Detection of dicofol and related pesticides in human breast milk from China, Korea and Japan.

PMID 21051069


Previously, we demonstrated that the concentrations of DDTs were greater in breast milk collected from Chinese mothers than from Japanese and Korean mothers. To investigate dicofol as a possible source of the DDTs in human breast milk, we collected breast milk samples from 2007 to 2009 in China (Beijing), Korea (Seoul, Busan) and Japan (Sendai, Takarazuka and Takayama). Using these breast milk samples, we quantified the concentrations of dichlorobenzophenone, a pyrolysis product of dicofol (simply referred to as dicofol hereafter), dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane and its metabolites (DDTs) using GC-MS. Overall, 12 of 14 pooled breast milk samples from 210 mothers contained detectable levels of dicofol (>0.1 ng g⁻¹ lipid). The geometric mean concentration of dicofol in the Japanese breast milk samples was 0.3 ng g⁻¹ lipid and significantly lower than that in Chinese (9.6 ng g⁻¹ lipid) or Korean breast milk samples (1.9 ng g⁻¹ lipid) (p<0.05 for each). Furthermore, the ΣDDT levels in breast milk from China were 10-fold higher than those from Korea and Japan. The present results strongly suggest the presence of extensive emission sources of both dicofol and DDTs in China. However, exposure to dicofol cannot explain the large exposure of Chinese mothers to DDTs because of the trace levels of dicofol in the ΣDDTs. In the present study, dicofol was confirmed to be detectable in human breast milk. This is the first report to identify dicofol in human samples.

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