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Predictors of serum polychlorinated biphenyl concentrations in Anniston residents

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The Anniston Community Health Survey was a community-based cross-sectional study of Anniston, Alabama, residents who live in close proximity to a former PCB production facility to identify factors associated with serum PCB levels. The survey comprises 765 Anniston residents who completed a questionnaire interview and provided a blood sample for analysis in 2005-2007. Several reports based on data from the Anniston survey have been previously published, including associations between PCB exposure and diabetes and blood pressure. In this study we examine demographic, behavioral, dietary, and occupational characteristics of Anniston survey participants as predictors of serum PCB concentrations. Of the 765 participants, 54% were White and 45% were African-American; the sample was predominantly female (70%), with a mean age of 55. years. Serum PCB concentrations varied widely between participants (range for sum of 35 PCBs: 0.11-170.4. ng/g wet weight). Linear regression models with stepwise selection were employed to examine factors associated with serum PCBs. Statistically significant positive associations were observed between serum PCB concentrations and age, race, residential variables, current smoking, and local fish consumption, as was a negative association with education level. Age and race were the most influential predictors of serum PCB levels. A small age by sex interaction was noted, indicating that the increase in PCB levels with age was steeper for women than for men. Significant interaction terms indicated that the associations between PCB levels and having ever eaten locally raised livestock and local clay were much stronger among African-Americans than among White participants. In summary, demographic variables and past consumption of locally produced foods were found to be the most important predictors of PCB concentrations in residents living in the vicinity of a former PCB manufacturing facility.

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