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, 114 (3), 453-9

Using Biologic Markers in Blood to Assess Exposure to Multiple Environmental Chemicals for Inner-City Children 3-6 Years of Age


Using Biologic Markers in Blood to Assess Exposure to Multiple Environmental Chemicals for Inner-City Children 3-6 Years of Age

Ken Sexton et al. Environ Health Perspect.


We assessed concurrent exposure to a mixture of > 50 environmental chemicals by measuring the chemicals or their metabolites in the blood of 43 ethnically diverse children (3-6 years of age) from a socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhood in Minneapolis. Over a 2-year period, additional samples were collected every 6-12 months from as many children as possible. We analyzed blood samples for 11 volatile organic compounds (VOCs), 2 heavy metals (lead and mercury, 11 organochlorine (OC) pesticides or related compounds, and 30 polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners. The evidence suggests that numerous VOCs originated from common sources, as did many PCBs. Longitudinal measurements indicate that between-child variance was greater than within-child variance for two VOCs (benzene, toluene), for both heavy metals (Pb, Hg), for all detectable OC pesticides, and for 15 of the measured PCB congeners (74, 99, 101, 118, 138-158, 146, 153, 156, 170, 178, 180, 187, 189, 194, 195). Despite the relatively small sample size, highest measured blood levels of 1,4-dichlorobenzene, styrene, m-/p-xylene, Pb, Hg, heptachlor epoxide, oxychlordane, dichlorodiphenyldichloroethene (p,p -DDE), trans-nonachlor, and PCB congeners 74, 99, 105, 118, 138, 146, 153, 156, 170, and 180 were comparable with or higher than 95th percentile measurements of older children and adults from national surveys. Results demonstrate that cumulative exposures to multiple environmental carcinogens and neurotoxins can be comparatively high for children from a poor inner-city neighborhood.

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