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Food Chem Toxicol. 2013 Apr;54:59-69. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2011.10.058. Epub 2011 Oct 28.

Pollutant concentrations in placenta.

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National Institute for Health and Welfare, Terveyden ja hyvinvoinnin laitos, Kuopio, Finland.


Unborn children are exposed to environmental pollutants via the placenta, and there is a causal relationship between maternal intake of pollutants and fetal exposure. Placental examination is an effective way for acquiring data for estimating fetal exposure. We analyzed the concentrations of 104 congeners of persistent organic pollutants, seven organotin compounds, five heavy metals, and methylmercury in 130 randomly selected placentas. Additionally, we examined similarities between pollutant concentrations by analyzing correlations between their placental concentrations. Our results yield new information for conducting contaminant risk assessments for the prenatal period. Out of the 117 individual persistent organic pollutants or metals assayed, 46 could be detected in more than half of the placentas. Moreover, dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p,p'-DDE) was found in all placentas. The data indicates that fetal exposure to dioxins and furans (PCDD/Fs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), p,p'-DDE, and methylmercury depends on the mother's parity, and age. We also conclude that sources of the above four pollutants are similar but differ from the sources of polybrominated diphenyl ethers.

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