Maternal-Child Exposures to Persistent Organic Pollutants in Dhaka, Bangladesh
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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OriginalversjonExposure and Health. 2020, 12 79-87. 10.1007/s12403-018-0286-x
Information about the human burdens of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in low- and middle-income countries is limited. In particular, studies often include only a small subset of POPs. To address this data gap, we aimed to assess maternal-child exposures to POPs in Dhaka, Bangladesh. We quantified 16 organochlorine pesticides, 12 polychlorinated biphenyls, 21 brominated flame retardants, 18 per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances, 2 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and short-chain chlorinated paraffins in 18 pooled samples of human cord blood from 90 mother–infant pairs living in Dhaka, Bangladesh (2014–2015). In all pooled samples, we detected high levels of p,p′-DDT (median 81.6 ng/g lipid) and its metabolites p,p′-DDE and p,p′-DDD (median 551 and 10.7 ng/g lipid, respectively), where the p,p′-DDE/p,p′-DDT ratio ranged from 2.9 to 9.8 indicating recent dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) exposure. We also detected acenaphthene, decabromodiphenyl ethane, o,p′-DDT, o,p′-DDE, hexachlorobenzene, β-hexachlorocyclohexane, hexabromobenzene, and perfluorooctanoic acid in a subset of samples. For the other 59 target compounds, concentrations were below the limits of detection, despite using ultra-trace analytical methodology. No trends were observed when stratifying the analyses of detected POP concentrations by maternal age, maternal body mass index, or large fish consumption. These findings highlight recent DDT exposure in Dhaka, but the overall POP burden was otherwise low in this sample of pregnant women/newborns. Future monitoring efforts should focus on newly detected POPs for which burdens may be increasing due to ongoing industrialization in Bangladesh.