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Environ Sci Technol. 2010 Dec 15;44(24):9550-6. doi: 10.1021/es1021922. Epub 2010 Nov 23.

Changes in concentrations of perfluorinated compounds, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, and polychlorinated biphenyls in Norwegian breast-milk during twelve months of lactation.

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Department of Analytical Chemistry, Division of Environmental Medicine, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, PO Box 4404 Nydalen, NO-0403 Oslo, Norway.

Erratum in

  • Environ Sci Technol. 2011 Apr 1;45(7):3192.


At present, scientific knowledge on depuration rates of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) is limited and the previous assumptions of considerable reduction of body burdens through breast-feeding have recently been challenged. We therefore studied elimination rates of important POPs in nine Norwegian primiparous mothers and one mother breast-feeding her second child by collecting breast-milk samples (n = 70) monthly from about two weeks to up to twelve months after birth. Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were determined in the breast-milk samples. Linear mixed effect models were established for selected compounds, and significant decreases in the range of 1.2-4.7% in breast-milk concentrations per month were observed for a wide range of PCBs and PBDEs. For the first time, depuration rates for perfluorooctylsulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) are presented, being 3.8 and 7.8% per month, respectively (p < 0.05). The relative amount of the branched PFOS isomers in the breast-milk samples was 18% on average (range 6-36%, RSD 30%). There were no significant differences in isomer pattern between the mothers, or changes during the lactation period. After a year of nursing the breast-milk concentrations of PFCs, PBDEs, and PCBs were reduced by 15-94%.

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