Background2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) is a toxic environmental contaminant that can bioaccumulate in humans, cross the placenta, and cause immunological effects in children, including altering their risk of developing allergies. On July 10, 1976, a chemical explosion in Seveso, Italy, exposed nearby residents to a high amount of TCDD. In 1996, the Seveso Women's Health Study (SWHS) was established to study the effects of TCDD on women's health. Using data from the Seveso Second Generation Health Study, we aim to examine the effect of prenatal exposure to TCDD on the risk of atopic conditions in SWHS children born after the explosion.
MethodsIndividual-level TCDD was measured in maternal serum collected soon after the accident. In 2014, we initiated the Seveso Second Generation Health Study to follow-up the children of the SWHS cohort who were born after the explosion or who were exposed in utero to TCDD. We enrolled 677 children, and cases of atopic conditions, including eczema, asthma, and hay fever, were identified by self-report during personal interviews with the mothers and children. Log-binomial and Poisson regressions were used to determine the association between prenatal TCDD and atopic conditions.
ResultsA 10-fold increase in 1976 maternal serum TCDD (log10TCDD) was not significantly associated with asthma (adjusted relative risk (RR) = 0.93; 95% CI: 0.61, 1.40) or hay fever (adjusted RR = 0.99; 95% CI: 0.76, 1.27), but was significantly inversely associated with eczema (adjusted RR = 0.63; 95% CI: 0.40, 0.99). Maternal TCDD estimated at pregnancy was not significantly associated with eczema, asthma, or hay fever. There was no strong evidence of effect modification by child sex.
ConclusionsOur results suggest that maternal serum TCDD near the time of explosion is associated with lower risk of eczema, which supports other evidence pointing to the dysregulated immune effects of TCDD.