Tags: pcb | asthma | children

PCBs Tied to Children’s Asthma

Thursday, 13 Sep 2012 12:58 PM


Children exposed to toxic PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) may face an increased risk of asthma symptoms, according to new research by Australian scientists.
The findings, presented at a meeting of the European Respiratory Society this week in Vienna, suggest that although PCBs were phased out after being widely used in lubricants, electrical equipment and paint until the 1970s, they continue to persist in the environment and pose potential human health risks.
To assess the impact of PCBs on asthma, researchers from the University of Queensland in Australia examined 240 children – assessing PCBs in their blood, along with three pesticides, and the prevalence of wheeze, a common symptom of asthma.
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The results showed children with higher levels of PCBs were more likely to report wheeze.
"Despite PCBs being banned from use in many countries, people are still suffering from the effects of these toxic substances,” the researchers concluded. “Our findings suggest that people with high levels of the chemicals in their blood stream are suffering from higher levels of wheeze, a common asthma symptom.
"This could be due to high concentration levels being passed from a mother to a baby while in the womb, or PCBs may be ingested if a person consumes contaminated food. They could also be inhaled from contaminated hazardous waste sites."
Although they are not widely used now, PCBs do not break down easily and can be transported in water and air and persist at waste sites, for a number of years, researchers noted.
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Children exposed to toxic PCBs may face an increased risk of asthma symptoms.
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2012-58-13
Thursday, 13 Sep 2012 12:58 PM
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