Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 22, Issue 12, pp 9570–9574 | Cite as

Urinary arsenic, heavy metals, phthalates, pesticides, polyaromatic hydrocarbons but not parabens, polyfluorinated compounds are associated with self-rated health: USA NHANES, 2011–2012

  • Ivy ShiueEmail author
Short Research and Discussion Article


Links between environmental chemicals and human health have emerged, but the effects on self-rated health were less studied. Therefore, it was aimed to study the relationships of different sets of urinary environmental chemicals and the self-rated health 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, serum measurements, lifestyle factors, self-rated health (with two grouping approaches) and urinary environmental chemical concentrations. T test and survey-weighted logistic regression modeling were performed. Among American adults aged 12–80 (n = 6833), 5892 people had reported their general health condition. Two thousand three hundred sixty-nine (40.2 %) people reported their general health condition as excellent or very good while 3523 (59.8 %) reported good, fair, or poor. People who reported their general health condition as good, fair, or poor had higher levels of urinary arsenic, heavy metals (including cadmium, cobalt, manganese, molybdenum, lead, antimony, strontium, tungsten and uranium), phthalates, pesticides and polyaromatic hydrocarbons but lower levels of benzophenone-3 and triclosan. There were no associations with urinary parabens, perchlorate, nitrate, thiocyanate or polyfluorinated compounds. However, only urinary cadmium, benzophenone-3, triclosan, and 2-hydroxynaphthalene remained significant when comparing between “good to excellent” and “poor to fair.” This is the first time observing risk associations of urinary arsenic, heavy metal, phthalate, pesticide, and hydrocarbon concentrations and self-rated health in people aged 12–80, although the causality cannot be established. Further elimination of these environmental chemicals in humans might need to be considered in health and environmental policies.


Chemicals Environmental health Risk factor Self-rated health 


Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Health and Life SciencesNorthumbria UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK
  2. 2.Owens Institute for Behavioral ResearchUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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