Are urinary polyaromatic hydrocarbons associated with adult hypertension, heart attack, and cancer? USA NHANES, 2011-2012

Ivy Shiue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Links between environmental chemicals and human health have emerged over the last few decades, but the effects from polyaromatic hydrocarbons were less studied, compared to other commonly known environmental chemicals such as heavy metals, phthalates, arsenic, phenols and pesticides. Therefore, it was aimed to study the relationships of urinary polyaromatic hydrocarbons and adult cardiovascular disease and cancer using human sample in a national and population-based study in recent years. Data was retrieved from US National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, 2011-2012, including demographics, self-reported health conditions and urinary polyaromatic hydrocarbons. Statistical analyses included chi-square test, t test, survey-weighted logistic regression modeling and population attributable risk (PAR) estimation. Of 5560 American adults aged 20-80 and included in the statistical analysis, urinary polyaromatic hydrocarbons (representatively in one-third sample) were observed to be higher in people with cardiovascular disease and total cancer. In particular, urinary 4-hydroxyphenanthrene was associated with hypertension (odds ratio (OR) 1.33, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 1.00-1.76, P = 0.048, PAR 5.1 %), urinary 1-hydroxypyrene was significantly associated with heart attack (OR 1.47, 95 %CI 1.05-2.06, P = 0.027, PAR 1.7 %), and urinary 2-hydroxynapthalene (2-naphthol) was associated with cancer (OR 1.46, 95 %CI 1.12-1.90, P = 0.008, PAR 3.9 %). Urinary polyaromatic hydrocarbons were associated with adult hypertension, heart attack and cancer, although the causality cannot be established. From the research perspective, future studies with a longitudinal or experimental approach would be suggested. From the law and public health perspectives, regulation on minimizing exposure to polyaromatic hydrocarbons might need to be considered in future health and environmental policies and intervention programs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16962-16968
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015


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