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Organochlorine insecticides and PCB residues in fat tissues of autopsied trauma victims in Israel: 1984 to 1986.

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Unit of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Ein Karem, Jerusalem, Israel.


Between the 1950s and the 1970s, large quantities of organochlorines were used as insecticides in Israel's cowsheds, causing massive contamination of Israel's milk supply. In 32 of 40 autopsied Israeli trauma victims who died between 1984 to 1986, we found three or more types of organochlorines in adipose tissue, and at least one organochlorine residue in all 40 individuals. The cumulative mean organochlorine levels (ppm) in men and women were as follows: DDE = 5.73 and 4.36; DDT = 0.12 and 0.30; HCB = 0.31 and 0.11; beta-HCH = 0.53 and 0.43; PCB = 0.10 and 0.08, respectively. PCB residue levels in fat tissue were lower than those noted in other countries and below the adverse levels associated with health effects. The cumulative mean organochlorine levels in adipose tissue were higher in men than in women in all cases except for DDT. Mean levels for DDE + DDT combined was higher in older than younger people, and all persons' DDT/DDE ratios were less than 1. The DDE levels in adipose tissue were higher than the levels reported in many other countries during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Our findings suggest that population-wide exposures to organochlorine insecticides come not only from contaminated milk products but other food products as well. The amounts of organochlorines in adipose tissue are compatible with those found in food residue samples during the same period.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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