Prepubertal organochlorine pesticide concentrations and age of pubertal onset among Russian boys

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Pediatrics; Department of Cell and Developmental Biology

Publication Date


Document Type



Adolescent; Child; Dichlorodiphenyl Dichloroethylene; Hexachlorobenzene; Humans; Lindane; Male; Pesticides; Puberty; Russia


Disorders of Environmental Origin | Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism | Environmental Health | Medical Toxicology | Pediatrics | Reproductive and Urinary Physiology | Toxicology


BACKGROUND: In animal studies, organochlorine pesticide (OCP) exposure alters pubertal development; however, epidemiological data are limited and inconsistent.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the associations of serum OCP concentrations [hexachlorobenzene (HCB), beta-hexachlorocyclohexane (beta-HCH), and p,p'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p,p'-DDE)] with male pubertal onset.

METHODS: In Chapaevsk, Russia, a town environmentally contaminated with OCPs, 350 8-9 year old boys with measured OCPs were enrolled during 2003-2005 and were followed annually for eight years. We evaluated three measures of pubertal onset: testicular volume (TV) > 3 mL in either testis, or stage 2 or greater for genitalia (G2+), or pubic hair (P2+). We used multivariable interval-censored models to evaluate associations of OCPs (quartiles) with physician-assessed pubertal onset. RESULTS: In adjusted models, boys with higher HCB concentrations had later mean ages of TV > 3 mL and P2+ (but not G2+). Mean age at attaining TV > 3 mL was delayed 3.6 (95% CI: -2.6, 9.7), 7.9 (95% CI: 1.7, 14.0), and 4.7 months (95% CI: -1.4, 10.9) for HCB Q2, Q3, and Q4, respectively, compared to Q1 (trend p: 0.06). Boys with higher HCB concentrations reached P2+ 0.1 months earlier (95% CI: -5.8, 5.6) for Q2, 4.7 months later (95% CI: -1.0, 10.3) for Q3 and 4.6 months later (95% CI: -1.1, 10.3) for Q4 compared to Q1 (trend p: 0.04). There were no associations of serum beta-HCH and p,p'-DDE concentrations with age of pubertal onset.

CONCLUSION: Higher prepubertal serum HCB concentrations were associated with later age of gonadarche and pubarche.


HCB, Male puberty, Organochlorine pesticides, p, p′-DDE, β-HCH

DOI of Published Version



Environ Int. 2014 Dec;73:135-42. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2014.06.020. Link to article on publisher's site.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Environment international

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID