Analysis of organochlorine pesticide residues in human and cow's milk in the towns of Asendabo, Serbo and Jimma in South-Western Ethiopia

Chemosphere. 2013 Feb;90(5):1652-7. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2012.09.008. Epub 2012 Oct 11.


The level of some OCPs in human and cow milk collected from Asendabo, Serbo and Jimma in South-West Ethiopia were analyzed using GC-ECD. Results of the analysis indicated that all samples contained detectable quantities of p,p'-DDT and its metabolites, p,p-DDE and p,p-DDD, but none of the other OCPs analyzed. Mean levels of total DDT in the human and cow milk samples in the three areas were 12.68 and 0.389 μg g(-1) respectively. The distributions of p,p-DDT, p,p-DDE and p,p-DDD in the human milk samples from the three locations followed the same trend in which the proportion of p,p-DDT was the highest in all the three cases, comprising 55-71% of total DDT, followed by p,p-DDE, 26-39%, and the least, p,p-DDD of 2-5%. The mean ratio of DDT/DDE concentration for the three areas was calculated to be 2.01. This value was much higher than the values reported from other countries in earlier studies and indicates the existence of a higher quantity of DDT from a fresh input in the three study areas. The mean estimated daily intake of DDT by infants from mother's milk in the three locations was found to be 62.17 μg kg(-1) body weight, which is about three times higher than the acceptable daily intake set by WHO/FAO for total DDT, 20 μg kg(-1) of body weight. This alarmingly high daily intake value is a cause for concern, since children are highly susceptible to effects from such environmental contaminants. The study has revealed that people in the study areas are facing exposure to DDT from recent use. The observed contamination of mother's milk and the possible transfer of the contaminant from mother to child is an obvious risk associated with breast-feeding in the study areas and possibly in other parts of the country too.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Environmental Pollutants / analysis*
  • Ethiopia
  • Humans
  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated / analysis*
  • Milk / chemistry*
  • Milk, Human / chemistry*
  • Pesticide Residues / analysis*


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated
  • Pesticide Residues