Environmental Toxins and Depression in an American Indian Community
Abstract Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are a public health problem affecting many minority communities. We examined relationships between PCBs and depression among 306 adults on the Akwesasne Reservation (68% females; 18-79 years) exposed to PCBs through industrial contamination. Blood was collected to measure total PCB levels, which also were categorized based on level of chlorination and dioxin-like structure. The Center for Epidemiology Studies of Depression (CES-D) scale scores increased as terciles of measured PCB blood level increased, though increases were not significant (p>0.05). While there are documented health effects of PCBs, these results, consistent with one previous study, demonstrate depression is not associated with PCB exposure. Further study of the mechanisms for successfully coping with such adverse circumstances is warranted.