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In response to concerns raised by communities surrounding the New Bedford Harbor Superfund site, we completed a field and modeling study that concluded the harbor is the primary source of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in air around the harbor. The follow-up question from residents was whether the PCBs measured in air pose a risk to their health. The US Environmental Protection Agency focuses their site-specific, risk-based decisions for site clean-up on cancers. We focused our assessment on the non-cancer effects on the thyroid based on the congener specific patterns and concentrations of PCBs measured in air near and distant to the harbor. Human and animal studies of PCB-induced effects on the thyroid provide evidence to support our analysis. Drawing from the published toxicological data, we used a Margin of Exposure (MOE) approach to derive a human-equivalent concentration in air associated with human health effects on the thyroid. Based on the MOEs calculated herein, evaluation of the MOE indicates that changes in thyroid hormone levels are possible among people living adjacent to the Harbor. Changes in thyroid hormone levels are more likely among people who live near the harbor compared to residents living in areas distant from the harbor. This risk assessment documents potential health risks associated with proximity to a marine Superfund Site using site-specific ambient air PCB congener data.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: The Science of the total environment
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A mixture of polychlorinated biphenyls that induces hepatic microsomal UDP-glucuronyl transferase activity towards thyroxine.
Deposits of ADIPOSE TISSUE throughout the body. The pattern of fat deposits in the body regions is an indicator of health status. Excess ABDOMINAL FAT increases health risks more than excess fat around the hips or thighs, therefore, WAIST-HIP RATIO is often used to determine health risks.
Industrial products consisting of a mixture of chlorinated biphenyl congeners and isomers. These compounds are highly lipophilic and tend to accumulate in fat stores of animals. Many of these compounds are considered toxic and potential environmental pollutants.
A specialized agency of the United Nations designed as a coordinating authority on international health work; its aim is to promote the attainment of the highest possible level of health by all peoples.
Organisms used to determine measurable environmental risks or hazards to human health and or well-being, thereby serving as advance or early warning signs of impending danger to humans. Examples of sentinel species are monkeys, guinea pigs, and the fabled canary in the coal mine.
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The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the neck, just above thecollarbone and is an endocrine gland that make hormones. These Thyroid hormones control the rate of many activities in the body, including how fast the body burns calories and how fast th...