Toxic Chemical PCB in Food Linked with Premature Death: Study

They have been banned for years, but they are still in the environment–and in your food–and they have now been linked to premature death.  Despite the ban, PCBs (Polychlorinated biphenyls) decompose very slowly and are stored in fatty tissue, so they remain present in animals and humans today.

Study overview

In the study known as PIVUS (Prospective Investigation of the Vasculature in Uppsala Seniors) published in the Journal of American Medicine Association (JAMA), more than 1,000 randomly selected 70-year-olds in Uppsala were monitored over a long period. In the study relating to PCBs in blood, concentrations were measured in the subjects’ blood in 2001-2004, and then again when they reached the age of 75. Follow-up of those who had died over a 10-year period showed that the individuals with the highest PCB levels with many chlorine atoms in the blood had 50% excess mortality, especially from cardiovascular disease, compared with the other groups. This corresponds to some seven extra deaths during the 10-year follow-up period.

comic-pcb in fish

How do you get PCBs inside your body these days?

“We humans get most PCBs in our bodies by ingesting them in food. These substances are fat-soluble and found mainly in fatty animal foods like fish, meat and dairy products…”

-Dr. Monica Lind, Chemist, Örebro University


To learn about other health conditions that have been linked in scientific studies to PCB food exposure go here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6



Journal Reference:  P. Monica Lind, Samira Salihovic, Jordan Stubleski, Anna Kärrman, Lars Lind. Association of Exposure to Persistent Organic Pollutants With Mortality Risk. JAMA Network Open, 2019; 2 (4): e193070

Study: DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.3070