Organochlorine pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in early adulthood and blood lipids over a 23-year follow-up

Jose R. Suarez-Lopez, Chase G. Clemesha, Miquel Porta, Myron D. Gross, Duk Hee Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: Some evidence in humans suggests that persistent organic pollutants (POPs), including organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), may alter the blood lipid composition. This study analyzed associations between serum POPs concentrations in young adulthood with blood lipid levels up to 23 years later. Methods: Serum POPs were measured in year 2 of follow-up (n = 180 men and women, ages: 20-32y), and plasma lipids in follow-up years 2, 7, 10, 15, 20 and 25. 32 POPs were detectable in ≥75% of participants (23 PCBs, 8 OCPs and PBB-153). We created summary scores for PCBs and OCPs for both wet-weight, and lipid standardized (LP) concentrations. We used repeated measures regression adjusting for demographic factors, BMI, smoking, diabetes status, among others. Results: We observed positive associations of the 23 LP-PCB score with total cholesterol (β per SD increase [95%CI]: 5.0 mg/dL [0.7, 9.2]), triglycerides (7.8 mg/dL [-0.9, 16.5]), LDL (4.2 mg/dL [0.2, 8.2]), oxidized LDL 3.4 U/L (-0.05, 6.8), and cholesterol/HDL ratio (0.2 [0.02, 0.3]). The associations for triglycerides (14.7 mg/dL [0.4, 20.1]), cholesterol/HDL (0.33 [0.09, 0.56]) and, to some extent, LDL (4.7 md/dL [-1.6, 10.9]) were only observed among participants in the upper 50th percentile of BMI. Non-dioxin-like PCBs had stronger associations that dioxin-like PCBs. OCPs and PBB-s had positive associations with most outcomes. Conclusions: PCBs and PBB-153 measured in young adulthood were positively associated with prospective alterations in most blood lipid components, with evidence of effect modification by BMI. Further longitudinal studies with multiple measures of POPs overtime are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-35
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Pharmacology
StatePublished - Feb 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Dr. David R Jacobs Jr. for his prior work on persistent organic pollutants in the CARDIA study which allowed us to conduct the present analyses. The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study (CARDIA) is supported by contracts HHSN268201300025C, HHSN268201300026C, HHSN268201300027C, HHSN268201300028C, HHSN268201300029C, and HHSN268200900041C from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Aging (NIA), and an intra-agency agreement between NIA and NHLBI (AG0005). The Young Adult Longitudinal Trends in Atherosclerosis (YALTA) study is supported by R01HL53560. The development of this manuscript was supported by a JPB Environmental Health Fellowship award granted by the JPB Foundation and managed by the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier B.V.


  • Adults
  • Lipids
  • Longitudinal
  • Organochlorine
  • PCB


Dive into the research topics of 'Organochlorine pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in early adulthood and blood lipids over a 23-year follow-up'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this