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Publisher: BioMed Central
Journal: Environmental Health
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: PCBs, Organochlorine pesticides, Immunotoxicity, Blood count, NHANES, Research
Background Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) are widely distributed in the environment and may have adverse effects on the immune system. Methods Lipid adjusted serum levels of 19 Dioxin Like (DL), 17 Non Dioxin Like (NDL) PCBs, 5 OCPs, and measures of complete blood count and routine biochemistry profile were obtained from the NHANES 2003-2004 cycle. For each of the PCB/OCP variables, individuals were put into four exposure groups and blood markers were compared across these groups. Results Serum levels of PCBs and OCPs increased with age. Total white blood cell (WBC) count, red blood cells (RBC), hemoglobin, and hematocrit measures were lowest in the group with the highest serum PCBs. Results for the OCPs varied. For Mirex, WBC declined in the highest exposure; no significant differences were observed for p-p’-DDT or p-p’-DDE; and higher levels of WBC were observed at the highest exposure groups of serum trans-nonachlor and oxychlordane. Liver enzymes (AST, ALT, and GGT) were significantly higher in the highest exposure groups of PCBs/OCPs. Conclusions We observed significant associations between PCB/OCP levels and blood markers in the general population. All of the levels were within normal ranges but the consistency of results is remarkable and may reflect subclinical effects. Largest differences were observed for NDL PCBs. Thus, routine application of toxic equivalency factors, which assume dioxin like mechanisms and aryl hydrocarbon receptor involvement, may not adequately reflect the effects of NDL PCBs in the mixture. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1476-069X-13-114) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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