222383 Perceptions of Exposure and Factors Associated with Blood Serum Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB) Measurements in a Contaminated Community

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 3:10 PM - 3:30 PM

H.R. Foushee, PhD , Center for the Study of Community Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Randolph S. Devereaux, MSPH , Center for the Study of Community Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Paul Wolff , Center for the Study of Community Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Introduction: Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) exposure is associated with cardiovascular, reproductive, and endocrine system problems. In a contaminated community residents' perceptions of exposure may not correspond to measures of exposure. This study examined this question along with factors related to PCB blood serum measures.

Methods: An in-home survey was completed with 1,100 randomly selected adults in Anniston, Alabama. The questionnaire covered several topics including health history, quality of life, and perceptions of PCB contamination and personal exposure. From this sample, 766 subsequently completed a laboratory exam taking blood samples to measure PCB levels.

Results: The sample was 53.4% white, 46.6 % African American, and 70.0% female. The mean PCB level was 6.6 ppb. Multiple regressions using log transformed PCB measures showed that older respondents, African Americans, longer term and West Anniston residents had significantly higher PCB measures. People reporting no exposure to PCBs had significantly lower PCB levels than those who were exposed. Significantly higher PCB levels were found for people who previously had PCB measures of their blood and soil, or were involved in litigation. PCB level was significantly correlated with perceptions of environmental quality and PCB contamination, reported severity of personal health effects, and ratings of health effects on humans. However, there was not a significant difference in PCB levels between people reporting negative health effects from exposure and those not reporting health effects.

Discussion: Environmental perceptions were partnered with personal exposure. People with lower levels of exposure believe PCB contamination and potential health effects were not as severe.

Learning Areas:
Environmental health sciences
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Compare people's perceptions of PCB exposure to actual blood measures of exposure. Identify factors associated with PCB exposure in a contaminated community. Assess differences in perceptions of contamination by level of exposure.

Keywords: Environmental Health Hazards, Survey

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present as I was principal investigator for this study and have fifteen years of experience in survey research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.