UMMS Affiliation

Department of Pediatrics; Department of Cell and Developmental Biology



Document Type



BACKGROUND: Few human studies have evaluated the impact of childhood exposure to organochlorine pesticides (OCP) on pubertal development.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate associations of serum OCP concentrations [hexachlorobenzene (HCB), beta-hexachlorocyclohexane (beta-HCH), and p,p-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p,p'-DDE)] with age at attainment of sexual maturity among boys.

METHODS: From 2003-2005, 350 8-9 year-old boys from Chapaevsk, Russia with measured OCPs were enrolled and followed annually for eight years. We used multivariable interval-censored models to evaluate associations of OCPs (quartiles) with three physician-assessed measures of sexual maturity: Tanner stage 5 for genitalia growth, Tanner stage 5 for pubic hair growth, or testicular volume (TV) > /=20 mL in either testis.

RESULTS: In adjusted models, boys with higher HCB concentrations achieved sexual maturity reflected by TV > /=20 mL a mean of 3.1 months (95% CI: -1.7, 7.8), 5.3 months (95% CI: 0.6, 10.1), and 5.0 months (95% CI: 0.2, 9.8) later for quartiles Q2, Q3, and Q4, respectively compared to Q1 (trend p=0.04). Tanner stage 5 for genitalia growth was attained a mean of 2.2 months (95% CI: -3.1, 7.5), 5.7 months (95% CI: 0.4, 11.0), and 3.7 months (-1.7, 9.1) later for quartiles Q2, Q3, and Q4 respectively of beta-HCH as compared to Q1 (trend p=0.09). Tanner stage 5 for pubic hair growth occurred 6-9 months later on average for boys in the highest vs. lowest quartile for HCB (trend p < 0.001), beta-HCH (trend p=0.01), and p,p'-DDE (trend p=0.04). No associations were observed between p,p'-DDE and Tanner stage 5 for genitalia growth or TV > /=20 mL.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Higher prepubertal serum HCB and beta-HCH concentrations were associated with a later age at attainment of sexual maturity. Only the highest quartile of serum p,p'-DDE was associated with later pubic hair maturation.

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Citation: Lam T, Williams PL, Lee MM, Korrick SA, Birnbaum LS, Burns JS, Sergeyev O, Revich B, Altshul LM, Patterson DG Jr, Hauser R. Prepubertal Serum Concentrations of Organochlorine Pesticides and Age at Sexual Maturity in Russian Boys. Environ Health Perspect; Link to article on publisher's site.


EHP is a publication of the U.S. Government. Publication of EHP lies in the public domain and is therefore without copyright. All text from EHP may be reprinted freely. Use of materials published in EHP should be acknowledged (for example, “Reproduced with permission from Environmental Health Perspectives”).

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Link to Article in PubMed

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Environmental health perspectives

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