Some organochlorine compounds, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), have a tendency to bioaccumulate in humans and predators at the top of the food chain. We have recently confirmed the transplacental transfer of these compounds and the present study has been designed on the same material with the aim of investigating their potential health effects on newborns from 70 pregnant women, resident in a Northern Italy industrial town. Organochlorine compounds [namely, p,p'-dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (p,p'-DDT), p,p'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethene (p,p'-DDE), hexachlorobenzene (HCB), and PCBs] have been analyzed both in cord and maternal serum, placenta, and maternal subcutaneous adipose tissue by GC-MSD. p,p'-DDT levels in the adipose tissue resulted significantly (p<0.05) related to birth length. Mothers of neonates born by preterm programmed caesarean delivery showed significantly (p<0.005 for both) higher serum p,p'-DDE serum concentrations and p,p'-DDT levels in the adipose tissue, as compared to mothers delivering at term.
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