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Environ Int. 2010 Jan;36(1):27-35. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2009.09.003. Epub 2009 Oct 25.

Persistent organic pollutants in breast milk of mothers residing around an open dumping site in Kolkata, India: specific dioxin-like PCB levels and fish as a potential source.

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Center for Marine Environmental Studies (CMES), Ehime University, Bunkyo-cho 2-5, Matsuyama 790-8577, Japan.


Concentrations of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) such as polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and organochlorine pesticides were measured in human breast milk collected from mothers residing near an open dumping site and a reference site in Kolkata, India during 2004-2005. POPs were detected in all the human milk samples analyzed, suggesting that residents of Kolkata are widely exposed to these contaminants. Concentrations of dioxin-like PCBs in the samples from the dumping site were significantly higher than in the reference site samples, whereas no such difference was found for PCDDs and PCDFs. In addition, significantly higher concentrations of total PCBs were also observed in the samples from the dumping site than the reference site. Interestingly, concentrations of total and dioxin-like PCBs in the breast milk of mothers from the dumping site significantly increased with the number of years of residence near the dumping site. These results indicate that significant pollution sources of PCBs are present in the dumping site of Kolkata and the residents living around are exposed to relatively higher levels of PCBs. When the residue levels of dioxins and related compounds in fish collected from ponds near the Kolkata dumping site and the reference site were measured, it was found that dioxin-like PCB and TEQ levels in fish from the dumping site were notably higher than those from the reference site. This result indicates that fish is a potential source of PCBs for residents living near the Kolkata dumping site.

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