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Sci Total Environ. 2008 May 1;394(1):39-51. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2008.01.012. Epub 2008 Mar 4.

Determination of dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls in breast milk, maternal blood and cord blood from residents of Tohoku, Japan.

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  • 1Environmental Health Sciences, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, 2-1 Seiryo, Sendai 980-8575, Japan.


Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are bioaccumulative chemicals that are considered to be toxic contaminants based on several epidemiological studies. To elucidate exposure levels of these chemicals in the present study, concentrations of PCDD/DFs, dioxin-like PCBs (DL-PCBs) and PCBs in breast milk, maternal blood and cord blood obtained from the same participants registered in a birth cohort study in Tohoku, Japan, were measured. Congener-specific analysis revealed several differences in minor congeners of these compounds among the three specimen types, although major congeners were detected in the specimens. The toxicity equivalence quantity concentrations (1998 WHO-TEF) and PCBs in breast milk, maternal blood and cord blood on the whole and on a lipid basis were in the order of breast milk > maternal blood > cord blood. Pearson's correlation coefficients of TEQs and total PCBs among the three specimens were high, with the correlation coefficient of TEQ between breast milk and maternal blood being the highest (r=0.94, p<0.001). On the other hand, the TEQ between breast milk and cord blood was the lowest (r=0.79, p<0.001). Pearson's correlation coefficient between the TEQ and PCBs in each specimen was also high (r=0.82-0.95, p<0.001). The associations of chemical concentrations with maternal age, parity, fish intake, BMI and the rate of body weight increase during pregnancy were analyzed with multiple linear regression analysis. TEQ concentrations and PCBs were negatively associated with parity (p<0.05), and maternal age was positively associated with PCBs (p<0.05). However, the associations with BMI and fish intake during pregnancy were not significant. These results suggest that parity is an important factor affecting the concentrations of dioxins and PCBs in these specimens.

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