Follow up Study

The Anniston Community Health Survey that was conducted during 2005-2007 gave us useful information about polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) levels in Anniston. We found associations between PCBs and health measures such as blood pressure and diabetes in some groups of people in Anniston (Goncharov et al., 2010 [PDF – 201 KB], 2011 [PDF – 411 KB]; Silverstone et al., 2012 [PDF – 316 KB]), but we would like to study those more. Scientific research also suggests that additional aspects of health may be related to PCBs and other chemical exposures that we would also like to study in Anniston.

Researchers from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) are conducting this study. The Calhoun County Health Department (CCHD) is helping with key parts of this study. The study is funded by NIH and ATSDR. Data collection began in January 2014.

There are 209 possible PCB congeners that have different chemical and toxicological properties. Based on the number and arrangement of chlorine atoms in this group of closely related chemical compounds, PCB congeners may be classified as non-ortho (also called coplanar) PCBs or ortho-substituted PCBs. They can also be broadly classified based on their toxicological similarity with dioxins as dioxin-like or non-dioxin-like (Hansen, 1998). Ortho-PCBs include both dioxin-like (mono-ortho PCBs) and non-dioxin-like congeners (all other ortho-PCBs). Non-ortho coplanar PCB congeners (co-PCBs) are all dioxin-like.

Repeated analyses of ortho-substituted PCB congeners and new analyses of potentially more toxic coplanar PCBs and dioxins /dibenzofurans in approximately 300 Anniston residents are the focus points of the study. Follow-up evaluation of health outcomes with continued emphasis on heart disease, obesity, diabetes, thyroid disease and autoimmune disease will take advantage of the new design and statistical analyses options available as well as more comprehensive clinical tests (including extended lipid profiles, glycemic parameters, and cytokine measurements). Repeated analyses of all chemicals from the original study will be complemented by the measurements of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and heavy metals (lead, mercury, cadmium, manganese, and selenium).

The approvals to conduct the study have been obtained from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.


  1. Goncharov A, Bloom M, Pavuk M, Birman I, Carpenter DO. Blood pressure and hypertension in relation to levels of serum polychlorinated biphenyls in residents of Anniston, Alabama. Journal of Hypertension 28(10): 2053-60, 2010. (for subscribers only; attachment for pdf file [PDF – 201 KB])
  2. Goncharov A, Pavuk M, Foushee HR, and Carpenter DO for the Anniston Environmental Health Research Consortium. Blood pressure in relation to concentrations of PCB congeners and chlorinated pesticides. Environmental Health Perspectives 119(3):319-25; 2011. [PDF – 411 KB]
  3. Silverstone AE, Rosenbaum PF, Weinstock RS, Bartell SM, Foushee HR, Shelton C, Pavuk M. Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB) Exposure and Diabetes: Results from the Anniston Community Health Survey. Environmental Health Perspectives 120(5): 727-32; 2012. [PDF – 316 KB]
  4. Hansen, L.G., 1998. Stepping backward to improve assessment of PCB congener toxicities. Environ. Health Perspect. 106 Suppl 1, 171-189.