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. 2011 Mar;119(3):319-25.
doi: 10.1289/ehp.1002830.

Blood Pressure in Relation to Concentrations of PCB Congeners and Chlorinated Pesticides

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Free PMC article

Blood Pressure in Relation to Concentrations of PCB Congeners and Chlorinated Pesticides

Alexey Goncharov et al. Environ Health Perspect. .
Free PMC article


Background: Residents of Anniston, Alabama, live near a Monsanto plant that manufactured polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from 1929 to 1971 and are relatively heavily exposed.

Objectives: The goal of this study was to determine the relationship, if any, between blood pressure and levels of total serum PCBs, several PCB groups with common actions or structure, 35 individual PCB congeners, and nine chlorinated pesticides.

Methods: Linear regression analysis was used to determine the relationships between blood pressure and serum levels of the various contaminants after adjustment for age, body mass index, sex, race, smoking, and exercise in 394 Anniston residents who were not taking antihypertensive medication.

Results: Other than age, total serum PCB concentration was the strongest determinant of blood pressure of the covariates studied. We found the strongest associations for those PCB congeners that had multiple ortho chlorines. We found the associations over the full range of blood pressure as well as in those subjects whose blood pressure was in the normal range. The chlorinated pesticides showed no consistent relationship to blood pressure.

Conclusions: In this cross-sectional study, serum concentrations of PCBs, especially those congeners with multiple ortho chlorines, were strongly associated with both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Linear regression of systolic and diastolic blood pressure on total PCB concentration without adjustment for covariates. The dashed lines show cutoff pressures for systolic (a) and diastolic (b) hypertension. The solid lines show the log of the slope for systolic (β = 0.046) and diastolic (β = 0.029) pressure as a function of the log of the serum PCB concentration.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Parameter estimates ± SE of mean diastolic blood pressure in relation to total PCBs and principal risk factors after adjustment for age. For PCBs and total lipids, bars a and b compare the second and third tertile, respectively, with the lowest tertile. For BMI, bars a and b compare overweight and obese categories with the normal-weight category. Sex (here, males) compares males and females; race, African American and Caucasian; smoking, individuals who have not smoked > 100 lifetime cigarettes and those who have; and exercise, individuals who regularly have no more than 10 min of daily exercise and those who do. Although the parameter estimates for males and the second tertile of total lipid concentration are elevated, neither was statistically significant. *p < 0.05.

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