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Few data are available on polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) concentrations over critical windows of human reproduction and development inclusive of the periconception window.


Our goal was to measure changes in PCB concentrations from preconception to pregnancy, through pregnancy, or after a year without becoming pregnant.


Seventy-nine women planning pregnancies were prospectively enrolled and followed for up to 12 menstrual cycles of attempting pregnancy. Blood specimens were obtained from participating women preconceptionally (n = 79), after a positive pregnancy test leading to a live birth (n = 54) or pregnancy loss (n= 10), at approximately 6 weeks postpartum (n = 53), and after 12 unsuccessful cycles (n = 9) for toxicologic analysis of 76 PCB congeners. We estimated overall and daily rate of change in PCB concentration (nanograms per gram serum) adjusting for relevant covariates, serum lipids, and baseline PCB concentration.


Significant (p < 0.0001) decreases in the mean overall and daily rate of change in PCB concentrations were observed between the preconception and first pregnancy samples for total (–1.012 and –0.034, respectively), estrogenic (–0.444 and –0.016, respectively), and antiestrogenic (–0.106 and –0.004, respectively) PCBs among women with live births. Similar significant decreases in total (–1.452 and –0.085), estrogenic (–0.647 and –0.040), and antiestrogenic (–0.093 and –0.004) PCB concentrations were seen for women with pregnancy losses. No significant changes were observed for PCB congener 153.


These data suggest that PCB concentrations may change during the periconception interval, questioning the stability of persistent compounds during this critical window.


Publisher Acknowledgment

This is the Publisher’s PDF of the following article made available by National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences: Bloom MS, Buck Louis GM, Schisterman EF, Liu A, Kostyniak PJ. Maternal Serum Polychlorinated Biphenyl Concentrations across Critical Windows of Human Development. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2007;115(9):1320-1324.