Toxicokinetic modeling of persistent organic pollutant levels in blood from birth to 45 months of age in longitudinal birth cohort studies

Marc André Verner, Dean Sonneborn, Kinga Lancz, Gina Muckle, Pierre Ayotte, Éric Dewailly, Anton Kocan, Lubica Palkovicová, Tomas Trnovec, Sami Haddad, Irva Hertz-Picciotto, Merete Eggesbø

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Background: Despite experimental evidence that lactational exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) can impact health, results from epidemiologic studies are inconclusive. Inconsistency across studies may reflect the inability of current methods to estimate children's blood levels during specific periods of susceptibility. Objectives: We developed a toxicokinetic model to simulate blood POP levels in children from two longitudinal birth cohorts and aimed to validate it against blood levels measured at 6, 16, and 45 months of age. Methods: The model consisted of a maternal and a child lipid compartment connected through placental diffusion and breastfeeding. Simulations were carried out based on individual physiologic parameters; duration of breastfeeding; and levels of POPs measured in maternal blood at delivery, cord blood, or breast milk. Model validity was assessed through regression analyses of simulated against measured blood levels. Results: Simulated levels explained between 10% and 83% of measured blood levels depending on the cohort, the compound, the sample used to simulate children's blood levels, and child's age when blood levels were measured. Model accuracy was highest for estimated blood POP levels at 6 months based on maternal or cord blood levels. However, loss in model precision between the 6th and the 45th month was small for most compounds. Conclusions: Our validated toxicokinetic model can be used to estimate children's blood POP levels in early to mid-childhood. Estimates can be used in epidemiologic studies to evaluate the impact of exposure during hypothesized postnatal periods of susceptibility on health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-137
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Health Perspectives
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • Children's health
  • Lactational exposures
  • Longitudinal birth studies
  • Persistent organic pollutants
  • Toxicokinetic modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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