Prenatal and childhood exposure to chlordecone and sex-typed toy preference of 7-year-old Guadeloupean children
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Chlordecone was used intensively as an insecticide in the French West Indies. Because of its high persistence, the resulting contamination of food and water has led to chronic exposure of the general population as evidenced by its presence in the blood of people of Guadeloupe, in particular in pregnant women and newborns, and in maternal breast milk. Chlordecone is recognized as a reproductive and developmental toxicant, is neurotoxic and carcinogenic in rodents, and is considered as an endocrine-disrupting compound with well-established estrogenic and progestogenic properties both in vitro and in vivo. The question arises of its potential consequences on child neurodevelopment following prenatal and childhood exposure, in particular on behavioral sexual dimorphism in childhood. We followed 116 children from the TIMOUN mother–child cohort study in Guadeloupe, who were examined at age 7. These children were invited to participate in a 7-min structured play session in which they could choose between different toys considered as feminine, masculine, or neutral. The play session was video recorded, and the percentage of the time spent playing with feminine or masculine toys was calculated. We estimated associations between playtime and prenatal exposure to chlordecone (assessed by concentration in cord blood) or childhood exposure (determined from concentrations in child blood obtained at the 7-year follow-up), taking into account confounders and co-exposures to other environmental chemicals. We used a two-group regression model to take into account sex differences in play behavior. Our results do not indicate any modification in sex-typed toy preference among 7-year-old children in relation with either prenatal or childhood exposure to chlordecone.
KeywordsChild development Sex-typed play behavior Chlordecone Endocrine-disrupting chemicals French West Indies Insecticides Organochlorine
We thank Pierrich Plusquellec for his help in the design of the play situation.
This work was supported by grants from the French General Health Directorate (DGS RMC11129NNA).
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