Environmental Toxicants and Cardiovascular Behavioral Medicine

Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemChapter


Exposure to environmental toxicants (e.g., lead, mercury) is widespread and now a part of the “normal” human condition. Recent research suggests the potential for fruitful collaboration between the fields of neurotoxicology and cardiovascular behavioral medicine as we seek to determine if (and then how) these toxicants might affect cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. This chapter begins with an overview of terms and methods used in the field of neurotoxicology. Next, I review the literature that links environmental toxicants to CVD risk. The toxicants that have been considered most extensively include lead, mercury, particulate matter, persistent organic pollutants (POPs), and arsenic. Although more research is necessary before toxicants become an established risk factor, there is sufficient evidence to warrant the inclusion of these exposure variables in our models of CVD risk. Moreover, associations with psychosocial variables (e.g., negative associations between socioeconomic status and exposure to lead) suggest the need to include these variables in cardiovascular behavioral medicine research. In fact, with an inherently interdisciplinary approach, the field of cardiovascular behavioral medicine is uniquely situated to investigate the cardiovascular health consequences of our routine exposure to well over 200 environmental toxicants in our environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Cardiovascular Behavioral Medicine
PublisherSpringer New York
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9780387859606
ISBN (Print)9780387859590
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Environmental toxicants
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Neurotoxicology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • General Medicine


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