Individual and mixtures of polychlorinated biphenyls and organochlorine pesticides exposure in relation to metabolic syndrome among Chinese adults

Sci Total Environ. 2023 Jun 15:877:162935. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.162935. Epub 2023 Mar 17.


Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) are commonly detected in humans due to their persistence and bioaccumulation, and are suspected risk factors for metabolic syndrome (MetS). However, most studies have focused on individual rather than combined exposure. We explored the associations between individual and combined PCBs/OCPs exposure and MetS to better assess the health effects of PCBs and OCPs. This cross-sectional study included 1996 adults from Wuhan, China. A total of 338 participants fulfilled criteria for MetS. Eight PCBs and OCPs were detected in >50 % of the samples. Most of the hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCHs) in the serum were derived from the recent environmental input of lindane, while the high levels of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDTs) were mainly due to historical use. Multivariate linear regression analyses revealed that β-HCH, p,p'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p,p'-DDE), PCB-52, PCB-153, and PCB-180 were positively correlated with increased odds of MetS. The profiles of the PCBs and OCPs associated with the different components of MetS were distinct. Furthermore, quantile-based g computation (qgcomp) analyses showed that PCB and OCP mixtures were positively associated with the risk of MetS, and p,p'-DDE was the largest contributor to our model. These findings suggest that PCB and OCP concentrations, both individually and as mixtures, are associated with MetS risk. Prospective studies are needed to confirm these results.

Keywords: Combined exposure; Metabolic syndrome; Organochlorine pesticides; Polychlorinated biphenyls.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dichlorodiphenyl Dichloroethylene / analysis
  • East Asian People
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Humans
  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated* / analysis
  • Metabolic Syndrome* / chemically induced
  • Metabolic Syndrome* / epidemiology
  • Pesticides* / analysis
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls* / analysis


  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls
  • Dichlorodiphenyl Dichloroethylene
  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated
  • Pesticides