Polychlorinated biphenyls and organochlorine pesticides in human adipose tissue and breast milk collected in Hong Kong

B. H.T. Poon, C. K.M. Leung, Chris K C WONG, Ming Hung WONG

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Contamination from persistent organic pollutants is a pervasive global problem that urgently demands global concern and action. In the present study, concentrations of organochlorine (OC) pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were determined in 37 samples of female adipose tissue collected in Hong Kong hospitals. Among the pollutants analyzed, DDTs (2.79 ng/g fat), HCHs (0.72 ng/g fat), and PCBs (0.19 ng/g fat) were prominent compounds in most of the adipose tissue. p,p′-DDE and hexachlorinated biphenyls were found in all samples, whereas heptachlor epoxide and dieldrin were found only in some samples. An estimation of toxic equivalency concentration (TEQ) due to dioxin-like coplanar PCBs was also performed. The estimated TEQPCBs was 2.01 pg/g fat. This study also compared our previous results obtained from the milk samples of the same donors. Significant correlations are obtained for DDTs and HCHs between milk and adipose tissue. Detailed review of available information concerning OC pesticides and PCBs in different ecological compartments indicated that bioconcentration and biomagnification of these contaminants are common phenomena of the Pearl River Delta region, which has undergone rapid socioeconomic change in the past 20 years. It is suggested to establish a regional organization in order to coordinate the monitoring of persistent organic pollutants in the region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-282
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2005

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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