Levels of dioxins and polybrominated diphenyl ethers in human milk from three regions of northern China and potential dietary risk factors
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Human milk samples were collected from 50 breast-feeding mothers in Shijiazhuang, 60 in Tianjin and 48 in Yantai from November 2006 to April 2007. The three areas are located in northern China. We selected randomly 20 samples from each area for detection of polychlorinated dibenzodioxins/frans (PCDD/Fs), polycholorinated biphenyls (dl-PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) by high-resolution gas chromatography/high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRGC/HRMS). Our results show the average concentrations of PCDD/Fs plus dl-PCBs were 6.24 TEQ pg g 1fat, 7.54 TEQ pg g 1fat and 6.69 TEQ pg g 1 fat in human milk from Shijiazhuang, Tianjin and Yantai, respectively. The average concentrations of PBDEs were 3.71 ng g 1 fat, 3.42 ng g 1 fat and 4.16 ng g 1 fat in human milk from Shijiazhuang, Tianjin and Yantai, respectively. Among congeners of PBDEs, the high and low brominated congeners BDE209, BDE207, BDE197, BDE153, BDE15, BDE28 and BDE47 were the predominant PBDE congeners, accounting for 91%, 90% and 84% of total PBDEs in samples from Shijiazhuang, Tianjin and Yantai, respectively. Based on the results of an in-person interview of mothers using a questionnaire, freshwater fish consumption was found to correlate with total mono-ortho dl-PCBs (mo-PCBs) and sea fish consumption was found to correlate with total non-ortho dl-PCBs (no-PCBs) of human milk in these areas. However, no correlation was found between concentrations of total PBDEs and total TEQ of PCDD/Fs plus dl-PCBs and food consumption. Continuous surveillance on dioxins and dl-PCBs levels in human milk is needed to correctly evaluate both the environmental impact and human health risk in China.