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Medical News and Perspectives
November 16, 2011

Environmental Pollutants Tied to Atherosclerosis

JAMA. 2011;306(19):2081. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1666

Older adults with higher levels of certain environmental pollutants are more likely than those with lower levels to have atherosclerotic plaques, researchers from Sweden have found.

A set of chemicals known as persistent organic pollutants are leached from landfills, released during manufacturing and recycling processes, and used in pesticide applications. Once in the environment, these chemicals bioaccumulate—that is, they become more concentrated as they move up the food chain.