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Arh Hig Rada Toksikol. 2010 Sep;61(3):339-56. doi: 10.2478/10004-1254-61-2010-2007.

[Levels and distribution of PCBs and organochlorine pesticides in the air, pine needles, and human milk].

[Article in Croatian]

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  • 1Institut za medicinska istrazivanja i medicinu rada, Zagreb, Hrvatska. dkozul@imi.hr


This review presents the findings on the distribution and levels of 20 congeners of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and 7 organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) all over the world, based on measurements in samples of air, human milk and pine needles. The Institute for Medical Research and Occupational Health has been conducting research in all three matrices for many years, and this review summarises its results too. Significant decrease in concentrations of organochlorine compounds has been seen after the legal ban of their use, but that decresing trend has been slowed down and they are still found in all samples. In general, higher PCB levels are found in samples from urban locations, pesticides levels are higher in samples from locations where has been their probable usage in agriculture, while HCB levels are usually indicator of industrial activity.γ-HCH has been found in the highest concentration in air and pine needles samples, while in humans DDE and β-HCH are the most abundant compounds. Indicator PCB congeners are also differently present in environment and humans: in air and pine needles lower-chlorinated, more volatile PCB congeners have higher concentrations while in humans that goes for more persistent higher-chlorinated PCB congeners. Among toxic ortho-substituted PCB congeners in human and environmental samples the most abundant is PCB-118 while three non-ortho substituted congeners (PCB-77, PCB-126 and PCB-169) that are the most toxic ones are rarely detected. From organochlorine pesticides, DDD is found in lowest concentrations in all samples.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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