Link shown between environmental toxicants and atherosclerosis

Press release
11 October 2011

Environmental toxicants such as dioxins, PCBs, and pesticides can pose a risk for cardiovascular disease. For the first time a link has been demonstrated between atherosclerosis and levels of long-lived organic environmental toxicants in the blood. The study, carried out at Uppsala University, is being published online this week in ahead of print in the prestigious journal Environmental Health Perspectives. Cardiovascular diseases, including hear

“These findings indicate that long-lived organic environmental toxicants may be involved in the occurrence of atherosclerosis and thereby lead to future death from cardiovascular diseases,” says Lars Lind, professor at the Department of Medical Sciences, Uppsala University.
“In Sweden, and in many countries in the world, many of these substances are forbidden today, but since they are so long-lived they’re still out there in our environment. We ingest these environmental toxicants with the food we eat, and since they are stored in our bodies, the levels grow higher the older we get,” says Monica Lind, Associate Professor in Environmental Medicine at Occupational and Environmental Medicine
These researchers are now going on to study how these compounds affect atherosclerosis in experimental models. They are also going to monitor the individuals included in their study to determine whether a direct connection exists between exposure to these substances and the occurrence of heart attacks and strokes in humans.

The study was funded in part by the Swedish Research Council and the Swedish Research Council Formas.

Full reference: Circulating Levels of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and Carotid Atherosclerosis in the Elderly. P. Monica Lind, Bert van Bavel, Samira Salihovic, Lars Lind. Online 11 October 2011.

Read more about the PIVUS study, of which the current study is part.
For more information, please contact Lars Lind, Department of medical sciences, Acute and Internal Medicine, mobile: +46 (0)73-050 28 78, or Monica Lind, Department of medical sciences, Occupational and Environmental medicine, +46 (0)70-320 30 66,