Comparison of residue levels of persistent organochlorine compounds in butter from Spain and from other European countries

J Environ Sci Health B. 2000 Mar;35(2):201-10. doi: 10.1080/03601230009373264.


Commercially available butter from Spain (n = 36) and from other European countries (n = 20) has been analyzed by high resolution gas chromatography with an electron capture detector for organochlorine contaminants. The results showed that both groups of samples have a similar pattern of these pollutants, but in all cases where significant differences in concentrations were found, Spanish samples presented higher values. This was especially notable for lindane (median values 11.6 vs. 3.0 ng/g wet weight), hexachlorobenzene (6.4 vs. 0.5) and beta-hexachlorocyclohexane (3.1 vs. 1.2). Total PCBs showed no differences (5.4 vs. 6.6), but detailed analysis of congener composition indicated a higher presence in Spanish samples of the most persistent chlorinated PCBs. No sample presented levels of concern for any single organochlorine compound. It is interesting to note that consumption of butter in Spain is low so, although levels of organochlorines are higher than those found in other countries, consumers are less exposed through this foodstuff than in other European countries. These results also confirm the fact that environmental pollution by organochlorines is more important in Spain than in the rest of Europe.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Butter*
  • Chromatography, Gas
  • Europe
  • Food Contamination*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated*
  • Insecticides / analysis*
  • Pesticide Residues / analysis*
  • Spain


  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated
  • Insecticides
  • Pesticide Residues
  • Butter