Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1996;22(4):260-266    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.140

Dietary intake of fish contaminated with persistent organochlorine compounds in relation to low birthweight

by Rylander L, Strömberg U, Hagmar L

Objectives The purpose of this study was assess the hypothesized association between persistent organochlorine compounds through the consumption of fatty fish from the Baltic Sea (at the Swedish east coast) and low birthweight.

Materials and methods During the period 1973--1991, 72 cases of low birthweight (1500--2750 g) were selected from among infants born to fishermen's wives within a cohort from the Swedish east coast. For each case two referents were selected. The mothers were interviewed about their dietary and smoking habits and place of living during childhood and adolescence.

Results A high total current intake of fish from the Baltic Sea ( 4 meals per month) tended to increase the risk of having an infant with low birthweight [adjusted odds ratio (OR) 1.9, 95% confidence interval (95 % CI) 0.9--3.9]. The effect was more conspicuous for the boys (OR 3.4, 95% CI 1.1--11). No such effects were observed when the estimated intake of fish was considered for the period in which the infant was born. However, mothers who had grown up in a fishing village had an increased risk of having an infant with low birthweight (OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.0--4.3).

Conclusions The variable "grown up in a fishing village" can be interpreted as an indirect measure of a mother's accumulated consumption of fish from the Baltic Sea. This idea supports an association between a high consumption of contaminated fish from the Baltic Sea and an increased risk for low birthweight. The effect estimates based on the mothers' reported fish consumptions were dependent on the period under consideration and therefore were somewhat ambiguous.