© 2015 Elsevier Inc. Background: Self-rated health (SRH) is a powerful predictor of mortality, morbidity, and need for health services. SRH generally increases with educational level, and decreases with age, number of chronic conditions, and body mass index (BMI). Because human concentrations of most persistent organic pollutants (POPs) also vary by age, education, and BMI, and because of the physiological and clinical effects of POPs, we hypothesized that body concentrations of POPs are inversely associated with SRH. Objectives: To analyze the relation between serum concentrations of POPs and SRH in the general population of Catalonia, Spain, taking into account sociodemographic factors and BMI, as well as chronic health conditions and mental disorders, measured by the General Health Questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12). Methods: POP serum concentrations were measured by gas chromatography with electron-capture detection in 919 participants of the Catalan Health Interview Survey. Results: Individuals with higher concentrations of POPs had significantly poorer SRH; e.g., the median concentration of HCB in subjects with poor SRH was twice as high as in subjects with excellent SRH (366. ng/g vs. 169. ng/g, respectively; p-value<0.001). In crude models and in models adjusted for sex and BMI, the POPs-SRH association was often dose-dependent, and the likelihood of poor or regular SRH was 2 to 4-times higher in subjects with POP concentrations in the top quartile. In models adjusted for age or for chronic conditions virtually all ORs were near unity. No associations were found between POP levels and GHQ-12. Conclusions: Individuals with higher concentrations of POPs had significantly poorer SRH, an association likely due to age and chronic conditions, but not to sex, education, social class, BMI, or mental disorders.
- Chronic disorders
- Human biomonitoring
- Persistent organic pollutants (POPs)
- Self-rated health