AUA: Organic Pollutants Linked to Urologic Anomalies

May 20, 2008

Sons born to mothers with high serum levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) or polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) are significantly more likely to have congenital urologic anomalies, according to research presented this week at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association in Orlando, Fla.

TUESDAY, May 20 (HealthDay News) -- Sons born to mothers with high serum levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) or polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) are significantly more likely to have congenital urologic anomalies, according to research presented this week at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association in Orlando, Fla.

In one study, John J. Chen, Ph.D., of the Stony Brook University Medical Center in Stony Brook, N.Y., and colleagues analyzed serum levels of PCBs in 27 infant boys who underwent surgery for cryptorchidism and 13 controls. They also analyzed levels in all of the subjects' mothers. The investigators found that maternal levels of individual PCB congeners as well as aggregate PCBs were significantly higher in mothers of boys with cryptorchidism than in mothers of controls and correlated well with the sons' serum levels.

In a second study, John J. DeCaro, M.D., of the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed data on individuals accidentally exposed to PBBs during 1973-1974 and studied male offspring born to women with a known serum PBB level. They found that sons with an estimated maternal PBB concentration of more than 5 parts per billion at conception were nearly four times as likely to report varicocele, cryptorchidism, hypospadias and related conditions, compared with sons with an estimated maternal PBB concentration of less than 1 part per billion (odds ratio, 3.53).

"Mothers with known exposure to these enduring compounds should tell not only their own doctors but also their sons' pediatricians," Anthony Y. Smith, M.D., a spokesman for the AUA, said in a statement. "These data underscore the importance of regular 'well-baby check-ups' so that these easily treatable conditions are diagnosed promptly."

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