The association between environmental pollution and risk of influenza-like illness (ILI) among general population has been reported. However, the relationships between the individual pollutants and ILI risk are still under discussion. Our study aimed to explore the associations of the typical environmental polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and metal(loid)s with ILI risk among women population. We carried out a cross-sectional study and included a total of 396 housewives in Shanxi Province, China. The information on their general characteristics and ILI frequency was collected by questionnaire. We collected their hair samples and analyzed the concentrations of PAHs and various metal(loid)s. The results indicated that only acenaphthylene concentration of the nine detected PAH congeners in the hair was significantly associated with ILI risk with adjusted odds ratio (AOR) and 95% confidence interval (95% CI) of 0.58 (0.38 – 0.91). Among the concerned 4 toxic metal(loid)s and 15 rare earth elements, only the hair concentration of arsenic had a positive dose-response relationship with ILI risk. In addition, we found that there were negative dose-response associations of the three essential trace elements (i.e. chromium, cobalt, and nickel), and four essential alkaline earth elements (i.e. magnesium, calcium, strontium, barium) with ILI risk. It was concluded that the environmental exposure to certain compounds of housewives may contribute to their ILI development.
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