Functional aspects of developmental toxicity of polyhalogenated aromatic hydrocarbons in experimental animals and human infants

Abraham Brouwer, Ulf G. Ahlborg, Martin Van den Berg, Linda S. Birnbaum, E. Ruud Boersma, Bart Bosveld, Michael S. Denison, L. Earl Gray, Lars Hagmar, Edel Holene, Marcel Huisman, Sandra W. Jacobson, Joseph L. Jacobson, Corine Koopman-Esseboom, Janna G. Koppe, Beverly M. Kulig, Dennis C. Morse, Gina Muckle, Richard E. Peterson, Pieter J J SauerRichard F. Seegal, Annette E. Smits-Van Prooije, Bert C L Touwen, Nynke Weisglas-Kuperus, Gerhard Winneke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

239 Scopus citations


A scientific evaluation was made of functionalspects of developmental toxicity of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs) and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs) in experimental animals and in human infants. Persistent neurobehavioral, reproductive and endocrine alterations were observed in experimental animals, following in utero and lactational exposure to PCBs, PCDDs and PCDFs. The lowest observable adverse effect levels (LOAELs) for developmental neurobehavioral and reproduction endpoints, based on bodyen of TCDD-toxic equivalents (TEQs) in animals, are within the range of current background human body burdens. Relatively subtle adverse effects on neurobehavioral development and thyroid hormone alterations have also been observed in infants and children exposed to background levels. Exclusive use of the toxic equivalency factor (TEF) approach may underestimate the risk of neurodevelopmental effects, because both Ah receptor dependent and independent mechanisms may be involved in these effects. The use of marker congeners and/or bioassays based on Ah receptor mediated mechanisms are rapid, low cost pre-screening alternatives for expensive and time consuming gas chromatographic-mass spectrometric analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-40
Number of pages40
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology: Environmental Toxicology and
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 26 1995


  • (aryl hydrocarbon) receptor
  • (lowest observable adverse effect level)
  • (polychlorinated biphenyl)
  • (polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxin)
  • (polychlorinated dibenzofuran)
  • (toxic equivalency factor)
  • Ah
  • Developmental toxicity
  • Endocrine effect
  • Experimental animal
  • Human infant
  • In utero exposure
  • Lactational exposure
  • Neurobehavioral effect
  • PCB
  • PCDD
  • PCDF
  • Reproduction effect
  • TEF

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Pharmacology
  • Toxicology


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