Assessing exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and thyroid function as measured by thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) in children in the metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia area Open Access

Pardo, Larissa (2014)

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Background: Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), which are synthetic flame-retardants used in a variety of consumer products, are widely detected in the blood serum levels of U.S. residents and have been suggested to disrupt thyroid function due to their structural resemblance of T4. Some evidence suggests that children have higher levels of exposure to PBDEs than do adults because of high uptake during breast-feeding and ingestion of household dust during hand-to-mouth activity. However, mechanistic effects, if there are effects, are poorly understood as few studies have investigated the relationship between thyroid function disruption and PBDEs in developing humans.

Methods: The authors investigated the association between PBDE (BDE-47, -99, -100, -153) exposure and thyroid function as measured by thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) in a pilot, cross-sectional study conducted at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Georgia between 2011 and 2012. The study enrolled 89 children who were undergoing common childhood surgeries. Blood was drawn from each participant while under anesthesia. Parents of children answered a questionnaire regarding demographic information, family health history, and child behavior. Multiple linear regression was used to estimate the relationship between PBDE exposure and TSH levels.

Results: In the analysis, BDE-100 was the only congener that was associated with TSH (p<0.05). It was also the only congener that had a significant linear trend across quartiles of exposure (p=0.01). However, there was some suggestion of increased TSH levels with higher exposure to PBDEs, after adjusting for gender, age, time of blood draw, family history of thyroid disease, race/ethnicity, breastfeeding history and duration, socioeconomic status, and smoking status.

Conclusion: Our findings in this pilot cross-sectional study did not show strong evidence of an association between PBDEs and TSH, however there was some suggestion that PBDEs, at the highest levels, are associated with higher TSH levels in children. These preliminary results are consistent with the only other study conducted in children, and therefore support further investigation in a larger study.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1 Methods 4 Study Population 4 Data Collection 5 Exposure Analysis 6 Hormone Analysis 7 Statistical Methods 8 Results 11 Sensitivity Analysis 14 Discussion 16 Conclusion 20 References 21 Appendix 24 Table 1 24 Table 2 25 Table 3 27 Table 4 27 Table 5 28 Table 6 28 Table 7 29

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