Elevated PCBs Associated with Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Monica Lind, PhD, Professor, Environmental toxicologistOccupational and Environmental MedicineUppsala University HospitalVisiting adress: Dag Hammarskjölds väg 60Uppsala Sweden 

Dr. Lind

Monica Lind, PhD,
Professor, Environmental toxicologist
Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Uppsala University Hospital
Visiting adress: Dag Hammarskjölds väg 60
Uppsala Sweden

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Previous studies in workers exposed to very high levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have suggested hazardous health effects. However, circulating PCB levels are detected in almost all indivuduals in industrialized countries, but the health effects of moderately elevated levels as seen in the general population are not well established.

We investigated levels of PCBs in around 1,000 individuals, all aged 70 years, randomly chosen from the City of Uppsala, Sweden.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: The main finding was that individuals with moderately elevated levels of PCBs (especially PCBs with many chlorine atoms in the molecule) showed an increased mortality risk compared to those with low levels. This association was mainly due to increased mortality in cardiovascular disease, a finding well compatible with our previous studies showing that individuals with moderately elevated levels of PCBs have accelerated atherosclerosis. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: PCBs are not innocent chemicals, and therefore actions should be taken to limit further exposure to this group of environmental contaminants. PCBs are banned for use in most industrialized countries, but since they are very persistent in the environment still rather high levels are found in certain food items, such as fat fish and meat.   

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Since we previously have shown that also another kind of commonly used environmental contaminants, perflourinated compounds (like PFOS and PFOA), are linked to an accelerated atherosclerosis in humans, also these kind of contaminants would be investigated regarding future cardiovascular diseases.

Nothing more to add, no conflicts of interest. 


Lind PM, Salihovic S, Stubleski J, Kärrman A, Lind L. Association of Exposure to Persistent Organic Pollutants With Mortality RiskAn Analysis of Data From the Prospective Investigation of Vasculature in Uppsala Seniors (PIVUS) StudyJAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(4):e193070. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.3070



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