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    Few in vivo inhalation studies have explored the toxicity of environmentally relevant mixtures of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The manufacture of industrial PCBs was banned in 1978, but PCBs continue to be formed in industrial and consumer products. Schools represent a significant source of airborne exposures to legacy and nonlegacy PCBs, placing children at risk. To evaluate the impact of these exposures, we generated an airborne mixture of PCBs, called the School Air Mixture (SAM), to match the profile of an older school from our adolescent cohort study. Female Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed either to SAM or filtered air in nose-only exposure systems, 4 h/day for 4 weeks. Congener-specific air and tissue PCB profiles were assessed using gas chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (GC-MS/MS). PCB exposures recapitulated the target school air profile with a similarity coefficient, cos θ of 0.83. PCB inhalation yielded μg/g ∑209 PCB levels in tissues. Neurobehavioral testing demonstrated a modest effect on spatial learning and memory in SAM-exposed rats. PCB exposure induced oxidative stress in the liver and lungs, affected the maturational stages of hematopoietic stem cells, reduced telomerase activity in bone marrow cells, and altered the gut microbiota. This is the first study to emulate PCB exposures in a school and comprehensively evaluate toxicity.


    Hui Wang, Andrea Adamcakova-Dodd, Susanne Flor, Laura Gosse, Violet E Klenov, Jeffrey M Stolwijk, Hans-Joachim Lehmler, Keri C Hornbuckle, Gabriele Ludewig, Larry W Robertson, Peter S Thorne. Comprehensive Subchronic Inhalation Toxicity Assessment of an Indoor School Air Mixture of PCBs. Environmental science & technology. 2020 Dec 15;54(24):15976-15985

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    PMID: 33256405

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