Levels and profiles of PCDD/Fs, PCBs in mothers' milk in Shenzhen of China: estimation of breast-fed infants' intakes

Environ Int. 2012 Jul:42:47-52. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2011.03.022. Epub 2011 Apr 30.


Sixty breast milk samples were collected in Shenzhen, China from July to November in 2007. The samples were analyzed of the concentrations of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The range of upper-bound for ∑TEQ-(PCDD/Fs+PCBs) in the samples was 4.10-35.3 pg TEQ g(-1) lipid (median: 10.6 pg TEQ g(-1) lipid; mean: 11.9 pg TEQ g(-1) lipid). The levels of the measured contaminants in the breast milk had significant correlations with the length of inhabitation period in Shenzhen (r=0.487, p<0.05 for PCDD/Fs, r=0.431, p<0.05 for PCBs and r=0.478, p<0.05 for ∑TEQ-(PCDD/Fs+PCBs)), and the consumption rate of fish (r=0.366, p<0.05 for PCDD/Fs, r=0.486, p<0.05 for PCBs and r=0.416, p<0.05 for ∑TEQ-(PCDD/Fs+PCBs)), respectively. Moreover, significant positive correlations were also detected between the participant's age (r=0.305, p<0.05 for ∑TEQ-PCBs and r=0.275, p<0.05 for ∑TEQ-(PCDD/Fs+PCBs)) and the body burdens of these contaminants respectively. It is estimated that the daily intake (EDI) of the sum of PCDD/Fs and DL-PCBs by the breast-fed infants was 5.60-161 pg TEQ kg(-1) bw per day (mean: 48.2 pg TEQ kg(-1) bw per day; median: 42.2 pg TEQ kg(-1) bw per day). The result showed that both the body burdens of PCDD/Fs and PCBs of the recruit population and the calculated EDI of the breast-fed infants were higher than those in the non-exposed areas in mainland China. This suggests that continuous surveillance on PCDD/Fs and PCBs levels in human milk is critical to more precisely evaluate the human health risk posed by the negative environmental impact in Shenzhen in the future.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Benzofurans / metabolism*
  • Body Burden
  • Breast Feeding / statistics & numerical data
  • China
  • Dibenzofurans, Polychlorinated
  • Dioxins
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis
  • Environmental Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Environmental Pollutants / metabolism*
  • Environmental Pollution / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Milk, Human / metabolism*
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / metabolism*
  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins / analogs & derivatives*
  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins / metabolism
  • Young Adult


  • Benzofurans
  • Dibenzofurans, Polychlorinated
  • Dioxins
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls
  • dibenzo(1,4)dioxin