CREAL: Teenagers today are still accumulating organochlorine compounds in their body

CREAL: Teenagers today are still accumulating organochlorine compounds in their body

News from CREAL

Although from 70-80 years in most countries banned the production and use of organochlorine compounds (OCs), it still detect traces of these toxic chemicals in the body of the young people today. This is the conclusion of a study done by researchers from CREAL, ISGlobal research center, in collaboration with the Department of Environmental Chemistry from IDAEA-CSIC.

The study included data from 100 children from Ribera d'Ebre and 480 from Menorca, all of the INMA Project, a national project that aims to assess the impact of the environment on children in Spain.

Because the levels of OCs in the environment have decreased substantially since the banning, the aim of the study was to assess whether this reduction over time was also given to adolescents today. Therefore, blood samples were obtained from participants at birth, 4 years and 14 years and they are measured several OCs including β-HCH, HCB, DDE (product of the pesticide DDT) and several PCBs. The study shows that the total burden of PCBs and DDE in serum is above the age of 14 years at the time of birth. This is due mainly to the diet, which today is the main source of exposure to these compounds. The study also shows that the levels of these compounds were higher in children who were breastfed during the first months of life.

Despite the results, the researchers recommend mothers to breastfeed their children, because breast milk provides more benefits compared to the potential damage of these substances. We also emphasize that the levels detected in children from Ribera d'Ebre and Menorca are similar to those observed in other European countries or North America. Therefore, it is not a local but a global issue.

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CREAL news

Gascon M, Vrijheid M, Garí M, Fort M, Grimalt JO, Martinez D, Torrent M, Guxens M, Sunyer J. Temporal trends in concentrations and total serum burdens of organochlorine compounds from birth until adolescence and the role of breastfeeding. Environ Int 2015; 74: 144-151.