Arsenic, heavy metals, phthalates, pesticides, hydrocarbons and polyfluorinated compounds but not parabens or phenols are associated with adult remembering condition: US NHANES, 2011–2012
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Links between environmental chemicals and human health have emerged, but the effects on cognition were less studied. Therefore, it was aimed to study the relationships of different sets of environmental chemicals and the remembering condition in a national and population-based study in recent years. Data was retrieved from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, 2011–2012, including demographics, blood pressure readings, serum measurements, lifestyle factors, self-reported remembering condition and urinary environmental chemical concentrations. Analyses included Chi-square test, t test and survey-weighted logistic and multi-nominal regression models. Among the elderly aged 60–80 (n = 1791), 320 (17.9 %) had difficulties in thinking or remembering. People who had difficulties in thinking or remembering had higher levels of urinary heavy metals, phthalates, pesticides and hydrocarbon concentrations but lower levels of urinary arsenic and polyfluorinated compound concentrations. During the recent past week, 146 people (8.2 %) had trouble remembering for more than three times while 619 people (35.2 %) had that for one to three times. These people had higher levels of urinary heavy metals, phthalates, pesticides and hydrocarbon concentrations but lower levels of urinary polyfluorinated compound concentrations. There were no associations with urinary bisphenols, parabens, perchlorate, nitrate or thiocyanate concentrations. This is the first time observing statistically significant risk associations of urinary heavy metals, phthalates, pesticides and hydrocarbon concentrations and the remembering condition specifically in the elderly, although the causality cannot be established. Elimination of such environmental chemicals in humans might need to be considered in future health policy and intervention programs.
KeywordsChemicals Environmental health Risk factor Cognition Population attributable risk Memory
IS is supported by the Global Platform for Research Leaders scheme.
Conflict of interest
- Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2012) National Centre for Health Statistics (NCHS) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Data. Hyattsville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Available from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes.htm
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