and Poisson regression rate ratios (RRs). Estimated cumulative exposure calculations used a new job–exposure matrix. Mortality overall was reduced (547 deaths; SMR, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.7–0.9). Non-Hodgkin lymphoma mortality was elevated (9 deaths; SMR, 1.23; 95% CI, 0.6–2.3). Melanoma remained in excess (9 deaths; SMR, 2.43; 95% CI, 1.1–4.6), especially in the lowest tertile of estimated cumulative exposure (5 deaths; SMR, 3.72; 95% CI, 1.2–8.7). Seven of the 12 brain cancer deaths (SMR, 1.91; 95% CI, 1.0–3.3) occurred after the original study. Brain cancer mortality increased with exposure (in the highest tertile, 5 deaths; SMR, 2.71; 95% CI, 0.9–6.3); the SRR dose–response trend was significant (p = 0.016). Among those working ≥90 days, both melanoma (8 deaths; SMR, 2.66; 95% CI, 1.1–5.2) and brain cancer (11 deaths; SMR, 2.12; 95% CI, 1.1–3.8) were elevated, especially for women: melanoma, 3 deaths (SMR, 5.99; 95% CI, 1.2–17.5); brain cancer, 3 deaths (SMR, 2.87; 95% CI, 0.6–8.4). These findings of excess melanoma and brain cancer mortality confirm results of the original study. Melanoma mortality was not associated with estimated cumulative exposure. Brain cancer mortality did not demonstrate a clear dose–response relationship with estimated cumulative exposure.
doi:10.1289/ehp.8253
PMCID: PMC1332650  PMID: 16393652
cancer; cohort study; exposure assessment; occupational exposure; polychlorinated biphenyls
8.  Paternal Occupational Exposure to 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin and Birth Outcomes of Offspring: Birth Weight, Preterm Delivery, and Birth Defects 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2004;112(14):1403-1408.
Agent Orange is a phenoxy herbicide that was contaminated with 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD). We studied pregnancy outcomes among wives of male chemical workers who were highly exposed to chemicals contaminated with TCDD and among wives of nonexposed neighborhood referents. For exposed pregnancies, we estimated serum TCDD concentration at the time of conception using a pharmacokinetic model. The mean TCDD concentration for workers’ births was 254 pg/g lipid (range, 3–16,340 pg/g). The mean referent concentration of 6 pg/g was assigned to pregnancies fathered by workers before exposure. A total of 1,117 live singleton births of 217 referent wives and 176 worker wives were included. Only full-term births were included in the birth weight analysis (≥37 weeks of gestation). Mean birth weight among full-term babies was similar among referents’ babies (n = 604), preexposure workers’ babies (n = 221), and exposed workers’ babies (n = 292) (3,420, 3,347, and 3,442 g, respectively). Neither continuous nor categorical TCDD concentration had an effect on birth weight for term infants after adjustment for infant sex, mother’s education, parity, prenatal cigarette smoking, and gestation length. An analysis to estimate potential direct exposure of the wives during periods of workers’ exposure yielded a nonstatistically significant increase in infant birth weight of 130 g in the highest exposure group (TCDD concentration > 254 pg/g) compared with referents (p = 0.09). Mothers’ reports of preterm delivery showed a somewhat protective association with paternal TCDD (log) concentration (odds ratio = 0.8; 95% confidence interval, 0.6–1.1). We also include descriptive information on reported birth defects. Because the estimated TCDD concentrations in this population were much higher than in other studies, the results indicate that TCDD is unlikely to increase the risk of low birth weight or preterm delivery through a paternal mechanism.
doi:10.1289/ehp.7051
PMCID: PMC1247568  PMID: 15471733
birth defects; birth weight; congenital anomalies; dioxin; occupation; paternal exposure; preterm birth; TCDD

Results 1-8 (8)