Concentrations of PBDE Congeners in Breast Milk and Predictors of Exposure in Seoul Residents

서울 거주 산모 모유 중 PBDEs 이성질체 농도 및 노출 요인에 관한 연구

  • Received : 2011.11.16
  • Accepted : 2011.12.22
  • Published : 2011.12.31


Objectives: This study was designed to determine the levels of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in breast milk and to evaluate the relations with factors affecting these levels. Methods: The congener levels of PBDE in 22 samples of breast milk were analyzed using a high resolution gas chromatograph with a high resolution mass detector. In accordance with our standard operating procedures, the recoveries of internal standards had to range between 68% and 118%. Since the distribution of PBDE concentrations is close to log-normal, the data were logarithmically transformed before analysis. Test subjects were healthy primipara and multipara mothers with a mean age of 32 (SD = 2.7) in 2006. Results: Seven PBDE congeners (BDE-28, 47, 99, 100, 153, 154, and 183) were detected and identified in all of the pooled breast milk samples, indicating widespread contamination from PBDEs in the environment in Korea. Residue levels of total PBDEs (sum PBDEs from tri- to hepta-BDE) ranged from 0.84-13.1 ng/g lipid with median and geometric mean levels of 2.6 ng/g lipid and 2.74 ng/g lipid, respectively. PBDE congeners 47, 99 and 153 markedly predominated and accounted for about 75% of the amount of the PBDE congeners analyzed. BDE-47 was the dominant congener in most samples, whereas BDE-153 was predominant in a few (n = 7/22). BDE-47 was highly correlated with total PBDEs (r = 0.987, p < 0.01). In analyses of the differences of the means of log transformed breast milk PBDE levels for groups of potential covariates, only breast milk BDE-47 and BDE-99 levels were significantly associated with fish (p < 0.05) and meat consumption (p < 0.01). However, we did not find significant correlations between PBDE levels and maternal age, body mass index (BMI), parity, job presence and smoking status. Conclusions: Our findings are mainly limited due to the small sampling size and low doses of PBDEs exposure. Background and human exposure data of PBDEs is lacking, and longitudinal investigations into the environment and biota are encouraged to determine the health impact on future populations in Korea.


Seoul;PBDEs;Congener;Breast milk;Exposure


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