The transfer of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) across the human placenta and into maternal milk

Am J Public Health. 1984 Apr;74(4):378-9. doi: 10.2105/ajph.74.4.378.


Cord serum and maternal milk levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) were examined in relation to maternal serum levels. Maternal serum levels were significantly higher than cord serum levels for both types of compounds. Placental passage was indicated by significant maternal to cord serum correlations for both PCBs (r = .42) and PBBs (r = .81). Correlations between maternal serum and milk levels were similar. Higher PBB correlations were probably due to greater reliability in the measurement of PBB levels in serum and milk.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Environmental Pollutants / analysis
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange*
  • Michigan
  • Milk, Human / analysis*
  • Polybrominated Biphenyls / analysis*
  • Polybrominated Biphenyls / blood
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / analysis*
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / blood
  • Pregnancy


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Polybrominated Biphenyls
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls