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Chemosphere. 2007 Jun;68(5):797-803. Epub 2007 Apr 12.

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in human milk from Australia.

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  • 1National Research Centre for Environmental Toxicology (EnTox), The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. l.toms@uq.edu.au

Abstract

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are flame retardants added to a multitude of products to reduce flammability. PBDEs have been widely detected and quantified in biota and humans in many industrialised countries from the Northern Hemisphere. However data concerning the levels of these compounds in the Australian population and environment remain limited. The objectives of this study were to determine PBDE concentrations and congener profiles in Australian human milk and compare this to concentrations found in other countries. Pooled human milk samples obtained from mothers residing in 12 regions of Australia were analysed by HRGC/HRMS for 18 PBDE congeners. In total, 157 human milk samples collected in 2002 and 2003 were divided into 17 regional pools. PBDEs were detected in all pools of human milk from Australia. The mean+/-standard deviation and median summation operatorPBDE concentrations were 11.1+/-3.2 and 11.0 ng g(-1) lipid, respectively with a range of 6.1-18.7 ng g(-1) lipid. The congener profile was dominated by BDE-47 followed by BDE-99, -100, -153, -154 and -183. Regional differences were evaluated, but no trends were observed. The data suggest regional differences are likely to be small if they exist at all. The concentrations of PBDEs found in Australian human milk were lower than those reported from North America but higher than those reported from Europe and Asia. Our results suggest that the exposure pathways which contribute to the PBDE body burden in the Australian population require a better understanding in order to determine future policy regarding their use and disposal.

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