Human developmental exposure to endocrine active compounds
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Quantification of exposure to environmental contaminants such as endocrine active chemicals (EACs) during critical periods of development, particularly in utero, remains largely unexplored. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that EACs can be detected and quantified in second trimester human amniotic fluid. Amniotic fluid was obtained from women (n=175) undergoing routine amniocentesis between 14 and 21 weeks gestation. Samples were assayed by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) for common organochlorine contaminants and dietary phytoestrogens. The DDT metabolite p,p'-DDE was found in approximately 25% of amniotic fluid samples (mean±S.D., 0.15±0.06 ng/ml) whereas the dietary phytoestrogens, genistein and or daidzein were found in 96.2% of samples tested (0.94±0.91 and 1.08±0.91 ng/ml, respectively). Our results demonstrate that: (1) human amniotic fluid is a suitable biological medium to evaluate developmental exposure to EACs, and (2) fetuses are exposed to biologically active levels of EACs in mid pregnancy.
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