Association between exposure to alkylbenzenes and cardiovascular disease among National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) participants.
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Numerous studies have demonstrated that air pollution is associated with an increased risk of mortality and morbidity due to cardiovascular disease (CVD). Alkylbenzenes are ubiquitous in outdoor and indoor air environments. Yet few studies have evaluated the potential links between exposures to alkylbenzenes and CVD independent of tobacco smoking. In this study, we used the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to examine the relationship between alkylbenzenes (toluene, styrene, ethylbenzene, and the xylenes) and CVD prevalence. All five alkylbenzenes suggested linear trends. Subjects in higher exposure categories of blood alkylbenzenes had higher prevalence of CVD, as compared to subjects in the reference group, of below the limit of detection (LOD) and less than the 50th percentile in the case of toluene and styrene. For the remainder of the alkylbenzes, similar statistically significant associations were observed. Further studies are needed to explore associations between these highly prevalent pollutants and CVD.