Tuesday 19 August, 2014
Non-peer Reviewed

Exposure to common toxic substances could increase asthma symptoms

Published On: Sat, Sep 1st, 2012 | Allergy | By BioNews

Children who are exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which were commonly used in a range of industrial products, could be at risk of an increase in asthma symptoms, according to new research.

The study will be presented in a poster discussion this week (Sunday 2 September 2012) at the European Respiratory Society’s Annual Congress in Vienna.

PCBs were regularly used between 1930s and 1970s in a range of electrical equipment, lubricants and paint additives. They were eventually phased out due to the harm they were causing to the environment and animals.

Although they are not widely used now, the toxic substance does not break down easily. It can be transported in water and air and it can exist in the environment, particularly at waste sites, for a number of years.

Researchers from the University of Queensland in Australia examined 240 children to assess the impact PCBs are having on asthma symptoms. They measured the levels of PCBs found in their blood, along with three pesticides, and also assessed prevalence of wheeze, a common symptom of asthma.

The results found that overall, those with higher levels of PCBs were more likely to report wheeze (odds ratio 1.61). The findings also suggest that the link between PCBs and wheeze was stronger in non-atopic (non-allergic) asthma.

Lead author, Professor Sly, from the University of Queensland, said: “Despite PCBs being banned from use in many countries, people are still suffering from the effects of these toxic substances. 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.”

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

More from Allergy
  • Rewiring DNA circuitry may help treat asthma
  • Feline friends can give you allergies
  • Diesel exhaust and house dust worsen asthma
  • Allowing kids to be picky eaters puts them at risk for allergies
  • Nighttime air purification device eases persistent asthma symptoms
  • Visit us on Google+