BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Women whose partners ate Lake Ontario sport fish, known to be contaminated with residues of PCBs and pesticides, did not take longer to conceive than women whose partners didn't eat such fish, University at Buffalo researchers involved in the New York State Angler Study have found.
Many contaminants found in Great Lakes fish have been linked to adverse reproductive and developmental effects in wildlife populations that eat the fish, and these contaminants also have been found in the human male and female reproductive tracts. This is one of the first population-based studies to focus on the role of paternal contaminated-fish consumption and reproduction.
Results of the study, headed by Germaine M. Buck, Ph.D., associate professor of social and preventive medicine in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, appear in a recent issue [1999; 3926, section A 80] of Environmental Research.
"We found no evidence of an adverse effect of Lake Ontario fish consumption on risk of conception delay," Buck said. "However, the findings are relevant only for couples with a known time-to-pregnancy. Women who did not conceive, of which there were many, or who didn't know how long it took them to conceive, aren't included in this study."
The New York State Angler Study was undertaken in 1991 to determine the health consequences of eating fish from Lake Ontario, known to be the most polluted of the Great Lakes. The study has assembled a population-based cohort of licensed anglers and their spouses or partners from 16 counties surrounding Lake Ontario, involving 10,517 men and 7,477 women who were between the ages of 18 and 40 when the study began.
The sample for this investigation was composed of 785 women who had had a pregnancy between 1991-93, and for whom the investigators had complete information on paternal fish consumption and time-to-pregnancy.