PCBs and cognitive functioning of Mohawk adolescents

Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2006 Jul-Aug;28(4):439-45. doi: 10.1016/j.ntt.2006.03.001. Epub 2006 Jun 30.


This paper reports on the relationships between the cognitive functioning and PCB current body burdens of adolescents in the Mohawk Nation of Akwesasne where there is concern about industrial pollution of the environment. Three cognitive tests (Woodcock Johnson-Revised, Test of Memory and Learning, and Ravens Progressive Matrices) provide 13 subtests that allow a variety of cognitive outcomes to be assessed. A summary measure of PCB level was created from the congeners detected in at least 50% of the participants. The most notable finding was the significant negative relationship between PCB levels and two separate measures of long term memory. There was also a negative relationship with a measure of comprehension and knowledge. Significant relationships were not large, but provide evidence of subtle negative effects of PCB exposure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Breast Feeding
  • Child
  • Cognition / drug effects*
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis
  • Environmental Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Pollutants / analysis
  • Female
  • Growth / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American*
  • Male
  • Memory / drug effects
  • Mothers
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / adverse effects*
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / analysis
  • Schools
  • Sexual Maturation / drug effects


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls