Polychlorobiphenyl congeners,p,p′-DDE, and sperm function in humans

  • Brian Bush
  • Alan H. Bennett
  • John T. Snow


170 seminal samples from fertile men, men with idiopathic oligospermia or azoospermia and men status post vasectomy were analyzed for 74 polychlorobiphenyl (PCB) congeners,p,p′-DDE, mirex, and hexachlorobenzene using the technique of glass capillary gas chromatography with electron capture detection. Low concentrations of 32 PCB congeners were measured (mean total PCB residue of 5.8 ng/g wet weight). The application of multiple linear regression analysis to the data is described and the result is critically evaluated. There is a correlation between sperm motility and count. There are indications that the concentrations of three PCB congeners (2,4,5,2′4′5′- and 2,4,5,2′3′4′-hexachlorobiphenyl and 2,4,5,3′4′-pentachlorobiphenyl) are inversely correlated with sperm motility index in samples with a sperm count less than 20 million cells/ml. The implications of the discerned associations are discussed.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ballschmitter K, Zell M (1980) Analysis of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) by glass capillary gas chromatography. Fresinius J Anal Chem 302:20–31Google Scholar
  2. Bennett AH, Rivard DJ (1983) Semen: The normal analysis, storage techniques and new concepts. Volume II. American Medical Association Update Series, Lesson 7. American Urological Association, Houston, TexasGoogle Scholar
  3. Bleavins MF, Aulerich RJ, Bleavins MR, Ringer PK (1980) Polychlorinated biphenyls (Aroclors 1016 and 1242): Effects on survival and reproduction in minks and ferrets. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 9:627Google Scholar
  4. Bush B, Tumasonis CF, Baker RD (1974) Toxicity and persistence of PCB homologs and isomers in the avian system. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 2:195–209Google Scholar
  5. Bush B, Snow JT, Connor S (1983a) High resolution gas chromatographic analysis of nonpolar chlorinated hydrocarbons in human milk. J Assoc Offic Anal Chem 66:248Google Scholar
  6. Bush B, Snow JT, Connor S, Rueckert L, Han Y, Dymerski P, Hilker D (1983b) Mirex in human milk in upstate New York. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 12:739–746Google Scholar
  7. Bush B, Lo F-C, Baker FD, Tumasonis CF, Therriault G, Zdeb M (1983c) Chronic toxicity studies of crude organic chemical pollutants, illustrated by studies with Aroclor 1254. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 12:221–226Google Scholar
  8. Bush B, Snow J, Koblintz R (1984) Polychlorobiphenyl (PCB) congeners,p,p′-DDE, and hexachlorobenzene in maternal and fetal cord blood from mothers in upstate New York. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 13:517–527Google Scholar
  9. Bush B, Snow J, Connor S, Koblintz R (1985) Polychlorinated biphenyl congeners,p,p′-DDE and hexachlorobenzene in human milk in three areas of Upstate New York. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 14:443–450Google Scholar
  10. Call DJ, Harrell BE (1974) Effects of dieldrin and polychlorinated biphenyls upon the production and morphology of Japanese quail eggs. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 11:70Google Scholar
  11. Cecil HC, Bitman JB, Lillie RJ, Fries GF (1974) Embryotoxic and teratogenic effects in unhatched fertile eggs from hens fed polychlorinated biphenyls. Bull of Environ Contam Toxicol 11:489Google Scholar
  12. Cordle F, Locke R, Springer J (1982) Risk assessment in a Federal Regulatory Agency: an assessment of risk associated with the human consumption of some species of fish contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Environ Health Persp 7:171–182Google Scholar
  13. Dillon JC, Martin GB, O'Brien HT (1981) Pesticides in human milk. Food Cosmet Toxicol 19:437–442Google Scholar
  14. Dixon WJ (Chief Editor) (1981) BMDP Statistical Software. University of California Press, Berkeley, CAGoogle Scholar
  15. Dougherty RC, Whitaker MJ, Tang SY, Bottcher R, Keller M, Kuehl DW (1980) Sperm density and toxic substances: A potential key to environmental health hazards. Environ Health Chem 13:263Google Scholar
  16. Forgue ST, Allen JR (1982) Identification of an arene oxide metabolite of 2,2′,5,5′-tetrachlorobiphenyl by gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy. Chem Biol Interact 40:233–285Google Scholar
  17. Frank R, Thomas RL, Holdrinet M, Kemp ALW, Braun HE (1979) Organochlorine insecticides and PCB in surficial sediments (1968) and sediment cores (1976) from Lake Ontario. J Great Lakes Res 5:18–27Google Scholar
  18. Gierthy JF, Crane D (1985) In vitro-bioassay for dioxin-like activity based on alterations in epithelial cell proliferation and morphology. Fundam Appl Toxicol 5:754–759Google Scholar
  19. Glass RI, Lynn RN (1979) Sperm count depression in pesticide applicators exposed to DBCP. Am J Epidemiol 109:346Google Scholar
  20. Horn EG, Hetling LJ, Tofflemire TJ (1979) The problem of PCBs in the Hudson River system. Ann NY Acad Sci 320:591–609Google Scholar
  21. Kimbrough RD (1981) Chronic toxicity of halogenated biphenyls and related compounds in animals and health effects in humans. In: Khan MHQ, Stanton RH (eds) Toxicology of halogenated hydrocarbons: health and ecological effects. Pergamon Press, New York, pp 23–37Google Scholar
  22. Kosutsky J, Adamec J, Bobakova E (1979) Effects of polychlorinated biphenyls in poultry reproduction. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 21:737Google Scholar
  23. Kreiss K, Sack MM, Kimbrough RD, Needham LL, Smrek AL, Jones BT (1981) Cross-sectional study of a community with exceptional exposure to DDT. J Am Med Assoc 45:1926–1930Google Scholar
  24. Kuroki H, Masuda Y (1977) Structure and concentrations of the main components of polychlorinated biphenyls retained in patients with Yusho. Chemosphere 8:469–474Google Scholar
  25. Maroni M, Colombi A (1981) Occupational exposure to PCB in electrical workers: environmental and blood PCB levels. Br J Ind Med 38:49Google Scholar
  26. Masuda Y, Yoshimura H (1982) Chemical analysis of polychlorinated biphenyls and dibenzofuran in relation to Yusho. J Toxicol Sci 12:161–175Google Scholar
  27. McLane MAR, Hughes DL (1980) Reproductive success of screech owls fed Aroclor 1248. Arch Environ Contarn Toxicol 9:661Google Scholar
  28. Mes J, Doyle JA, Adams BR, Davies DJ, Turton D (1984) Polychlorinated biphenyls and organochlorine pesticides in milk and blood of Canadian women during lactation. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 13:217–223Google Scholar
  29. Mitchell DG, Garden JS (1982) Measuring and maximizing precision in analysis based on use of calibration graphs. Talanta 29:921–929Google Scholar
  30. Needham LL (1981) Polychlorinated biphenyl determination at parts-per-billion level in serum. In: CDC Laboratory Update 81-108, US Department of Health and Human Services, Atlanta, GeorgiaGoogle Scholar
  31. Norstrom RJ, Gilman AP, Hallet DJ (1981) Total organically bound chlorine and bromine in Lake Ontario Herring Gull Eggs, 1977, by instrumental, neutron activation and Chromatographic methods. Sci Total Environ 20:217–230Google Scholar
  32. O'Keefe PW, Meyer C, Hilker D, Aldous K, Jelus-Tyror, Dillon K, Donnelley R, Horn E, Sloan R (1983) Analysis of 2,3,7,8-tetrachloro-dibenzo-p-dioxin in Great Lakes fish. Chemosphere 12:325–332Google Scholar
  33. Parkinson A, Safe SH, Robertson LW, Thomas PE, Ryan DE, Reik LM, Levin W (1983) Immunochemical quantitation of cytochrome P-450 isozymes and epoxide hydrolase in liver microsomes from polychlorinated or polybrominated bi-phenyl-treated rats. J Biol Chem 258:5967–5976Google Scholar
  34. Potashnik G, Yani-Inbar, Sacks MI, Israeli R. (1979) Effects of DBCP on human testicular function. Isr J Med Sci 15:438Google Scholar
  35. Rogan WJ, Bagniewska A, Danstra T (1980) Pollutants in breast milk. New England J Med 302:1450–3Google Scholar
  36. Rogan JR, Gladen BC, McKinney JD, Carreras N, Hardy P, Thullen J, Tinglestat J, Tully M (1986) Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dichlorodiphenyl dichloroethene (DDE) in human milk: effects of maternal factors and previous lactation. Am J Public Health 76:172–177Google Scholar
  37. Sager DB (1983) Effects of potential exposure to PCBs on adult male reproductive function. Environ Res 31:76–94Google Scholar
  38. Savage EP, Keefe TJ, Tessari JD, Wheeler HW, Applehaus FM, Goes EA, Ford SA (1981) National study of chlorinated hydrocarbon insecticide residues in human milk. I. Geographic distribution of dieldrin, heptachlor, heptachlor epoxide, chlordane, oxychlordane and mirex. Am J Epidemiol 113:413Google Scholar
  39. Schwartz PM, Jacobsen SW, Fein G, Jacobson JL, Price HA (1983) Lake Michigan fish consumption as a source of polychlorinated biphenyls in fetal cord serum, maternal serum and milk. Am J Public Health 73:293–6Google Scholar
  40. Seegal RF, Bush B, Brosch KO (1985) Polychlorinated biphenyls induce regional changes in brain norepinephrin concentrations in adult rat. Neurotoxicol 6:13–24Google Scholar
  41. Sissons D, Welti D (1971) Structural identification of polychlorinated biphenyls in commercial mixtures by gas chromatography. J Chromatogr 60:15–32Google Scholar
  42. Spagnoli J, Skinner L (1977) PCBs in fish from selected waters of New York State, Pest Monit J 11:69–87Google Scholar
  43. Todd-Sanford (1962) Clinical diagnosis by laboratory methods. Sohn D, Henry (eds) 14th Edition, WB Saunders, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, p 1203Google Scholar
  44. Tuistra LGMT, Traag WA, Keukens HJ (1980) Qualitative determination of individual chlorinated biphenyls in milk fat by splitless glass capillary gas chromatography. J Assoc Offic Anal Chem 63:952–958Google Scholar
  45. Waliszewski SM, Szymczynski GA (1983) Determination of selected chlorinated pesticides, bound and free, in human semen. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 12:577–580Google Scholar
  46. Whorton D, Milby TH, Krauss RM, Stubbs HA (1979) Testicular function in DBCP exposed workers. J Occup Med 21:161Google Scholar
  47. Whorton D, Milby TH (1980) Recovery of testicular function among DBCP workers. J Occup Med 22:177Google Scholar
  48. Wolfe MS, Thornton J, Fischbein A, Likis R, Selikoff IJ (1982) Disposition of polychlorinated biphenyl congeners in occupationally exposed persons. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 62:294–306Google Scholar
  49. Wonnacott TH, Wonnacott RJ (1977) Introductory statistics, 3rd Edition. John Wiley, New York, p 432Google Scholar
  50. Yakushiji T, Watawabe I, Kowabara K, Yoshida S (1978) Identification of low chlorinated biphenyls in human milk by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. J Chromatogr 154:203–210Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian Bush
    • 1
  • Alan H. Bennett
    • 2
  • John T. Snow
  1. 1.New York State Department of HealthWadsworth Center for Laboratories and ResearchAlbany
  2. 2.Albany Medical CollegeUnion UniversityAlbany

Personalised recommendations