Date: 27 Sep 2012

Association between blood levels of PCDDs/PCDFs/dioxin-like PCBs and history of allergic and other diseases in the Japanese population

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Previous studies reported that exposure to dioxins was associated with an increased risk of various diseases in general populations.


The aim of this study was to examine the association between levels of dioxins in blood and allergic and other diseases.


We conducted a cross-sectional study on 1,063 men and 1,201 women (aged 15–76 years), who were living throughout Japan and not occupationally exposed to dioxins, during 2002–2010. In fasting blood samples, polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs), and dioxin-like PCBs (DL-PCBs) were analyzed by isotope dilution high-resolution gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. We obtained information on life style and self-reported history of diseases using a questionnaire. Blood pressure, blood levels of hemoglobin A1c, and serum lipids were also measured. Multiple logistic regression models were used to analyze the association between dioxin levels in blood and various diseases.


Toxic equivalents of PCDDs/PCDFs and total dioxins showed significant inverse dose–response relationships with atopic dermatitis, after adjustments for potential confounders. The highest quartile for total dioxins had an adjusted odds ratio of 0.26 (95 % confidence interval 0.08–0.70) compared to the reference group (first quartile). The odds ratios for hypertension, diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia, gout in men, and gynecologic diseases in women significantly increased with increasing toxic equivalents of PCDDs/PCDFs, DL-PCBs, and total dioxins in blood.


The present findings suggest that background exposure to dioxins was associated with reduced risk of atopic dermatitis. The results also support the idea that low-level exposure to dioxins is associated with an increased risk of diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia.