About this item:

391 Views | 440 Downloads

Author Notes:

Address correspondence to M.H. Jacobson, 1518 Clifton Rd. NE, CNR 3rd Floor, Atlanta, GA 30322 USA. Telephone: 914-589-3926. Email: mhymanjacobson@emory.edu

Acknowledgments: The authors would like to thank the following parties for their generous support and assistance with laboratory assays: J. Kesner, D. Jones, B. Liang, D. Walker, and D. Cobb.


Research Funding:

Funding was provided by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences/National Institutes of Health (NIEHS/NIH) (grants R01ES012014, P30ES019776, R21ES023927, R01ES024790, and R01ES08341), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (agreement number R825300), the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Reproductive, Perinatal, & Pediatric Training Grant (T32HD052460), and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology Training Grant (5T03OH008609-10).

This work was additionally supported by the Laney Graduate School and by the Livingston Fellowship at Emory University.


  • Science & Technology
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Environmental Sciences
  • Public, Environmental & Occupational Health
  • Toxicology
  • Environmental Sciences & Ecology

Serum Polybrominated Biphenyls (PBBs) and Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) and Thyroid Function among Michigan Adults Several Decades after the 1973-1974 PBB Contamination of Livestock Feed


Journal Title:

Environmental Health Perspectives


Volume 125, Number 9


, Pages 097020-097020

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


BACKGROUND: In 1973–1974, Michigan residents were exposed to polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) through an accidental contamination of the food supply. Residents were enrolled in a registry assembled after the incident, and they and their children participated in follow-up studies to assess subsequent health outcomes. OBJECTIVES: We evaluated associations between serum PBBs and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and markers of thyroid function among Michigan adults. METHODS: Serum concentrations of four PBB and four PCB congeners were measured at least once in 753 adults, including 79 women who participated in a 2004–2006 study and 683 women and men with follow-up during 2012–2015. Participants completed questionnaires on health conditions (including physician-diagnosed thyroid disease), behaviors, and demographics. Thyroid hormones were measured in a subset without thyroid disease (n = 551). In multivariable linear regression models, PBB and PCB congener concentrations, on both the volume (nanogram/milliliter) and lipid (na-nogram/gram lipid) basis, were assessed in relation to thyroid hormones. Logistic regression models were used to estimate associations between serum PBBs and PCBs and thyroid disease. RESULTS: Thyroid disease was common (18% overall; 25% among women). Among women, all odds ratios (ORs) for PBB-153 and thyroid disease were positive for quintiles above the reference level, but estimates were imprecise and were without a monotonic increase. For an interquartile range (IQR) increase in PBB-153 (0:43 ng/mL), the OR (any thyroid disease) =1.12; (95% CI: 0.83, 1.52) (n = 105 cases); for hypothyroidism, OR = 1.35 (95% CI: 0.86, 2.13) (n = 49 cases). There were 21 cases of thyroid disease in men [OR = 0.69 (95% CI: 0.33); 1.44 for an IQR increase (0:75 ng/mL) in serum PBB-153]. PCB congeners were statistically significantly associated with greater total and free thyroxine and total triiodothyronine among women and with total and free triiodothyronine among men in lipid-standardized models. CONCLUSIONS: We found some evidence to support associations of PBBs and PCBs with thyroid disease and thyroid hormone levels.

Copyright information:

© 2017, Public Health Services, US Dept of Health and Human Services. All rights reserved. EHP is an open-access journal published with support from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health. All content is public domain unless otherwise noted.

Export to EndNote