Previous Press Releases

Environmental chemicals are transferred from the mother to her child
Using an extensive set of samples collected from Cohort 3, analyses of 87 environmental chemicals showed that they almost without exception are transferred from the mother’s blood circulation to the child. The transfer can happen during the intrauterine development by transplacental passage, or it may happen by excretion into human milk. In general, concentrations were lower in cord blood than in the mother’s blood, and a decreased transfer was seen at higher chlorination of PCBs and dioxins, thus perhaps indicating that larger molecular size results in slower transfer. However, methylmercury uniquely occurs in a higher concentration in the cord blood than in maternal blood. Some environmental chemicals, such as lindane, appear to occur in surprisingly high concentrations in the fetal circulation, and these findings will hopefully inspire further research in this field. The study also included analyses of fetal tissue from the placenta and the umbilical cord. These tissues have not been used much in past studies, but concentrations for most substances show excellent correlations with those in maternal or cord blood. Transplacental and lactational transfer of environmental chemicals is important from a health perspective, as these substances may cause developmental toxicity that may affect organ functions and future disease risks. The study has been published in Environmental Science & Technology (PDF). Because the partition ratios between the different types of samples may be used for conversion of data from other studies, the raw data are made available here. (Excel)

Grandjean receives Odd Fellow Research Award for 2010
The Odd Fellow Order has awarded its prestigious Research Award for 2010 (DKK 500,000) to Professor Philippe Grandjean for his research on environmentally-induced diseases.

Best paper award – Esben Budtz-Joergensen, PhD, Associate Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Copenhagen, won the award for the best article published by Annals of Epidemiology in 2007. Esben received the award at a ceremony at the annual meeting of the American College of Epidemiology in 2008. The article uses data from the Faroese birth Cohort 1 to compare different approaches to the section of covariates for confounder adjustment in multiple regression analyses. The commonly used backward elimination was found to be suboptimal. The same applies to the change-in-estimate method. The full model provided a result with better precision. Interestingly, the method used for identifying confounders in the first report on mercury neurotoxicity in Cohort 1 (published in NTT in 1997) was found to be of excellent precision.

Budtz-Joergensen E, Keiding N, Grandjean P, Weihe P. Confounder Selection in Environmental Epidemiology: Assessment of Health Effects of Prenatal Mercury Exposure. Ann Epidemiol 2007; 17: 27-35.

Links to important documents

Recommendations to the Government of the Faroe Islands concerning the pilot whale, English translation released 1 December, 2008

Prenatal Exposure to Mercury From a Maternal Diet High in Seafood Can Irreversibly Impair Certain Brain Functions in Children Friday, February 6, 2004 

Philippe Grandjean’s testimony at mercury hearing in Maine