Determinants of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs), and dichlorodiphenyl trichloroethane (DDT) levels in the sera of young children

Am J Public Health. 1989 Oct;79(10):1401-4. doi: 10.2105/ajph.79.10.1401.


Serum samples from 285 4-year-old Michigan children were evaluated for levels of 11 environmental contaminants. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were found in half the samples tested; polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) in 13-21 percent; dichlorodiphenyl trichloroethane (DDT), in more than 70 percent. Nursing (Mothers' milk) was the principal source of these exposures. Congener-specific analysis documented the presence of at least one highly toxic PCB congener, 2,3',4,4',5-pentachlorobiphenyl. The data demonstrate the multigenerational impact of female exposure to persistent organic environmental contaminants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Body Burden
  • Breast Feeding
  • Child, Preschool
  • DDT / blood*
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / analysis
  • Food Contamination
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maternal Age
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange
  • Polybrominated Biphenyls / blood*
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / blood*
  • Pregnancy
  • Rural Population
  • Social Class


  • Polybrominated Biphenyls
  • DDT
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls