Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2022 Jun 18. doi: 10.1007/s11356-022-21391-8. Online ahead of print.
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are widely existing organic pollutants in the environment, and their persistence in the environment makes us have to pay continuous attention to their health effects. However, since the American Heart Association updated its definition of hypertension in 2017, few studies have explored the relationship. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between PAH exposure and hypertension after the updated definition of hypertension and explore whether body mass index (BMI) moderates this relationship. A total of 6332 adult participants from the 2009-2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) were examined. Multiple logistic regression and restricted cubic splines were used to analyze the association between urinary polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon metabolites and hypertension, and the dose-response relationship. Weighted quantile sum (WQS) regression was applied to blood pressure to reveal multiple exposure effects and the relative weights of each PAH. The prevalence of hypertension in the study population was 48.52%. There was a positive dose-response relationship between high exposure to 1-hydroxynaphthalene, 2&3-hydroxyphenanthrene, and the risk of hypertension. Naphthalene metabolites accounted for the most significant proportion of systolic blood pressure, and phenanthrene metabolites accounted for the most significant proportion of diastolic blood pressure. Obese individuals with high PAH exposure were at greater risk for hypertension than individuals with low PAH exposure and normal BMI. Higher prevalence rate and stronger association of metabolites with outcomes were obtained in the general population of the USA under the new guideline. High levels of exposure to PAHs were positively associated with the risk of hypertension, and these effects were modified by BMI.