Environment international

Predictors of PCP, OH-PCBs, PCBs and chlorinated pesticides in a general female Norwegian population.

PMID 22459059


The aims of the current study were to assess plasma concentrations and predictors of halogenated phenolic compounds (HPCs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and chlorinated pesticides in a representative group of postmenopausal Norwegian women (n=311, mean age: 56 years). In addition to delivering a blood sample, the participants had also filled out a detailed questionnaire regarding their current health status, use of medication and dietary habits, etc. The association between a large number of dietary variables, lifestyle factors and plasma concentration of organic pollutants were investigated using multivariate statistics. Within the current study group, p,p'-DDE (median: 903 ng/L w.w.) and pentachlorophenol (PCP, median: 711 ng/L w.w.) were the dominating compounds on a wet weight basis and were present in considerable higher concentrations than the PCBs, the hydroxylated PCBs (OH-PCBs) and the remaining chlorinated pesticides. Of the PCBs, PCB 153 was detected in highest concentrations, whereas 4-OH-PCB187 was present in highest concentration of the selected OH-PCBs. The ratio of ΣOH-PCB to ΣPCB varied between 0.06 and 0.77 ng/L and were significantly lower in individuals with higher ΣPCB concentration. PCP did not co-vary with the other contaminants, indicating a different route of exposure. No clear food cluster was positively associated with PCP exposure; however intake of marine food was negatively linked to PCP concentration and age and being a non-smoker were positive predictors of PCP. The other investigated contaminants co-varied and were positively associated with age, plasma concentrations of marine derived omega-3 fatty acids and a traditional Norwegian fish and bread based diet. The difference in contaminant concentration between high, medium and low consumers of total marine food were however marginal for the dominating PCBs and chlorinated pesticides. The current results indicate however that marine food in itself could be a source of some of the OH-PCBs, regardless of their PCB precursors. As PCP is one of the dominating organic contaminants within the general female Norwegian population, future research on human concentrations, exposure routes and potential health effects of PCP is encouraged. Continued monitoring of human OH-PCB levels should also be performed as they could be present at levels almost as high as the PCBs and they are expected to be more toxic than their mother substances.