Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

Prenatal Exposure to PCBs, Eczema Link Confirmed

J Asthma; ePub 2017 Dec 6; Parker-Lalomio, et al

Results of a recent study support previous findings of associations of prenatal exposure to Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) with asthma, eczema/hay fever, and frequent ear infections. A retrospective cohort with at least 1 live birth and known employment time at LaSalle Electrical Utilities Company was eligible for this analysis. Exposure was defined and categorized by the number of fiscal quarters worked during the PCB era (1952–1981). A total of 288 women with 800 live births were included. Researchers found:

  • After adjustment for confounding and independent maternal predictors, 1–4 quarters of prenatal exposure to PCBs increased the odds for asthma (OR 3.24[1.30–8.09]), eczema/hay fever (OR 3.29[1.54–7.04]), and frequent ear infections (OR 2.24[1.19–4.22]) when compared with persons unexposed/exposed only to naphthalenes.
  • The significance of the associations varied by exposure period and level of exposure, with the strongest associations in those employed exclusively after 1952 when PCBs were introduced.


Parker-Lalomio M, McCann K, Piorkowski J, Freels, Persky VW. Prenatal exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls and asthma, eczema/hay fever, and frequent ear infections. [Published online ahead of print December 6, 2017]. J Asthma. doi:10.1080/02770903.2017.1396470.

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