BACKGROUND: Bone toxicity has been linked to organochlorine exposure following a few notable poisoning incidents, but epidemiologic studies in populations with environmental organochlorine exposure have yielded inconsistent results.
OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to investigate whether organochlorine exposure was associated with bone mineral density (BMD) in a population 60-81 years of age (154 males, 167 females) living near the Baltic coast, close to a river contaminated by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
METHODS: We measured forearm BMD in participants using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry; and we assessed low BMD using age- and sex-standardized Z-scores. We analyzed blood samples for five dioxin-like PCBs, the three most abundant non-dioxin-like PCBs, and p,p'-dichloro-phenyldichloroethylene (p,p'-DDE).
RESULTS: In males, dioxin-like chlorobiphenyl (CB)-118 was negatively associated with BMD; the odds ratio for low BMD (Z-score less than -1) was 1.06 (95% confidence interval, 1.01-1.12) per 10 pg/mL CB-118. The sum of the three most abundant non-dioxin-like PCBs was positively associated with BMD, but not with a decreased risk of low BMD. In females, CB-118 was positively associated with BMD, but this congener did not influence the risk of low BMD in women.
CONCLUSIONS: Environmental organochlorine exposures experienced by this population sample since the 1930s in Sweden may have been sufficient to result in sex-specific changes in BMD.
2008. Vol. 116, no 9, 1162-1166 p.