Organochlorine pesticides in placentas from Southern Spain and some related factors

Placenta. 2007 Jul;28(7):631-8. doi: 10.1016/j.placenta.2006.09.009. Epub 2006 Nov 15.


During pregnancy, lipophilic xenobiotics stored in maternal adipose tissue can be mobilized and enter her blood circulation and reach the placenta. This study measured residues of oestrogen-mimicking organochlorine pesticides (OCs) in 150 placenta samples from women in Southern Spain. OCs were extracted from placenta by solid-liquid technique and purified by preparative liquid chromatography. Gas chromatography/electron-capture detection and mass spectrometry were used to identify and quantify p,p'-DDT and congeners/metabolites, endosulphan and congeners/metabolites, lindane, aldrin/dieldrin/endrin, hexachlorobenzene, methoxychlor and mirex. A mean of eight pesticides per placenta were detected (range, 3-15 pesticides). Endosulphan-ether, endosulphan-diol, endosulphan-I, p,p'-DDE, o,p'-DDD, p,p'-DDT, o,p'-DDT and lindane were detected in >or=50% of samples; p,p'-DDE was the most frequent (96.03%), followed by endosulphan-diol (76.86%) and lindane (74.17%). Presence of more pesticides was significantly associated with lower birth weight. Mean concentration of p,p'-DDE was 2.37+/-2.80 ng/g of placenta or 76.62+/-104.85 ng/g of lipid. Higher maternal body mass index was significantly associated with higher endosulphan concentrations in placenta, and greater maternal weight gain was significantly associated with higher p,p'-DDE concentrations. Prenatal exposure to OC xenoestrogens may be a causative factor in adverse reproductive health trends, and further studies are required to identify and describe pathways of this exposure to enhance preventive measures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Estrogens / isolation & purification*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated / isolation & purification*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal Exposure*
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange
  • Pesticides / isolation & purification*
  • Placenta / chemistry*
  • Pregnancy
  • Spain


  • Estrogens
  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated
  • Pesticides