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Synthetic Chemicals and Cardiometabolic Health Across the Life Course Among Vulnerable Populations: a Review of the Literature from 2018 to 2019

Abstract

Purpose of Review

Although vulnerable populations are disproportionately exposed to synthetic chemicals with endocrine disrupting properties, few recent reviews have summarized the impact of synthetic chemicals on cardiometabolic health among these groups.

Recent Findings

Of 37 eligible epidemiological studies among vulnerable populations published between January 2018 and April 2019 in which over half were prospective, the most investigated populations were pregnant women and children. Racial/ethnic minorities, individuals of low socioeconomic status (SES), and those occupationally exposed were studied the least. The most studied persistent organic pollutants (POPs) were per-/poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and the most studied non-POPs were phenols. Across chemical classes, studies found certain POPs (e.g., PFAS) and non-POPs (i.e., phenols, phthalates, and parabens) to be associated with gestational diabetes and dysregulated glucose metabolism. Results for other cardiometabolic health outcomes were inconsistent but suggested certain chemicals may negatively affect cardiometabolic health.

Summary

Synthetic chemicals likely adversely affect cardiometabolic health, but current findings were inconclusive. Few recent studies focused on racial/ethnic minorities, low SES, and occupationally exposed populations. To address poor cardiometabolic health and related disparities, more studies across vulnerable populations are warranted.

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Fig. 1

Abbreviations

3-PBA:

3-phenoxybenzoic acid

BP:

Butylparaben

BPA:

Bisphenol A

BPF:

Bisphenol F

BPS:

Bisphenol S

CKD:

Chronic kidney disease

CVD :

Cardiovascular disease

DES:

Diethylstilbestrol

DDT/DDE:

Dichlorodiphenyl-trichloroethane/dichlorethylene

EDC:

Endocrine disrupting compounds

GDM:

Gestational diabetes mellitus

HDL-C:

High-density lipoprotein cholesterol

ΣHMWP :

High molecular weight phthalates

LDL-C:

Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol

NH:

Non-Hispanic

OPE:

Organophosphate ester

PCBs:

Polychlorinated biphenyls

PBDEs:

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers

PFAS:

Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances

PFDoDA:

Perfluorododecanoic acid

PFHpA :

Perfluoroheptanoic acid

PFHxS:

Perfluorohexanesulphonic acid

PFNA:

Perfluorononaoic acid

PFOA:

Perfluorooctanoic acid

PFOS :

Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid

POP:

Persistent organic pollutant

SES:

Socioeconomic status

T2DM:

Type 2 diabetes mellitus

TC:

Total cholesterol

TG:

Triglycerides

US:

United States

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Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences library staff, Stacy Mantooth and Erin Knight, for assistance with the literature search. The authors also wish to thank Samuel Goldstein for assistance with the literature review and data extraction.

Funding

This work was funded by the Intramural Program at the NIH, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (Z1AES103325-01).

Author information

Symielle Gaston and Chandra Jackson contributed to the study conception and design. The review of the literature was completed by Symielle Gaston. Symielle Gaston and Chandra Jackson drafted the manuscript. Chandra Jackson obtained funding and supervised the study. Symielle Gaston, Linda Birnbaum, and Chandra Jackson provided critical revisions for important intellectual content, read, and approved the final manuscript.

Correspondence to Chandra L. Jackson.

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Gaston, S.A., Birnbaum, L.S. & Jackson, C.L. Synthetic Chemicals and Cardiometabolic Health Across the Life Course Among Vulnerable Populations: a Review of the Literature from 2018 to 2019. Curr Envir Health Rpt 7, 30–47 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40572-020-00265-6

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Keywords

  • Endocrine disruptors
  • Metabolic diseases
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Minority health
  • Vulnerable populations
  • Pregnancy complications