A national survey of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and indicator polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in Chinese mothers' milk

Lei Zhang, Jingguang Li*, Yunfeng Zhao, Xiaowei Li, Xin Yang, Sheng Wen, Zongwei CAI, Yongning Wu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


Seven polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) congeners (BDE-28, BDE-47, BDE-99, BDE-100, BDE-153, BDE-154 and BDE-183) and six indicator polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) congeners (CB-28, CB-52, CB-101, CB-138, CB-153 and CB-180) were measured in 24 pooled human milk samples comprised of 1237 individual samples from 12 provinces in China. The samples were taken to estimate the background body burden of general population and assess nursing infant exposure via human milk in China. The median concentrations of ∑7PBDEs and ∑6PCBs were 1.49 and 10.50ngg-1 lipid weight (lw), respectively. BDE-28, BDE-47 and BDE-153 were predominant PBDE congeners accounting for nearly 70% of ∑7PBDEs. As for indicator PCBs, CB-153 was the most abundant congener, followed by CB-138. In our study, there was no significantly statistical relationship between concentrations of PBDEs in milk samples and maternal age as well as dietary habits. ∑7PBDEs did not correlate to ∑6PCBs in Chinese mothers' milk. The human exposure to indicator PCBs in China was found to be significantly determined by maternal age, dietary habits and geographical factors. It is suggested that Chinese general population is probably exposed to PBDEs with multiple sources and pathways. The estimated daily intakes (EDI) of BDE-47, BDE-99 and BDE-153 for the Chinese nursing infant were much lower than corresponding threshold reference values suggested by USEPA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)625-633
Number of pages9
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

User-Defined Keywords

  • Body burden
  • Human milk
  • Indicator polychlorinated biphenyls
  • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers
  • Risk assessment


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