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Sex ratio of the offspring of New Zealand phenoxy herbicide producers exposed to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin

  • Author(s): Mannetje, AT
  • Eng, A
  • Walls, C
  • Dryson, E
  • Kogevinas, M
  • Brooks, C
  • McLean, D
  • Cheng, S
  • Smith, AH
  • Pearce, N
  • et al.
Abstract

© 2017, BMJ. All rights reserved. Objectives: Exposure to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) has inconsistently been associated with a decreased sex ratio of the offspring (number of male births divided by total births). We conducted a study among men and women who were employed in a New Zealand phenoxy herbicide production plant between 1969 and 1984, to study their offspring sex ratio in relation to their back-calculated TCDD serum concentrations determined in 2007/2008. Methods: A total of 127 men and 21 women reported that 355 children were conceived after starting employment at the plant. The association between their lipid-standardised TCDD serum concentrations back-calculated to the time of their offspring's birth and the probability of a male birth was estimated through logistic regression, adjusting for the age of the exposed parent at birth, current body mass index and smoking. Results: The overall sex ratio was 0.55 (197 boys, 158 girls). For fathers with serum TCDD concentrations ≥20 pg/g lipid at time of birth, the sex ratio was 0.47 (OR 0.49; 95% CI 0.30 to 0.79). The probability of a male birth decreased with higher paternal serum TCDD at time of birth (<4; 4-20; 20-100; ≥100 pg/g lipid), with ORs of 1.00 (reference); 1.00 (95% CI 0.50 to 2.02); 0.52 (95% CI 0.29 to 0.92); 0.45 (95% CI 0.23 to 0.89), p trend 0.007. For exposed mothers, the sex ratio was not reduced. Conclusions: This study indicates that paternal serum TCDD concentrations in excess of an estimated 20 pg/g lipid at time of conception are associated with a reduced sex ratio.

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