Korean J Fam Med 2017; 38(4): 233-238  https://doi.org/10.4082/kjfm.2017.38.4.233
The Relationship between the Blood Level of Persistent Organic Pollutants and Common Gastrointestinal Symptoms
Hyo-Min Kim1, Chang-Ho Youn2,*, Hae Jin Ko2, Seon-Hwa Lee3, Yu-Mi Lee4
1Department of Family Medicine, Kyungpook National University Medical Center, Daegu, Korea
2Department of Family Medicine, Kyungpook National University School of Medicine, Daegu, Korea
3Graduate School of Public Health, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Korea
4Regional Cardiocerebrovascular Center, Kyungpook National University Hospital, Daegu, Korea
Chang-Ho Youn Tel: +82-53-420-5795, Fax: +82-53-420-5480, E-mail: ychfm@knu.ac.kr
Received: August 24, 2016; Accepted: September 1, 2016; Published online: July 20, 2017.
© Korean Academy of Family Medicine. All rights reserved.

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Background: Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are toxic materials that cannot be broken down naturally and that easily accumulate in the body. Although several studies have attempted to uncover the effects of POPs on the endocrine and nervous systems and on cancer, few focus on the relationship between low-dose POPs and public health. Here, we attempt to determine the relationship between the level of POPs and common gastrointestinal symptoms, including abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, and constipation.
Methods: We recruited 121 subjects who visited Kyungpook National University Medical Center for health screening. Plasma concentrations were evaluated for 40 kinds of POPs including 17 types of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and 23 types of organochlorine pesticides (OCP). Furthermore, the Korean version of the Rome III criteria was used to identify gastrointestinal symptoms.
Results: Based on our results, abdominal discomfort showed an inverse relationship with several PCBs and an inverted U-shaped relationship with several other OCPs including pp-DDD and pp-DDT. The effects of pp-DDD and pp-DDT on abdominal discomfort were similar to those of OCPs on obesity and metabolic syndrome.
Conclusion: Our results suggest that mild and unspecified gastrointestinal symptoms with no clear causes could be related to POP levels.
Keywords: Persistent Organic Pollutants; Abdominal Discomfort; Diarrhea; Constipation

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