Exposures associated with serum organochlorine levels among postmenopausal women from western New York State

Am J Ind Med. 2002 Feb;41(2):102-10. doi: 10.1002/ajim.10043.


Background: Organochlorines, such as 2,2-bis (4-chlorophenyl)-1,1-dichloroethylene (DDE), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and hexachlorobenzene (HCB) are lipophilic compounds that are ubiquitous in the environment and may cause adverse health effects in humans.

Methods: We examined the correlation between epidemiological exposure variables and serum DDE, PCB, and HCB levels in a sample of 192 healthy, female postmenopausal western New York residents; a subset of the control group from a case-control study on breast cancer risk. Usual diet, reproductive and medical histories, and other lifestyle information were obtained by an extensive in person interview. Serum levels (ng/g) of DDE, HCB, and 69 PCB congeners were determined by gas chromatography with electron capture detection. Statistical analyses included computations of crude and age and lipid adjusted correlation coefficients, as well as multiple linear regression analysis.

Results: Results indicated that the strongest predictors for serum DDE levels were age, serum lipids, parity, and fruit and dairy consumption. Statistically significant predictors of PCB levels included age, serum lipids, parity, and fish consumption. Serum HCB levels were related to age, serum lipids, and fruit and red meat consumption.

Conclusions: Our findings are consistent with previous investigations that reported strong associations between organochlorine levels and age and serum lipids. The absence of other data showing an association between fruit intake and organochlorine levels make the importance of this finding unclear.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Body Mass Index
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diet*
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Hexachlorobenzene / blood*
  • Humans
  • Insecticides / blood*
  • Linear Models
  • Lipids / blood
  • Middle Aged
  • New York
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / blood*
  • Postmenopause / blood
  • Risk Factors


  • Insecticides
  • Lipids
  • Hexachlorobenzene
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls