PCBs and early childhood development in Slovakia: Study design and background

Irva Hertz-Picciotto, Tomaš Trnovec, Anton Kočan, M. Judith Charles, Peter Čižnar, Pavel Langer, Eva Sovčikova, Rebecca James

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


A birth cohort study is being launched to examine polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorinated dibenzo-dioxin (TCDD), and dioxin-like toxic equivalence (TEQ) exposures in relation to neurobehavioral and immunologic development. Neurobehavioral deficits have been observed in both animal and epidemiologic studies of in utero exposures. Immunologic toxicity of dioxin and several congeners of PCBs has been observed in animals, but human data for adults have provided little support. This study will involve a cohort of births from two districts in eastern Slovakia: one is Michalovce, where a chemical manufacturing plant that operated from 1959 through the mid-1980's improperly discharged large quantities of contaminated waste into the surrounding area; the other is Svidnik, a comparative region without direct exposure to this pollution. We will describe, for a total of 1200 births during the period 2002 to 2003, the distributions of PCB congeners in umbilical cord and maternal serum collected at birth, and in infant serum from 6 and 16 months of age, as well as PCDDs/PCDFs and coplanar PCBs in breastmilk. Metabolites of PCBs will be measured in maternal serum. These determinations will be examined in relation to immunophenotypes of lymphocytes, thymic size, post-vaccination antibody titers, immunoglobulins, hearing, motor and cognitive impairment, childhood morbidity, prenatal and postnatal growth, and thyroid hormones in early life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)208-214
Number of pages7
JournalFresenius Environmental Bulletin
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2003


  • 2,3,7,8-TCDD
  • Birth weight
  • Children's health
  • Dioxin
  • Immunology
  • Infant morbidity
  • Neurobehavioral development
  • PCBs
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls
  • Thyroid hormones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'PCBs and early childhood development in Slovakia: Study design and background'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this