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A Toxics-Free Future


Reproductive Health Effects in Russian Arctic

Reproductive health effects associated with exposure to PCBs among Natives of the Russian Arctic.

Adverse impacts of 15 PCB congeners on the reproductive health status of Indigenous women and the health status of newborn children were identified for individual PCB congeners, groups of congeners with similar chemical structure, and summary PCB levels. These impacts may develop at relatively low levels of PCBs in blood serum (less than 1 µg/L). Higher levels of the majority of individual PCB congeners, all four groups of PCB congeners and summary PCBs were registered in the blood of women with low birth weight newborns, stillborn cases and newborn children with birth defects. The results were statistically significant. The study results confirm an effect on boy/girl ratios. At relatively low levels of PCBs, boy/girl ratios increase. Higher PCB levels result in growing shares of newborn girls and boy/girl ratios closer to 1.0. Analysis of effects of grouped PCB congeners demonstrates that dioxin-like congeners and other congeners-planar and non-planar ones-congeners with high and low chlorine contents may induce development of reproductive pathologies.

Health effect study of Arctic Indigenous Peoples exposed to PCBs

The North-western Centre of Hygiene and Public Health