Background: Studies have shown associations of diabetes and endogenous hormones with exposure to a wide variety of organochlorines. We have previously reported positive associations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and inverse associations of selected steroid hormones with diabetes in postmenopausal women previously employed in a capacitor manufacturing plant.
Methods: This paper examines associations of PCBs with diabetes and endogenous hormones in 63 men previously employed at the same plant who in 1996 underwent surveys of their exposure and medical history and collection of bloods and urine for measurements of PCBs, lipids, liver function, hematologic markers and endogenous hormones.
Results: PCB exposure was positively associated with diabetes and age and inversely associated with thyroid stimulating hormone and triiodothyronine-uptake. History of diabetes was significantly related to total PCBs and all PCB functional groupings, but not to quarters worked and job score, after control for potential confounders. None of the exposures were related to insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) in non-diabetic men.
Conclusions: Associations of PCBs with specific endogenous hormones differ in some respects from previous findings in postmenopausal women employed at the capacitor plant. Results from this study, however, do confirm previous reports relating PCB exposure to diabetes and suggest that these associations are not mediated by measured endogenous hormones.