Internal exposure to pollutants and sex hormone levels in Flemish male adolescents in a cross-sectional study: associations and dose–response relationships
Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology
Flanders is densely populated with much industry and intensive farming. Hormonal status of 14-to 15-year-old male adolescents was studied in relation to internal exposure to pollutants. A total of 887 participants were selected as a random sample of the adolescents residing in the study areas. Confounding factors and significant covariates were taken into account. Serum levels of testosterone, free testosterone and estradiol, and the aromatase index showed significant positive associations with
... e associations with serum levels of marker polychlorobiphenyls (sum of PCBs 138, 153, and 180) and of hexachlorobenzene (HCB) and a negative association with urinary cadmium concentration. Serum levels of estradiol also showed a positive association with serum levels of dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE). A doubling of serum concentrations of marker PCBs and HCB and of urinary concentration of cadmium were, respectively, associated with an increase of 16.4% (Po0.00001) and 16.6% (Po0.001) and a decrease of 9.6% (Po0.001) in serum testosterone concentration. Similar findings were made after additional adjustment for concurrent exposures. Associations between biological effects and internal exposures were, in terms of the regression coefficient, often stronger at exposures below the median. Environmental exposures to pollutants resulting in "normal" levels of internal exposure were associated with quite substantial differences in hormone concentrations.