A  A  A   Print
Long-Banned Chemicals May Still Interfere With Seniors' Thinking

Long-Banned Chemicals May Still Interfere With Seniors' Thinking

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 27, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Seniors with higher levels of PCBs in their bodies have poorer mental abilities than those with lower levels of the toxic chemicals, a new study finds.

PCBs -- polychlorinated biphenyls -- are chemicals that were used as coolants, insulating materials and lubricants in electric equipment. Although they were banned in the United States in 1979, PCBs are still found in the blood of many older people.

The study included more than 700 American seniors whose blood was analyzed to determine their levels of PCBs. The participants also underwent memory and physical-skills tests.

There was a significant association between higher PCB levels and poorer mental performance among people aged 70 to 84. This association also was seen to a lesser extent in people aged 60 to 69.

Women in the older age group had the largest decline in mental skills in relation to PCB levels in their body, according to the study published online Nov. 25 in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

"While most studies have looked at the impact of PCBs on infant development, our research shows that this toxin might affect us throughout our lives," study author Maryse Bouchard, of the University of Montreal, said in a university news release.

"Aging persons could be at particular risk because of higher cumulative exposure built up across a lifetime; susceptibility due to underlying medical conditions, such as vascular disorders; and diminished cognitive reserve capacity," Bouchard said.

The findings suggest that PCBs, even at levels generally considered to pose low or no risk, may contribute to mental deficits, she said.

More information

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has more about the health effects of PCBs.

SOURCE: University of Montreal, news release, Nov. 25, 2013

Today's Interactive Tools
Related Items

The third-party content provided in the Health Library of phoebeputney.com is for informational purposes only and is not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your physician. If you or your child has or suspect you may have a health problem, please consult your primary care physician. If you or your child may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 or other emergency health care provider immediately in the United States or the appropriate health agency of your country. For more information regarding site usage, please visit: Privacy Information, Terms of Use or Disclaimer.

Follow us online:

© 2014 Phoebe Putney Health System  |  417 Third Avenue, Albany, Georgia 31701  |  Telephone 877.312.1167

Phoebe Putney Health System is a network of hospitals, family medicine clinics, rehab facilities, auxiliary services, and medical education training facilities. Founded in 1911,
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital (the flagship hospital) is one of Georgia's largest comprehensive regional medical centers. From the beginning, Phoebe's mission and vision
has been to bring the finest medical talent and technology to the citizens of Southwest Georgia, and to serve all citizens of the community regardless of ability to pay.