This study was carried out in partnership with Akwesasne Mohawks whose environment has been polluted with PCBs from industrial effluent. Using three cognitive tests (Woodcock Johnson Revised, Test of Memory and Learning, and Ravens Progressive Matrices), we investigated the cognitive functioning of 269 adolescents and related their scores to PCBs in their blood. Although the group of adolescents performed as the standardization sample of other adolescents of the same age in North America, we found that scores on three of their subtests (all involving memory) were negatively related to PCB body burden. There was an especially robust association of PCBs with the memory measures of Delayed Recall and Long Term Retrieval. There was some evidence that both PCB congener structure and persistence had an influence on cognitive functioning. The fact that PCBs of low persistence were related to some cognitive subtests suggests that the PCB exposure of Akwesasne adolescents has been recent and may be ongoing.
Newman, Joan 4425055; Gallo, Mia; Environment, Akwesasne Task Force on the; and Schell, Lawrence M.
"Cognitive Functioning of Akwesasne Mohawk Adolescents Exposed to PCBs,"
Journal of Indigenous Research: Vol. 5
, Article 1.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/kicjir/vol5/iss1/1