Internal exposure to pollutants and body size in Flemish adolescents and adults: Associations and dose-response relationships

Department of Endocrinology, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium.
Environment international (Impact Factor: 5.56). 02/2010; 36(4):330-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.envint.2010.01.005
Source: PubMed


Flanders is densely populated with much industry and intensive farming. Body size of 14- to 15-year old adolescents and of adults aged 50-65 was studied in relation to internal exposure to pollutants. 1679 adolescents (887 boys and 792 girls), 775 men and 808 women were selected as a random sample of the population. Concentrations of pollutants in blood or urine were measured in accordance with quality control/quality assurance procedures. Self-assessment questionnaires provided information on personal and life-style factors. Height and weight of subjects were measured. Confounding factors and significant covariates were taken into account. For boys and girls, height and body mass index (BMI) showed a negative association with urinary concentration of cadmium and BMI also with serum concentration of hexachlorobenzene (HCB) and with the sum of serum concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) 138, 153, and 180 (marker PCBs), whereas BMI showed a positive association with serum concentration of PCB 118. For boys, height showed a negative association with urinary concentration of 1-hydroxypyrene (1-OHP) and positive associations with serum concentrations of HCB and PCB 118. For adults no significant associations between internal exposure and height were observed. For men, BMI showed negative associations with urinary cadmium concentration and with serum levels of marker PCBs and positive associations with serum levels of HCB, p,p'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p,p'-DDE), PCB 118 and the dioxin fraction of dioxin-like activity. For women, BMI showed a negative association with urinary cadmium concentration, with blood lead concentration and with the concentration of marker PCBs in serum, and a positive association with serum concentrations of HCB, p,p'-DDE and PCB 118. Associations between biological effects and internal exposures were, in terms of the regression coefficient, often stronger at exposures below the median. Environmental exposures to pollutants resulting in "normal" levels of internal exposure were associated with quite substantial differences in body mass index.

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Available from: Kim Croes, May 07, 2014
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    • "Although their use was banned in most countries several decades ago, DDTs and PCBs are still found at considerable levels in human adipose tissue due to their earlier widespread use and persistency [1] [2] [3]. Studies have reported an association between obesity and plasma levels of certain PCBs and pesticides [4] [5] [6] [7], suggesting a possible relationship between POP exposure and the current obesity epidemic as well as type 2 diabetes [7] [8] [9] [10]. However, a causal relationship between POP exposure and obesity development has not yet been demonstrated, and conflicting data have been reported [11] [12] [13] [14]. "
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    • "A similar pattern was observed with our data, with PCB concentrations decreasing with increasing BMI (Table 2a). Accumulation in body fat deposits in those subjects with a higher BMI is one of the likely causes for this negative association (Dhooge et al., 2010). One of our critical concerns is to determine how much human serum PCB levels have decreased since the ban. "
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    ABSTRACT: This manuscript presents the levels of six indicator polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners (IUPAC nos. 28, 52, 101, 138, 153 and 180) in the serum of 1880 individuals from a representative sample of the Spanish working population recruited between March 2009 and July 2010. Three out of the six PCBs studied (180, 153 and 138) were quantified in more than 99% of participants. PCB 180 was the highest contributor, followed by PCBs 153 and 138, with relative abundances of 42.6%, 33.2% and 24.2%, respectively. In contrast, PCBs 28 and 52 were detected in only 1% of samples, whereas PCB 101 was detectable in 6% of samples. The geometric mean (GM) for ΣPCBs138/153/180 was 135.4 ng/g lipid (95% CI: 121.3–151.2 ng/g lipid) and the 95th percentile was 482.2 ng/g lipid. Men had higher PCB blood concentrations than women (GMs 138.9 and 129.9 ng/g lipid respectively). As expected, serum PCB levels increased with age and frequency of fish consumption, particularly in those participants younger than 30 years of age. The highest levels we found were for participants from the Basque Country, whereas the lowest concentrations were found for those from the Canary Islands. The Spanish population studied herein had similar levels to those found previously in Greece and southern Italy, lower levels than those in France and central Europe, and higher PCB levels than those in the USA, Canada and New Zealand. This paper provides the first baseline information regarding PCB exposure in the Spanish adult population on a national scale. The results will allow us to establish reference levels, follow temporal trends and identify high-exposure groups, as well as monitor implementation of the Stockholm Convention in Spain.
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    • "Adolescents (14–15 yr) were already included in the biomonitoring program of the first Flemish Environment and Health Study (FLEHS I), performed between 2002 and 2006. However, only lipophilic compounds, such polychlorinated biphenyls and organochlorinated pesticides, were measured in serum and were correlated with various health effects, including endocrinedisrupting effects (Croes et al., 2009; Dhooge et al., 2010). During the second Flemish Environment and Health Study (FLEHS II), performed between 2007 and 2012, new chemicals were added in the biomonitoring program including personal care products (Den Hond et al., 2013), BPA and phthalates. "
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