Parental consumption of contaminated sport fish from Lake Ontario and predicted fecundability

Germaine M. Buck, John E. Vena, Enrique F. Schisterman, Jacek Dmochowski, Pauline Mendola, Lowell E. Sever, Edward Fitzgerald, Paul Kostyniak, Hebe Greizerstein, James Olson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


Wildlife studies suggest that consumption of contaminated fish from the Great Lakes may expose humans to polychlorinated biphenyls and persistent chlorinated pesticides. To assess whether time to pregnancy or fecundability is affected, we conducted a telephone survey in 1993 with female members of the New York State Angler Cohort Study who were considering pregnancy between 1991 and 1994 (N = 2,445). Among the 1,234 (50%) women who became pregnant, 895 (73%) had a known time to pregnancy. Upon enrollment into the cohort in 1991, both partners reported duration and frequency of Lake Ontario sport fish consumption. We estimated lifetime exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls from recent consumption and used a discrete-time analog of Cox proportional hazards analysis to estimate conditional fecundability ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for fish consumption among couples with complete exposure data who discontinued birth control to become pregnant (N = 575). Maternal consumption of fish for 3-6 years was associated with reduced fecundability (fecundability ratio = 0.75; 95% CI = 0.59-0.91), as was more than a monthly fish meal in 1991 (fecundability ratio = 0.73; 95% CI = 0.54- 0.98). Our findings suggest that maternal but not paternal consumption of contaminated fish may reduce fecundability among couples attempting pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)388-393
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Angler
  • Fecundability
  • Fish consumption
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls
  • Pregnancy
  • Reproduction
  • Toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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