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Chemosphere. 2008 May;72(1):87-94. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2008.01.053. Epub 2008 Mar 6.

Concentrations of polybrominated diphenyl ethers, organochlorine compounds and nitro musks in mother's milk from Germany (Bavaria).

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Bavarian Health and Food Safety Authority, Department of Environmental Health, Veterinaerstrasse 2, D-85764 Oberschleissheim, Germany.


The aim of this study was to determine a new spectrum of substances that will be selected for future breast milk monitoring in Bavaria, Germany. Up to now, the analysis of breast milk in Bavaria was limited to selected organochlorine pesticides (OCP) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB). Information on background levels of toxicologically interesting substances, such as dioxins and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (dl-PCB) or on flame retardants, such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) are very limited or not available for Bavaria. We present here levels on OCP, some nitro musks, indicator PCB, polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDD), polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDF) and dl-PCB concentrations in breast milk collected at 12 weeks post-partum of 43 primiparous mothers living in Bavaria. The average concentrations of PCDD, PCDF and dl-PCB were 4.98, 4.93 and 9.92 pg WHO-TEQ g(-1) lipid, respectively. The mean contribution of PCDD, PCDF, non-ortho and mono-ortho PCB to the total WHO-TEQ is consistently about 25% each. Furthermore the concentration on PBDE in breast milk at two sampling points, 12 weeks and 16 weeks after delivery, were determined. Overall, 19 PBDE congeners were analysed, however the level of 12 PBDE congeners were below the limit of detection. BDE-153 and BDE-47 were the predominant congeners accounting for about 66% of the total PBDE. The means of the total concentrations of PBDE (five congeners) at the first and second sampling point were 1.90 and 2.03 ng g(-1) lipid, respectively. Based on our results the overall concentrations of the analysed substances in milk samples from Bavaria are consistent with the levels of breast milk samples of other European countries reflecting the low background body burden of these compounds.

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