Organochlorines in Swedish women: determinants of serum concentrations

Environ Health Perspect. 2003 Mar;111(3):349-55. doi: 10.1289/ehp.5456.


We studied associations between lifestyle/medical factors and lipid-adjusted serum concentrations of seven polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners and five chlorinated pesticides/metabolites among 205 Swedish women (54-75 years old). Serum concentrations were significantly associated with age, body mass index, body weight change, diabetes mellitus, consumption of fatty fish, and place of residence. The findings suggest that lifestyle/medical factors may confound results in epidemiologic studies when they are related to both serum concentrations and disease. Moreover, disease itself may influence serum concentrations of some organochlorines, as indicated by the negative associations between recent weight change and serum concentrations of some PCB congeners, p,p -dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE), and hexachlorobenzene (HCB) and the positive association between diabetes mellitus and HCB concentrations. Age was the only determinant that showed a consistent association with all compounds studied (positive); otherwise associations with single determinants varied among compounds even within the PCB group. This shows that the studied organochlorines should not be treated as a homogeneous group of compounds in epidemiologic studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Body Mass Index
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Diet
  • Environmental Pollutants / blood*
  • Epidemiologic Studies
  • Female
  • Fishes
  • Humans
  • Insecticides / blood*
  • Life Style*
  • Middle Aged
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / blood*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sweden / epidemiology


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Insecticides
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls