Association of serum concentration of organochlorine pesticides with dietary intake and other lifestyle factors among urban Chinese women

Environ Int. 2007 Feb;33(2):157-63. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2006.08.010. Epub 2006 Oct 18.


Concerns about the carcinogenic and endocrine-disrupting characteristics of organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) have led to a global ban on OCP use. However, OCPs persist in the environment for decades because of their long half-life. We evaluated serum levels of OCPs and their correlations with usual dietary intake and other lifestyle factors among 250 healthy women who participated as controls in the Shanghai Breast Cancer Study. Serum levels of hexachlorocyclohexane isomers (alpha-HCH, beta-HCH, gamma-HCH), dichloro-di-phenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) isomers (p,p'-DDE and p,p'-DDT), hexachlorobenzene (HCB), trans-nonachlor (TNC), and eight polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) congeners (IUPAC no. 74, 118, 138, 153, 170, 180, 183, and 187) were measured. Lifestyle factors and usual dietary habits over the past 5 years were assessed through an in-person interview. With the exception of PCB, total OCP levels in our study population were significantly higher than those observed in other countries. Age, income, body mass index, waist-to-hip ratio, number of pregnancies, and/or total duration of breastfeeding were all significantly correlated with all types of OCPs. Of the 20 food groups evaluated, correlations with serum total OCPs were observed for eggs (r=0.13), fresh beans (r=-0.17), tea (r=0.14), and animal fat (r=0.18). Multiple regression analyses showed that age and animal fat intake were positively associated with serum total level OCPs, while leafy vegetable and fresh bean consumption was negatively associated with OCPs level. Our study suggests that dietary intake may be an important contributor of serum levels of OCPs in Chinese women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • China
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated / blood*
  • Life Style*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pesticides / blood*
  • Urban Population*


  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated
  • Pesticides