Our Stolen Futurea book by Theo Colborn, Dianne Dumanoski, and John Peterson Myers
 
 

 

   
  Koopman-Esseboom, C, N Weisglas-Kuperus, MAJ de Ridder, CG Van der Paauw, LGM Th Tuinstra, and PJJ Sauer. 1996. Effects of Polychlorinated Biphenyl/Dioxin Exposure and Feeding Type on Infants' Mental and Psychomotor Development. Pediatrics 97(5): 700-706.
Koopman-Esseboom et al. studied 207 mother-infant pairs, of which 105 were breastfed and 102 were bottle fed. They estimated prenatal PCB exposure by measuring maternal plasma during the last month of pregnancy; they measured postnatal PCB and dioxin exposure from levels in human milk samples and from the duration of breast feeding. They then examined mental and psychomotor development by examining infants at 3, 7 and 18 months of age using the Bayley Scales of Infant Development.

Lower psychomotor scores were associated with higher PCB in utero exposure at 3 months of age. Breast-fed infants scored higher on psychomotor scores but their performance was negatively influenced by post-natal exposure to PCBs and dioxin.

At 18 months, the development was affected by neither PCB and dioxin exposure nor by feeding type.

"In conclusion, prenatal as well as post-natal exposure to Dutch levels of PCBs and dioxins has a small adverse effect on early psychomotor development. Breast-feeding per se has an important positive influence on mental and psychomotor development at 7 months of age. Although the postnatal dioxin and dioxin like PCB exposure through breastfeeding had a negative effect on the PDI outcome at 7 months of age, breastfed infants never scored significantly lower compared with formula-fed infants. Therefore, mothers can be supported, also in the western industrialized part of the world, to breastfeed their infants. However, it is not clear if the small adverse effects we found on early development, which are caused in a critical period of organ growth and differentiation, might represent differences in neurobehaviour that become apparent later in life. Therefore, it remains necessary for governments worldwide to reduce the expulsion and dumping of these toxins as much as possible."

A limitation of this study is that all study subjects contained at least some level of contamination. Therefore, a true control population was not available. This is likely to bias the results against finding an effect.


 
  Huisman, M, C Koopman-Esseboom, CI Lanting, C G van der Paauw, L GM Th. Tuinstra, V Fidler, N Weisglas Kuperus, PJJSauer, ER Boersma and BCL Towen. 1996. Neurological condition in 18-month-old children perinatally exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls and dioxins. Early Human Development 43:165-176.
Huisman et al. studied the neurological condition of Dutch children at age of 18 months, asking whether this was related to prenatal and breast-milk exposure to PCBs and dioxins. They found that the higher the transplancental PCB exposure, the lower the measurement of neurological condition. They could not detect an impact of exposure via breast-milk, and indeed found a beneficial impact of breast feeding on fluency of movements.

In the study they controlled for education of the father, birth order, smoking by the father during pregnancy, and other variables. They did find an interaction between smoking and contamination: the least-exposed children of non-smoking fathers had the highest scores.

A limitation of this study is that all study subjects contained at least some level of contamination. Therefore, a true control population was not available. This is likely to bias the results against finding an effect.


 
  Huisman, M, C Koopman-Esseboom, V Fidler, M Hadders-Algra, C G van der Paauw, L GM Th. Tuinstra. 1995. Perinatal exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls and dioxins and its effect on neonatal neurological development. Early Human Development 41:111-127.  

 

 

 

 

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