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Concurrent Session: Persistent organic pollutants: a detrimental food-related factor

Saturday, May 7, 2016
1:45pm - 3:00pm


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Persistent organic pollutants: a detrimental food-related factor

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are a wide range of synthetic chemicals that have an intrinsic resistance to natural degradation. This symposium will discuss 1) epidemiological links between POPs exposure and type 2 diabetes and 2) potential nutrition-related strategies to favor their body clearance.

Body pollution: is detoxing possible?
Angelo Tremblay

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and toxic elements such as heavy metals accumulate in blood and body tissues where they discretely interfere with optimal metabolic functionality and ultimately promote the development of diseases. Even if this problem is not recent, it remains a major issue for scientists and health professionals who have to deal with the challenge to develop successful decontamination strategies. The problem may be particularly important for obese individuals in whom the increased adiposity represents a large dilution space for lipid soluble POPs. In response to weight loss, be it induced by a diet or a surgery, blood and tissue levels of POPs increase with fat loss. This POP hyperconcentation is related to a decrease in thyroid hormone concentrations, skeletal muscle oxidative capacity and energy expenditure, which represents a biological context favoring body weight regain. To counteract these side effects of weight loss, some investigators have successfully tested Olestra that was found to strongly reduce blood POP concentrations. In our hands, Olestra was less potent to promote POP clearance, presumably because of the low pollutant level of our study participants. Interestingly, we observed statistically significant lower blood POP levels in vegans than in omnivores although the between-group differences were small. The use of prebiotics and/or probiotics offers interesting perspectives to accentuate the clearance of POPs and to also attenuate the toxic effects of heavy metals. In this regard, some vitamin and mineral supplements have been shown to favorably influence detoxing mechanisms related to lead and cadmium. Taken together, these observations provide some optimism about body detoxing approaches although further research is needed to provide a solid relevant proof of concept.  

Persistent organic pollutants: a detrimental food-related factor
Dr. Pascal Imbeault

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are a wide range of synthetic chemicals that have an intrinsic resistance to natural degradation. A large fraction of these environmental contaminants accumulate for years in adipose tissue, the most important lipid-storage site of the human body. This review will discuss epidemiological links between POPs exposure and the development of obesity and type 2 diabetes in humans.

Construction of a database for assessing dietary exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants as persistent organic pollutants in the food supply
Beatrice Boucher (Abstract Presentation)

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are flame retardants used in manufactured goods and are persistent organic pollutants. PBDEs have contaminated the food supply and are endocrine disruptors, thus intake may be associated with breast cancer risk. The objective was to develop a database of PBDE concentrations in foods and dietary supplements to assess intake in a breast cancer study in women aged 18-44 years. Congener-specific analytical data for 11 dietary PBDEs were compiled by searching Medline for articles reporting samples collected after 2001. International data were included due to the global nature of the food supply. Food description, sampling and handling, origin, analytical and cooking methods, sample number (composite/individual), and assay unit were identified. Mean PBDE concentrations will be derived and assigned to items on a modified Block food frequency questionnaire to estimate dietary intake. The final database contains 86 unique articles and 1358 entries in 9 broad food and supplement groups. Fish and shellfish were the most commonly analyzed foods. The distribution of PBDE levels varied between and within groups, suggesting that assessing intake at a food- and species-specific level may better estimate dietary PBDE exposure. Future work will determine correlations between dietary intake and serum PBDEs which will improve our understanding of the relative contribution of diet to total PBDE burden. Learning objectives include to gain insight into the development of a PBDE database using literature values and an improved understanding of the distribution of PBDEs in our food supply which may have detrimental health effects.



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