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Levels and regional trends of persistent organochlorines and polybrominated diphenyl ethers in Asian breast milk demonstrate POPs signatures unique to individual countries

Koichi Haraguchi, Akio Koizumi, Kayoko Inoue, Kouji H Harada, Toshiaki Hitomi, Mutsuko Minata, Miyako Tanabe, Yoshihisa Kato, Eri Nishimura, Yoshiaki Yamamoto, Takao Watanabe, Katsunobu Takenaka, Shigeki Uehara, Hye-Ran Yang, Min-Young Kim, Chan-Seok Moon, Hae-Sook Kim, Peiyu Wang, Aiping Liu, Nguyen Ngoc Hung
Environment International 2009, 35 (7): 1072-9
19573925
Human breast milk samples collected in 2007-2008 from four countries, Vietnam (Hanoi), China (Beijing), Korea (Seoul) and Japan (Sendai, Kyoto and Takayama), were analyzed for persistent organic pollutants (POPs) such as dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane and its metabolites (DDTs), chlordane-related compounds (CHLs), hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCHs), hexachlorobenzene (HCB), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). Comparing with previous surveys, the present study indicates that the DDTs in breast milk from China and Vietnam had gradually decreased during the last decade, but were still 5-10 times higher than those in other nations. The ratios of p,p'-DDE/p,p'-DDT and o,p'-DDT/p,p'-DDT were higher in Beijing than in the other countries, suggesting that there is less fresh intake of commercial DDT products and a possible exposure to dicofol in China. CHL and PCB levels were relatively higher in mothers from Japan, whereas beta-HCH and HCB were more common in Chinese women. In Japan, it is suspected that mothers in the urban/coastal area (Sendai) were more continuously exposed to organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) than mothers in the rural/inland area (Takayama). In addition, OCP levels in primiparae were significantly higher than those in multiparae from Japan and Korea. These indicate that both parity and regional factors are major determinants of the levels of OCPs and PCBs in human milk. On the other hand, higher concentrations of PBDEs were observed in mothers' milk from Korea. The congener was dominated by BDE-47 (43-54%), followed by BDE-153 (23-33%) in all regions except for Beijing where BDE-28 (23%) was relatively abundant. In Japanese breast milk, regional and parity-dependent distributions were not observed for PBDEs. Among PBDE congeners, age-dependency was observed for BDE-153, which was negatively correlated (p<0.05) to the age of mothers in Kyoto (17 participants were housewives), while it increased with age in Sendai (10 participants were clerks). No such correlation was seen for BDE-47, indicating that BDE-47 was ingested and assimilated via different kinetics or routes from BDE-153 in Japan.

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