High Blood Levels of Environmental Pollutant Linked to Premature Death
There is a correlation between high levels of PCBs in the blood and premature death. It shows a new interdisciplinary study.
The study is one in the line from a more than ten-year interdisciplinary collaboration between the professors Lars Lind and Monica Lind at Uppsala University and the Academic Hospital as well as environmental chemists at Örebro University, which show health risks with PCBs even though they have been banned long ago.
PCBs (Polychlorinated biphenyls) are a group of environmental pollutants that are subject to restrictions in many countries and the prohibitions have led to lower levels of PCBs in the environment. But when these substances are broken down very slowly and stored in fatty tissue, they are still present in animals and humans. Especially PCBs with many chlorine atoms in the molecule remain in the blood of most Swedes.
The so-called PIVUS study comprises more than 1,000 randomly selected 70-year-olds in Uppsala who have been followed for a long time. In the current study, levels of PCBs in the blood were measured in 2001–2004 and then also at 75 years of age. Follow-up of those who died during a ten-year period showed that the individuals who had the highest levels of PCBs with many chlorine atoms in the blood had an excess mortality of about 50 percent, especially in cardiovascular disease, compared to other groups. This corresponds to approximately seven extra deaths during the ten-year follow-up period.
The results were independent of the risk factors previously associated with cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, obesity, high cholesterol levels, low education and cardiovascular disease at age 70.
Previous studies have also shown links between high levels of PCBs and atherosclerosis in both humans and experimental animals and, according to the researchers, this speaks, together with these new data, that one should limit the intake of PCBs via food.
- We humans get in us most PCBs via the food. The substances are fat soluble and are found mainly in fatty animal foods such as fish, meat and dairy products. According to the National Food Administration, oily fish such as herring and wild-caught salmon from particularly polluted areas are particularly high, such as the Baltic Sea, the Gulf of Bothnia, Lake Vänern and Vättern, says Monica Lind, working as environmental hygienist at work and environmental medicine, Akademiska sjukhuset, and adjunct professor at Uppsala University. university.
This article has been republished from materials provided by Uppsala University. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.
An Association of Exposure to Persistent Organic Pollutants with Mortality Risk. An Analysis of Data from the Prospective Investigation of Vasculature in Uppsala Seniors (PIVUS) Study. Monica Lind, et al. JAMA Network Open. 2019; 2 (4): e193070. doi: 10.1001 / jamanetworkopen.2019.3070.