Internal exposure to pollutants and body size in Flemish adolescents and adults: associations and doseresponse relationships
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences . Biomedical Sciences
Environment international. - Oxford
, p. 330-337
University of Antwerp
Flanders is densely populated with much industry and intensive farming. Body size of 14- to 15-year old adolescents and of adults aged 5065 was studied in relation to internal exposure to pollutants. 1679 adolescents (887 boys and 792 girls), 775 men and 808 women were selected as a random sample of the population. Concentrations of pollutants in blood or urine were measured in accordance with quality control/quality assurance procedures. Self-assessment questionnaires provided information on personal and life-style factors. Height and weight of subjects were measured. Confounding factors and significant covariates were taken into account. For boys and girls, height and body mass index (BMI) showed a negative association with urinary concentration of cadmium and BMI also with serum concentration of hexachlorobenzene (HCB) and with the sum of serum concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) 138, 153, and 180 (marker PCBs), whereas BMI showed a positive association with serum concentration of PCB 118. For boys, height showed a negative association with urinary concentration of 1-hydroxypyrene (1-OHP) and positive associations with serum concentrations of HCB and PCB 118. For adults no significant associations between internal exposure and height were observed. For men, BMI showed negative associations with urinary cadmium concentration and with serum levels of marker PCBs and positive associations with serum levels of HCB, p,p′-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p,p′-DDE), PCB 118 and the dioxin fraction of dioxin-like activity. For women, BMI showed a negative association with urinary cadmium concentration, with blood lead concentration and with the concentration of marker PCBs in serum, and a positive association with serum concentrations of HCB, p,p′-DDE and PCB 118. Associations between biological effects and internal exposures were, in terms of the regression coefficient, often stronger at exposures below the median. Environmental exposures to pollutants resulting in normal levels of internal exposure were associated with quite substantial differences in body mass index.