Recent evidence suggests that exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) increases the risk of hypertension in environmentally exposed populations. High POP levels have been detected in Arctic populations and the exposure is related to high consumption of fish and marine mammals, which represent the traditional diet of these populations.
We examined the associations between polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), organochlorine (OC) pesticides and hypertension among Inuit from Nunavik (Quebec, Canada).
A complete set of data was obtained for 315 Inuit=18years who participated in the "Santé Québec" health survey that was conducted in the 14 villages of Nunavik in 1992. Fourteen polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and 8 OC pesticides or their metabolites were measured in plasma samples using gas chromatography with electron capture detection. Blood pressure (BP) was measured using a standardized protocol and information regarding anti-hypertensive medication was obtained through questionnaires. The associations between log-transformed POPs and hypertension (systolic BP=140mmHg, diastolic BP=90mmHg or anti-hypertensive medication) were analyzed using multiple logistic regressions.
Total PCBs as well as the sum of non-dioxin-like PCBs were significantly associated with higher risk of hypertension. Furthermore, the risk of hypertension increased with higher plasma concentrations of congeners 101, 105, 138 and 187. Models adjusted for BP risk factors became significant after including n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and further adjustment for lead and mercury did not change the results. Regarding OC pesticides, p,p'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p,p'-DDE) was associated with increased risk of hypertension while inverse associations were observed with p,p'-dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (p,p'-DDT), ß-hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) and oxychlordane.
Some PCB congeners were associated with higher risk of hypertension in this highly exposed population. Most associations became significant after including n-3 PUFAs in the models. However, the analyses of OC pesticides revealed divergent results, which need to be confirmed in further cohort and experimental studies.
Dioxins, furans, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxin-like and non-dioxin-like, have been linked to alterations in puberty.
We examined the association of peripubertal serum levels of these compounds [and their toxic equivalents (TEQs)] with pubertal onset and maturity among Russian boys enrolled at ages 8-9 years and followed prospectively through ages 17-18 years.
At enrollment, 473 boys had serum dioxin-like compounds and PCBs measured. At the baseline visit and annually until age 17-18 years, a physician performed pubertal staging [genitalia (G), pubarche (P), and testicular volume (TV)]. Three hundred fifteen subjects completed the follow-up visit at 17-18 years of age. Pubertal onset was defined as TV > 3 mL, G2, or P2. Sexual maturity was defined as TV = 20 mL, G5, or P5. Multivariable interval-censored models were used to evaluate associations of lipid-standardized concentrations with pubertal timing.
Medians (interquartile ranges) of the sum of dioxin-like compounds, TEQs, and non-dioxin-like PCBs were 362 pg/g lipid (279-495), 21.1 pg TEQ/g lipid (14.4-33.2), and 250 ng/g lipid (164-395), respectively. In adjusted models, the highest compared to lowest TEQ quartile was associated with later pubertal onset [TV = 11.6 months (95% CI: 3.8, 19.4); G2 = 10.1 months (95% CI: 1.4, 18.8)] and sexual maturity [TV = 11.6 months (95% CI: 5.7, 17.6); G5 = 9.7 months (95% CI: 3.1, 16.2)]. However, the highest compared to the lowest quartile of non-dioxin-like PCBs, when co-adjusted by TEQs, was associated with earlier pubertal onset [TV = -8.3 months (95% CI:-16.2, -0.3)] and sexual maturity [TV = -6.3 months (95% CI:-12.2, -0.3); G5 = -7.2 months (95% CI:-13.8, -0.6)]; the non-dioxin-like PCB associations were only significant when adjusted for TEQs. TEQs and PCBs were not significantly associated with pubic hair development.
Our results suggest that TEQs may delay, while non-dioxin-like PCBs advance, the timing of male puberty. Citation: Burns JS, Lee MM, Williams PL, Korrick SA, Sergeyev O, Lam T, Revich B, Hauser R. 2016. Associations of peripubertal serum dioxin and polychlorinated biphenyl concentrations with pubertal timing among Russian boys. Environ Health Perspect 124:1801-1807; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/EHP154.
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In animal experiments, persistent organic pollutants (POPs) have induced visceral obesity. To address this possibility in humans, we evaluated associations between POPs and abdominal obesity both cross-sectionally and prospectively.
Twenty-one plasma POPs (16 polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners, 3 organochlorine (OC) pesticides, 1 brominated diphenyl ether (BDE), and 1 dioxin) were measured at baseline in 970 participants aged 70 years of the Prospective Investigation of the Vasculature in Uppsala Seniors (PIVUS), with prospective analyses in 511 participants re-examined after 5 years. Abdominal obesity was defined by an increased waist circumference.
In the cross-sectional analyses, concentrations of the less chlorinated PCBs, OC pesticides such as p,p'-DDE and dioxin had adjusted odds ratios of 2 to 3 for abdominal obesity. Many relations had inverted U-shapes rather than being linear, particularly in women. In contrast, concentrations of highly chlorinated PCBs were strongly inversely associated with abdominal obesity. In a single model including summary measures of the less chlorinated PCBs, highly chlorinated PCBs, and OC pesticides, both the positive associations and inverse associations strengthened. Similar but somewhat weaker associations were seen between POPs and risk of development of abdominal obesity in the prospective analyses.
Using both a cross-sectional and a prospective design, low-dose exposure to less chlorinated PCBs, p,p'-DDE, and dioxin, were associated with existence or development of abdominal obesity, while highly chlorinated PCBs had an opposite association in an elderly population, despite the previous observation of higher incident diabetes associated with these same PCBs.
Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) are a huge group of chemicals that have been linked to various adverse health effects in humans. Large epidemiological studies investigating gender differences in levels of POPs in the elderly are limited and the results from these are not always consistent. The present study was undertaken to examine the background levels of a broad range of POPs in human plasma samples among elderly men and women from Sweden and to assess the influence of gender. Levels of 23 POPs were determined in plasma samples collected during 2001-2004 from 1016 (50.2% women) 70year-old participants from the population-based Prospective Study of the Vasculature in Uppsala Seniors (PIVUS). Measurements were performed using high resolution gas chromatography with high resolution mass spectrometry (HRGC-HRMS) and the POPs studied were 16 polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), five organochlorine (OC) pesticides, one dioxin, and one brominated flame retardant. The concentrations of the selected POPs were found similar, or comparable, to other studies of non-occupationally exposed populations from Sweden and Europe. Differences in levels of POPs between men and women were assessed by using Wilcoxon rank-sum (Mann-Whitney) test. Significant (p
Greenlandic Inuit have high body burden of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). We analyzed the combined effect of the actual lipophilic serum POP mixture on estrogen-, androgen- and aryl hydrocarbon-receptor functions as effect biomarkers, and the associations between the effect biomarkers and serum POPs, and lifestyle characteristics. The serum POPs were extracted from 232 Inuit from Ittoqqortoormiit, Narsaq and Qeqertarsuaq. The POP-related receptor transactivities correlated negatively to the POP levels and were associated to the lifestyle characteristics. The POP-related receptor transactivities can be used as effect biomarkers. The serum POPs have hormone disruptive potentials.
In studies of the potential health effects of background-level exposure to organochlorine compounds (e.g., polychlorinated biphenyls, polychlorinated dibenzodioxins, and polychlorinated dibenzofurans), investigators have often measured either polychlorinated biphenyls or polychlorinated dibenzodioxins/polychlorinated dibenzofuransbut not both. We measured polychlorinated biphenyls (including specific non-, mono-, and di-ortho congeners) and specific polychlorinated dibenzodioxins/dibenzofurans among 63 Canadian blood donors. Levels of these compounds were, in general, fairly correlated. For example, Pearson's correlation coefficient between log total polychlorinated biphenyl and log total polychlorinated dibenzodioxins was .52. These results suggest that in epidemiologic studies of health effects of background-level exposures to these compounds, the quantitative dose-response relation observed for a given compound (or class of compounds acting through a similar mechanism) may easily be miscalibrated or confounded.
Animal data demonstrate associations of dioxin, furan, and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) exposures with altered male gonadal maturation. It is unclear whether these associations apply to human populations.
We investigated the association of dioxins, furans, PCBs, and corresponding toxic equivalent (TEQ) concentrations with pubertal onset among boys in a dioxin-contaminated region.
Between 2003 and 2005, 499 boys 8-9 years of age were enrolled in a longitudinal study in Chapaevsk, Russia. Pubertal onset [stage 2 or higher for genitalia (G2+) or testicular volume (TV) > 3 mL] was assessed annually between ages 8 and 12 years. Serum levels at enrollment were analyzed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. We used Cox proportional hazards models to assess age at pubertal onset as a function of exposure adjusted for potential confounders. We conducted sensitivity analyses excluding boys with pubertal onset at enrollment.
The median (range) total serum TEQ concentration was 21 (4-175) pg/g lipid, approximately three times higher than values in European children. At enrollment, boys were generally healthy and normal weight (mean body mass index, 15.9 kg/m2), with 30% having entered puberty by G2+ and 14% by TV criteria. Higher dioxin TEQs were associated with later pubertal onset by TV (hazard ratio = 0.68, 95% confidence interval, 0.49-0.95 for the highest compared with the lowest quartile). Similar associations were observed for 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin and dioxin concentrations for TV but not G2+. Results were robust to sensitivity analyses.
Findings support an association of higher peripubertal serum dioxin TEQs and concentrations with later male pubertal onset reflected in delayed testicular maturation.
Cites: Environ Health Perspect. 2003 May;111(5):737-4112727603
Unit of Cellular & Molecular Toxicology, Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine, Institute of Public Health, University of Aarhus, Vennelyst Boulevard 6, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark. firstname.lastname@example.org
Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) such as polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins/furans, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and organochlorine pesticides can cause a series of adverse effects on e.g. reproduction in animals and humans, many of which involve the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR). The aim of the present study was to compare the integrated serum level of AhR mediated activity among European and Inuit populations, and evaluate whether the activity was associated to the selected POP markers, 2,2',4,4',5,5'-hexachlorobiphenyl (CB-153) and 1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)-ethylene (p,p'-DDE).
The study included 338 males from Greenland (Inuit's), Sweden, Warsaw (Poland) and Kharkiv (Ukraine). The AhR transactivity of serum extracts alone (AhRag) and competitive AhR activity (AhRcomp) upon co-exposure with 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) were determined in the lipophilic serum fraction containing the POPs using the AhR mediated luciferase reporter Hepa1.12cR cell assay.
The European groups showed higher median level of AhR-TEQ (TCDD toxic equivalents) compared to the Inuit's, whereas higher incidence of Inuits sample further induced AhRcomp activity. Neither AhRag nor AhR-TEQ were correlated to CB-153 or p,p'-DDE for any of the study groups. Multiple regressions showed a significant heterogeneity of association between the CB-153 and the AhRcomp across the study groups, and accordingly a negative association between AhRcomp and CB-153 was found for the Kharkiv group.
No consistent correlation between AhR activities and two POP markers was found. Although the difference of AhRag between European and Inuit men could not be explained by CB-153 or p,p'-DDE levels alone, we believe that the variation of AhR serum activity reflects different pattern of POP exposure, genetics and/or life style factors.
The aim of this study was to identify dietary predictors of plasma dioxin-like activity in women from the Danish National Birth Cohort. Associations between exposure and birth weight and infant development at 6 months were also explored. Diet was assessed in mid-pregnancy by a food-frequency questionnaire. One hundred nulliparous 25-35-year-old women of normal pre-pregnancy body-mass-index were chosen according to their intake of fatty fish, as fatty fish is a potential route of exposure. Intake of other foods of animal origin was also explored. Dioxin-like activity was measured in plasma using the Dioxin-Responsive Chemically Activated LUciferase eXpression (DR-CALUX) and quantified in toxic equivalents (CALUX-TEQs). Information on infant attainment of specific milestones was obtained by maternal report in a standardized interview. The sample mean was 46 pg CALUX-TEQ/g lipid. Plasma dioxin-like activity increased by 10.7 pg CALUX-TEQ/g lipid (95% CI: 1.8; 19.7) for the highest compared to the lowest tertile of total dietary fat intake but decreased by -9.8 pg CALUX-TEQ/g lipid (95% CI: -19.4; -0.2) for fatty fish intake. The inverse association for fatty fish was explained by lower intake of high-fat food groups such as red meat, fats and oils, which were also predictors of dioxin-like activity. Plasma dioxin-like activity was not associated with birth weight, but an inverse correlation was observed with total developmental score (Spearman r=-0.23, p=0.046). Our study indicates that dietary patterns associated with high fat intake may lead to increased plasma dioxin-like activity and in utero exposure might be related to early infant development.
Aboriginal populations living in Canada's northern regions are exposed to a number of persistent organic pollutants through their traditional diet which includes substantial amounts of predator fish species. Exposure to dioxin-like compounds (DLCs) can cause a variety of toxic effects including adverse effects on bone tissue. This descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted to investigate the relationship between plasma concentrations of DLCs and bone quality parameters in Cree women of Eastern James Bay (Canada).
Two hundred and forty-nine Cree women from seven communities in Eastern James Bay (Canada), aged 35 to 74 years old, participated in the study. In order to determine the total DLC concentration in plasma samples of participants, we measured the aryl hydrocarbon receptor-mediated transcriptional activity elicited by plasma sample extracts using a luciferase reporter gene assay. Plasma concentrations of mono-ortho-substituted dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (DL-PCBs) 105, 118 and 156 were measured by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Bone quality parameters (speed of sound, m/s; broadband ultrasound attenuation, dB/MHz; stiffness index, %) were assessed by quantitative ultrasound at the right calcaneus with the Achilles InSight system. Several factors known to be associated with osteoporosis were documented by questionnaire. Multiple linear regression models were constructed for the three ultrasound parameters.
DL-PCBs 105 and 118 concentrations, but not the global DLC concentration, were inversely associated with the stiffness index, even after adjusting for several confounding factors. The stiffness index (log) decreased by -0.22% (p=0.0414) and -0.04% (p=0.0483) with an increase of one µg/L in plasma concentrations of DL-PCB 105 and DL-PCB 118, respectively. Other factors, including age, height, smoking status, menopausal status and the percentage of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in erythrocyte membranes were negatively associated with one of the ultrasound parameters, while the percentage of omega-3 PUFAs in these membranes and levels of physical activity and education were positively associated with them.
Our results show that an increase in plasma concentrations of DL-PCBs 105 and 118 was negatively associated with stiffness index, a measure of bone quality/strength, in women of this population. In addition to environmental contaminants, future studies should also consider PUFA intake as a factor influencing bone quality.
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