S. Poon,1 A. Carnevale,1 K. Aleksa,2 B. Kapur,3 D. Bagli,1 G. Koren1; 1University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada, 2University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada, 3Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada

BACKGROUND: Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are synthetic chemicals that are added to a variety of consumer products as flame-retardants. The persistence of PBDEs in the environment and their potential endocrine disrupting properties is a rising concern. This study investigated whether in utero PBDE exposure, as measured in maternal hair, is associated with hypospadias in male infants.
A case-control study of hair samples from mother-infant pairs analyzed for eight common PBDE congeners using GC/MS. We compared PBDE levels of hypospadias cases vs. healthy controls.
RESULTS: Maternal PBDE-28, 47, 99, and 154 levels were significantly higher among hypospadias (n=150) vs. control (n=100) and groups (p<0.05). The trend toward an elevated PBDE body burden was particularly noted for common lower brominated congeners, BDE-47 and BDE-99. ΣPBDEs in maternal postnatal hair did not correlate with infant hair levels; infants had significantly greater levels compared to their mothers, (median 142.0 and 49.9 pg/mg, respectively (p<0.0001)). Additionally, the most common type of hypospadias (distal) had significantly greater median maternal hair ΣPBDE levels at 42.1 pg/mg than the most rare form (proximal) at 13.17 pg/mg (p<0.005).
CONCLUSION: This is the first epidemiologic study linking maternal hair PBDE exposure during pregnancy with hypospadias.