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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/13281

Title: Social distribution of internal exposure to environmental pollution in Flemish adolescents
Authors: Morrens, Bert
Bruckers, Liesbeth
Den Hond, Elly
Nelen, Vera
Schoeters, Greet
Baeyens, Willy
Van Larebeke, Nicolas
Keune, Hans
Bilau, Maaike
Loots, Ilse
Issue Date: 2012
Abstract: Background: Environmental justice research suggests that inequalities in the distribution of environmental exposure to chemical pollution systematically disadvantage the lower social strata of society. The effects of these inequalities on the human exposure to pollution are however to a large extend unknown. The purpose of this study is to assess social gradients in human biomonitoring results of a representative sample of Flemish adolescents. Methods: We investigate the associations between individual socioeconomic status (SES), measured by parental educational attainments, and internal body concentration of seven chemical compounds in biological samples of 1642 adolescents aged 14–15 in Flanders (Belgium): PCBs, HCB, DDE, lead, cadmium, benzene and PAHs. Social gradients in average and high exposure to these biomarkers were examined with geometric means and odds ratios (with 95% confidence intervals), using multiple regression models, controlling for covariates and confounders. Results: Depending on the (type of) pollutant, adolescents with a lower SES either have higher or lower internal concentrations. Chlorinated compounds (PCBs and pesticides HCB and DDE) are positively associated with SES (higher exposures for higher SES), while heavy metals (lead and cadmium) are negatively associated (higher exposures for lower SES). For metabolites of organic compounds (benzene and PAHs) we find no association with SES. Socially constructed factors, such as dietary and lifestyle habits, play an important role in these relations. Conclusions: Our study suggests that the association between individual SES and the internal body concentration of exposure to environmental pollutants in Flemish adolescents is more complex than can be assumed on the basis of the environmental justice hypothesis.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/13281
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2011.10.008
ISI #: 000306161600005
ISSN: 1438-4639
Category: A1
Type: Journal Contribution
Validation: ecoom, 2014
Appears in Collections: Research publications

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