Public Defence: Anteneh Desalegn

Msc Anteneh Desalegn at Institute of Health and Society will be defending the thesis “Early-life exposure to potential endocrine disrupting chemicals and adverse developmental outcomes in Norwegian children” for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).

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An electronic copy of the thesis may be ordered from the faculty up to 2 days prior to the public defence. Inquiries regarding the thesis after the public defence must be addressed to the candidate.

Trial Lecture – time and place

See Trial Lecture.

Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Professor Bruce Lanphear, Simon Fraser University
  • Second opponent: Professor Rolv Terje Lie, University of Bergen
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Associate Professor Mekdes Gebremariam, University of Oslo

Chair of the Defence

Professor emeritus Magne Nylenna, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor

Senior Scientist Merete Eggesbø, Senior Researcher, Norwegian Institute of Public Health


Humans are exposed to ever-increasing number of synthetic chemicals released into the environment. However, safety regulations often lag behind, and only a small fraction of these chemicals are extensively studied for their safety. Some of these chemicals interfere with the function of endogenous hormones, and can produce unwanted, permanent, and heritable side-effects even at low concentrations. This thesis aimed to identify chemicals associated with cryptorchidism (undescended testis) and autism among Norwegian children. The findings show that early-life exposure to background concentration of persistent chemicals (Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and organochlorine pesticide residue (β-Hexachlorocyclohexane)) that were banned decades ago in Norway still have the potential to give rise to undescended testis and autism in children. The estimated daily intake of these persistent chemicals and pesticide residues via breast milk among Norwegian children exceeds health-based guidance values agreed internationally. Though it is encouraging that their levels have been declining in Norway since the 1980s, further measures to reduce exposure, especially during critical periods such as pregnancy and early childhood, are recommended as Norwegian children continue to have the highest blood concentration of some of these persistent chemicals in Europe, perhaps due to longer duration of breastfeeding and a high rate of seafood consumption.

Additional information

Contact the research support staff.

Published May 25, 2022 9:35 AM - Last modified June 10, 2022 8:34 AM