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Occupational PAH exposure ups risk of cardiovascular disease

13 Sep 2017
An Indian doctor has been awarded a SGD3 million grant to further study cardiovascular diseases.

Occupational exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) leads to higher levels of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk markers, a recent study has shown.

Compared with the 152 controls (median age 43 years), chimney sweeps (n=151; median age 43 years) had significantly higher levels of exposure to the PAHs 1-hydroxypyrene (1-OH-PYR), 3-hydroxybenzo[a]pyrene (3-OH-BaP), 2-hydroxyphenanthrene (2-OH-PH) and 3-hydrxoybenzo[a]anthracene (3-OH-BaA; p<0.001 for all) even after controlling for age, smoking and BMI.

Specifically, the gravity-adjusted concentration of 1-OH-PYR was seven times higher in chimney sweeps than in controls. Values were four times higher for 2-OH-PH and three times higher for both 3-OH-BaP and 3-OH-BaA.

Levels of homocysteine (p≤0.001), high-density lipoprotein (HDL; p≤0.004) and cholesterol (p≤0.01) were all significantly elevated in chimney sweeps compared with healthy controls, according to the general linear models. Levels of triglycerides and low-density lipoproteins were higher but did not reach statistical significance.

In the final model, adjusted for all possible confounders such as smoking status and exposure to PAH from hobbies, only the association between 2-OH-PH and diastolic blood pressure remained statistically significant (β, 1.72; 95 percent CI, 0.66 to 2.78; p=0.002).

Chimney sweeps were recruited from 29 different companies across Sweden and usually performed soot sweeping, white sweeping and office work. Controls were employees from other companies and were not routinely expose to PAH.

Urine samples were collected from the participants and subjected to liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry to measure PAH metabolite levels in urine. On the other hand, CVD markers were measured from serum samples.

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Most Read Articles
28 Dec 2017
Varenicline, while effective for smoking cessation, appears to significantly elevate the risk of cardiovascular hospitalization and emergency department visits, particularly for new users, a recent study shows.
26 Jan 2018
In children, a short duration of sleep appears to be a significant risk factor for elevated cardiometabolic risk, suggesting that parents need to be mindful of their children’s sleep hygiene, a recent Spanish study has shown.
21 Dec 2017
Physicians’ practice patterns in managing hypertension, and their awareness of blood pressure variability, were reported in a recent study in Singapore. We discussed some of the clinical practice gaps identified by this study with author, A/Prof. Teo Boon Wee.
21 Dec 2017
Results from the ASCOT-LLA study suggest that patient reports of muscle-related adverse events were more common when patients knew they were being treated with a statin. We discussed this phenomenon, known as the ‘nocebo effect’, with senior investigator, Prof. Peter Sever.