Temporal trends of polybrominated diphenyl ethers and hexabromocyclododecane in milk from Stockholm mothers, 1980-2004

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2008 Feb;52(2):187-93. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.200700182.


Environmental and human exposures to brominated flame retardants (BFR) have been of emerging concern since some BFR are persistent and bioaccumulative compounds. Among those, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) have frequently been reported in low to high ng/g concentrations in human blood around the world while hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD) only occasionally has been reported and then in the low ppb concentrations in human blood. The present study concerns PBDE congener and HBCDD concentrations in human milk from Stockholm from 1980 to 2004. HBCDD concentrations has increased four to five times since 1980 until 2002 but seems to have stabilized at this concentration in the last years (2003/04). Similarly, BDE-153 has continued to increase at least to 2001, after which it has stabilized in the mother's milk. Other PBDE congeners with four to five bromine substituents peaked 5 years earlier (1995) and are all decreasing. DecaBDE (BDE-209) is not a suitable biomarker for time trend studies according to the present results, showing no changes over time. This is likely due to its short apparent half-life in humans and poor transfer from blood to milk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Flame Retardants / analysis*
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Halogenated Diphenyl Ethers
  • Humans
  • Hydrocarbons, Brominated / analysis*
  • Milk, Human / chemistry*
  • Phenyl Ethers / analysis
  • Polybrominated Biphenyls / analysis*
  • Sweden
  • Time Factors


  • 2,2',4,4',5-brominated diphenyl ether
  • Flame Retardants
  • Halogenated Diphenyl Ethers
  • Hydrocarbons, Brominated
  • Phenyl Ethers
  • Polybrominated Biphenyls
  • hexabrominated diphenyl ether 153
  • pentabrominated diphenyl ether 100
  • 2,2',4,4'-tetrabromodiphenyl ether
  • hexabromocyclododecane