Developmental neurotoxicants in human milk: Comparison of levels and intakes in three European countries

Eliška Čechová, Martin Scheringer, Marta Seifertová, Ondřej Mikeš, Kristýna Kroupová, Jan Kuta, Joan Forns, Merete Eggesbø, Ilona Quaak, Marijke de Cock, Margot van de Bor, Henrieta Patayová, Ľubica Palkovičová Murínová, Anton Kočan

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Developmental neurotoxicants (DNTs), such as methylmercury (MeHg), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and selected organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), have gained increasing interest recently due to their possible relation to developmental disorders in children, which are increasing worldwide. We analyzed levels of 14 developmental neurotoxicants in human milk samples from Slovakia (n=37), the Netherlands (n=120) and Norway (n=388). Positive identification for most target analytes was >95% in all samples. In all three countries MeHg was measured for the first time in mother milk. The highest MeHg levels were observed in Norway (39pgg(-1) ww) with the highest fish consumption. Levels of indicator PCBs (iPCBs, sum of PCB 28, 52, 101, 138, 153 and 180), HCB and DDE+DDT were 2-4 times higher in Slovakia compared to the Netherlands or Norway. The levels of MeHg and organochlorine compounds were used for calculations of weekly or daily intakes (top-down approach) by means of pharmacokinetic modeling. The intakes ranged from 0.014 to 0.142μgkgbw(-1)week(-1) for MeHg and from 0.043 to 17.4ngkgbw(-1)day(-1) for organochlorine compounds in all three countries. Intakes of iPCBs exceeded a tolerable daily intake of 10ngkgbw(-1)day(-1) in 16% of the Slovak participants. The top-down estimates were compared with bottom-up intakes based on national dietary estimates and the results showed good consistency between both approaches, with the bottom-up intakes exceeding the top-down by a factor of maximum 3.8 for iPCBs in the Netherlands and 3.9 for HCB in Slovakia. This confirms that food consumption in all three countries represents the dominant pathway of exposure to these developmental neurotoxicants.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)637-645
    Number of pages9
    JournalScience of the Total Environment
    Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 2016


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