Our objective was to explore the thyroid hormones (TH), and problems related to polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants exposure in children in an electronic waste recycling town of Guiyu. We determined blood PBDE levels, by gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry, in 145 children, aged four to six years old, from Guiyu, China. Three THs were also measured. The geometric mean (95 percent CI) of the total PBDE (∑PBDE) was 162.98 (141.25-186.21) ng/g lipid for Guiyu children. The concentration of ∑PBDE exceeded 100ng/g lipid of Guiyu children was 79 percent (115 children). The serum free T3 (median 5.73, range 3.80-7.71 pmol/L) and serum free T4 (median 15.91, range 8.89-22.45 pmol/L) in high PBDE exposure group (300.1-583.0 ng/g lipid of ∑PBDEs) were lower than in the control group (0-100.0 ng/g lipid of ∑PBDEs), and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) in high PBDE exposure group was higher than in the control (all P< 0.05). The TH levels were correlated with most of the PBDE concentrations. Residence adjacent to e-waste workshops, as determined by the questionnaire, was an independent predictor of the free T3 levels, and the house as a family workshop was a significant predictor of the free T4 (all P<0.05). Residence adjacent to e-waste workshops and the house as a family workshop were associated with serum TSH (all P< 0.05). These results suggest that elevated child PBDE levels in Guiyu, may threaten child health, with implications for altered child TH levels, due to informal e-waste recycling activities.

Junxiao Liu, Xijin Xu, Yuanping Wang, Qiongna Xiao, Xia Huo .


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  • Received: 16 May 2012
  • Accepted: 16 May 2012
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