Prenatal exposure to multiple organochlorine compounds and childhood body mass index

Elena Colicino, Katerina Margetaki, Damaskini Valvi, Nicolo Foppa Pedretti, Nikos Stratakis, Marina Vafeiadi, Theano Roumeliotaki, Soterios A. Kyrtopoulos, Hannu Kiviranta, Euripides G. Stephanou, Manolis Kogevinas, Rob McConnell, Kiros T. Berhane, Leda Chatzi, David V. Conti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Prenatal exposure to organochlorine compounds (OCs) has been associated with increased childhood body mass index (BMI); however, only a few studies have focused on longitudinal BMI trajectories, and none of them used multiple exposure mixture approaches. Aim: To determine the association between in-utero exposure to eight OCs and childhood BMI measures (BMI and BMI z-score) at 4 years and their yearly change across 4-12 years of age in 279 Rhea child-mother dyads. Methods: We applied three approaches: (1) linear mixed-effect regressions (LMR) to associate individual compounds with BMI measures; (2) Bayesian weighted quantile sum regressions (BWQSR) to provide an overall OC mixture association with BMI measures; and (3)Bayesian varying coefficient kernel machine regressions (BVCKMR) to model nonlinear and nonadditive associations. Results: In the LMR, yearly change of BMI measures was consistently associated with a quartile increase in hexachlorobenzene (HCB) (estimate [95% Confidence or Credible interval] BMI: 0.10 [0.06, 0.14]; BMI z-score: 0.02 [0.01, 0.04]). BWQSR results showed that a quartile increase in mixture concentrations was associated with yearly increase of BMI measures (BMI: 0.10 [0.01, 0.18]; BMI z-score: 0.03 [0.003, 0.06]). In the BVCKMR, a quartile increase in dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene concentrations was associated with higher BMI measures at 4 years (BMI: 0.33 [0.24, 0.43]; BMI z-score: 0.19 [0.15, 0.24]); whereas a quartile increase in HCB and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB)-118 levels was positively associated with BMI measures yearly change (BMI: HCB:0.10 [0.07, 0.13], PCB-118:0.08 [0.04, 012]; BMI z-score: HCB:0.03 [0.02, 0.05], PCB-118:0.02 [0.002,04]). BVCKMR suggested that PCBs had nonlinear relationships with BMI measures, and HCB interacted with other compounds. Conclusions: All analyses consistently demonstrated detrimental associations between prenatal OC exposures and childhood BMI measures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E201
JournalEnvironmental Epidemiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 22 Jun 2022


  • Bayesian varying coefficient kernel machine regressions
  • Bayesian weighted quantile sum regressions
  • Body mass index
  • Chemical mixture
  • Organochlorine compounds
  • Outcome trajectories


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