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Environ Res. 2014 Feb;129:27-31. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2013.12.003. Epub 2014 Jan 11.

Circulating levels of p,p'-DDE are related to prevalent hypertension in the elderly.

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  • 1Department of Medical Sciences, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Uppsala University, Ulleråkersvägen 40, 751 85 Uppsala, Sweden. Electronic address:
  • 2Department of Medical Sciences, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Uppsala University, Ulleråkersvägen 40, 751 85 Uppsala, Sweden.
  • 3MTM Research Center, School of Science and Technology, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden.
  • 4Department of Medical Sciences, Cardiovascular Epidemiology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.



Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dioxin given to experimental animals increase the blood pressure. We therefore investigated if circulating levels of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) were related to hypertension in a population-based sample of men and women.


One thousand and sixteen subjects aged 70 years were investigated in the Prospective Investigation of the Vasculature in Uppsala Seniors (PIVUS) study. Twenty-three POPs were analyzed using high-resolution gas chromatography/high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRGC/HRMS). Hypertension was defined as a systolic blood pressure ≥140mmHg or a diastolic blood pressure ≥90mmHg, and/or use of antihypertensive medication.


Seven hundred and thirty-two subjects (72%) showed hypertension. When the POPs were treated as continuous variables and adjusted for gender only, two PCBs with a low number of chlorine atoms (PCB 105 and 118) were related to prevalent hypertension. Also the OC pesticide p,p'-DDE was related to hypertension. The strongest of these associations was seen for p,p'-DDE (OR 1.35 for a 1 SD change, 95% CI 1.17-1.56, p<0.0001). Following further adjustment also for BMI, smoking status, education level and exercise habits, only p,p'-DDE was still significantly related to hypertension (OR 1.23 for a 1 SD change, 95% CI 1.06-1.43, p=0.006).


In this cross-sectional analysis of an elderly population, high levels of circulating levels of p,p'-DDE were associated with prevalent hypertension, further strengthening the experimental findings that POPs might influence blood pressure.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


DDE; Elderly; Hypertension; Persistent organic pollutants; Polychlorinated biphenyls

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