Women with high plasma levels of PBDE-47 are at increased risk of preterm birth

Morgan R. Peltier, Michael J. Fassett, Yuko Arita, Vicki Y. Chiu, Jiaxiao M. Shi, Harpreet S. Takhar, Ali Mahfuz, Gildy S. Garcia, Ramkumar Menon, Darios Getahun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Nearly 100% of North American women have detectable levels of flame retardants such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in their plasma. These molecules have structural homology to thyroid hormones and may function as endocrine disruptors. Thyroid dysfunction has previously been associated with increased risk for preterm birth. Therefore, we conducted a multi-center, case-cohort study to evaluate if high plasma concentrations of a common PBDE congener in the first trimester increases the risk of preterm birth and its subtypes. Pregnant women were recruited at the onset of initiation of prenatal care at Kaiser-Permanente Southern California (KPSC)-West Los Angeles and KPSC-San Diego medical centers. Plasma samples from women whose pregnancies ended preterm and random subset of those delivering at term were assayed for PBDE-47 and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) by immunoassay. Quartile cutoffs were calculated for the patients at term and used to determine if women with exposures in the 4th quartile are at increased risk for preterm birth using logistic regression. We found that high concentrations of PBDE-47 in the first trimester significantly increased the odds of both indicated (adjusted odds ratio, adjOR=2.35, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.31, 4.21) and spontaneous (adjOR=1.76, 95% CI: 1.02, 3.03) preterm birth. Regardless of pregnancy outcome, TSH concentrations did not differ between women with high and low concentrations of PBDE-47. These results suggest that high plasma concentrations of PBDE-47 in the first trimester, increases the risk of indicated and spontaneous preterm birth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)439-447
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of perinatal medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • endocrine disruptor
  • environmental toxins
  • flame retardant
  • polybrominated diphenyl ether
  • preterm birth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Women with high plasma levels of PBDE-47 are at increased risk of preterm birth'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this