Evaluation of serum lipid concentrations among U.S. Workers exposed to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin

Geoffrey M. Calvert, Kathleen K. Wille, Marie Haring Sweeney, William E. Halperin

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2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin alters lipid metabolism in animals; however, evidence for such an effect in humans is conflicting. This conflict was addressed using data from a cross-sectional medical study conducted between 1987 and 1988. The exposed participants had been employed at least 15 y earlier in the manufacture of 2,4, 5-trichlorophenol or one of its derivatives at two chemical plants in the United States. A total of 281 workers and 260 unexposed referents participated. Workers had substantial exposure to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin, evidenced by a median serum 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin concentration of 406.6 femtograms/gram of serum (fg/g serum), compared with 36.9 fg/g serum among the referents. A slight association between triglyceride concentration and serum 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin concentration was found (p =.05). Over the range of observed 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin values (i.e., 37–19 000 fg/g serum), triglyceride concentration increased only about 0.4 mmol/l. No association was found between an abnormally elevated triglyceride (i.e., > 2.82 mmol/l) concentration and serum 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin concentration. An association was also found between serum 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin concentration and an abnormal high-density lipoprotein concentration (p =.09). In summary, there was evidence of an effect on lipid metabolism in a group of workers with high serum 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin concentrations. The influence of serum 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin on lipid concentrations, however, was small, compared with the influence of other factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-107
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Environmental Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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