Patterns of PCB exposure among Akwesasne adolescents: The role of dietary and inhalation pathways

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21 Scopus citations


Aim: The objective of this study is to determine if consumption of fish and other dietary elements are related to the serum PCB levels of a group of adolescents. A dietary pattern approach is used to provide a more complete dietary exposure profile rather than a single food/group approach. Additionally, dietary patterns are examined in relation to traditional PCB groupings as well as derived PCB congener profiles. Participants/setting and methods: The sample is comprised of 246 Mohawk adolescents between the ages of 10–16.9 years of age residing at the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation. Food frequency data was collected and serum PCB levels were (101 congeners) quantitated during a cross-sectional study investigating adolescent exposure to environmental pollutants. Results: Principal component analysis identified four dietary patterns: “well-rounded” “snacks and sweets” “fruits and vegetables” “fish and dairy” and four PCB congener profiles: “1248-like” Persistent/“1260-like” “mono-ortho” and “1254-like”. In a multiple regression models, the “fish and dairy” dietary or traditional PCB determinants (age, sex, prior breastfeeding, BMI, pattern) were each predictors of one or more of three of the identified PCB congener profiles. However, the “1248-like” pattern was not related to either dietary pattern or any of the typical PCB determinants, suggesting an alternative source/exposure pathway for this congener profile. Conclusion: Even relatively low levels of fish consumption within the composite dietary matrix of adolescents at Akwesasne remains a pathway of exposure to postnatally acquired PCBs. In addition, there is evidence of an unidentified, perhaps airborne, exposure pathway that warrants further attention as this congener profile accounted for 50% of the total variance within the adolescents’ serum PCB levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)963-972
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironment international
StatePublished - Dec 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The project was funded by National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences grant S04913 and ES10904 , and also National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, National Institutes of Health 1 P20 MD003373 . The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not represent the official views of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities or the National Institutes of Health.

Funding Information:
The sample is comprised of 271 Mohawk youth between the ages of 10 and 16.9 years of age who participated in “PCBs and the wellbeing of Mohawk youth” funded by NIEHS as part of the Superfund Basic Research Program between 1995 and 2000. Detailed descriptions of recruitment and sampling are available ( Schell et al., 2003 ). At the time of recruitment, general informed consent information and the aims of the project were explained to potential participants by Mohawk data collection staff. All data collection staff and research staff signed a confidentiality agreement in which they guaranteed to protect the identity and confidentiality of all participants. One youth per household was eligible to participate in the project. If more than one youth within the age range of interest resided in the household, data collectors approached the oldest first. As the youths were <17 years of age, informed consent was gained from the mothers of each youth and written assent to participate was gained from the youths themselves. Youths were not eligible to participate in the project if they had a history of hospitalization due to brain injury, a diagnosis of serious physiological or psychological pathology, or Fetal Alcohol Syndrome/Fetal Alcohol Effects. These exclusion criteria were in place primarily to control for confounding in the investigation of PCBs and cognitive development, one of the larger research aims of the overall project. Each participant was compensated for their time spent completing the project requirements and all study protocols were reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board at the University at Albany, SUNY and the Akwesasne Task Force on the Environment.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (all)


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