1 Tahrcountry Musings: Environmental pollutant has sex-skewing effect

Monday, August 18, 2008

Environmental pollutant has sex-skewing effect

I was reading this paper “A cohort study of in utero polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) exposures in relation to secondary sex ratio” in BioMed Central's open access journal Environmental Health, and it disturbed me. The article clearly depicts that women exposed to high levels of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls – a group of banned environmental pollutants) are less likely to have male children. PCBs are persistent organic pollutants identified worldwide as human blood and breast milk contaminants. Irva Hertz-Picciotto, the lead author of the study says "The women most exposed to PCBs were 33% less likely to give birth to male children than the women least exposed". Even though PCBs were banned in the 1970s it is believed that they find their way in developing and underdeveloped countries. Chemicals with a similar structure to PCBs, such as the flame-retardants PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers), are still widely used in plastic casings and foam products.People consuming fish from contaminated lakes and those who live near former manufacturing facilities face high risk. The risk is not restricted to human beings alone. Wildlife also face a threat of equal magnitude.
Environmental Health 2008, 7:37 (15 July 2008)
If you want to read the full article click here

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