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Tibial Bone Lead, but Not Serum Polychlorinated Biphenyl, Concentrations Are Associated With Neurocognitive Deficits in Former Capacitor Workers

Seegal, Richard F. PhD; Fitzgerald, Edward F. PhD; McCaffrey, Robert J. PhD; Shrestha, Srishti MPH; Hills, Elaine A. MA; Wolff, Mary S. PhD; Haase, Richard F. PhD; Todd, Andrew C. PhD; Parsons, Patrick J. PhD; Molho, Eric S. MD; Higgins, Donald S. MD; Factor, Stewart A. DO; Seibyl, John P. MD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: May 2013 - Volume 55 - Issue 5 - p 552–562
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e318285f3fd
Original Articles

Objective: To determine the relationships between tibial bone lead and serum polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) concentrations and neurocognitive function.

Methods: The study population consisted of men and women former capacitor workers had been employed by the General Electric Corporation between 1946 and 1977. Regression analyses evaluated the association between neurocognitive function and lipid-adjusted serum PCB and tibia lead concentrations.

Results: Tibia lead, but not serum PCBs, was significantly correlated with deficits in neurocognitive function. Women showed more associations between tibia lead and neurocognitive function than men, especially regarding executive function.

Conclusions: These results demonstrate that low levels of tibia lead, but not serum PCBs, are associated with neurocognitive deficits and that postmenopausal women show a greater number of deficits in executive function than men.

From the Wadsworth Center (Drs Seegal and Parsons), New York State Department of Health, Albany; Departments of Environmental Health Sciences (Drs Seegal, Fitzgerald, and Parsons) and Biomedical Sciences (Dr Seegal), School of Public Health, and Departments of Psychology (Dr McCaffrey) and Counseling Psychology (Dr Haase), University at Albany, Albany, NY; Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics (Ms Shrestha and Ms Hills), School of Public Health, University at Albany, Rensselaer, NY; Department of Preventive Medicine (Drs Wolff and Todd), Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY; Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Center of Albany Medical Center (Dr Molho), and Neurology (Dr Higgins), Stratton VA Medical Center, Albany, NY; Department of Neurology (Dr Factor), Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Ga; and Institute for Neurodegenerative Disorders (Dr Seibyl), New Haven, Conn.

Address correspondence to: Richard F. Seegal, PhD, Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, Empire State Plaza, PO Box 509, Albany, NY 12201 ( or

This study was supported by the United States Army Grant DAMD17-02-1-0173 1 to Richard F. Seegal.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

©2013The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine