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Environmental exposure to POPs and heavy metals in urban children from Dhaka, Bangladesh
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry (MMK).
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2011 (English)In: Journal of Environmental Monitoring, ISSN 1464-0325, E-ISSN 1464-0333, Vol. 13, no 10, 2728-2734 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and heavy metals are well known environmental pollutants. Even though numerous studies have been carried out to assess human exposures to these compounds, there is still a lack of data on humans from developing countries, especially in underprivileged children. The objective of this study was to assess the exposure to POPs and heavy metals in children from Dhaka, Bangladesh. One specific aim was to investigate whether children working at, or living close to, open waste disposal sites (WDSs) were more heavily exposed than other urban children. In 2008, blood and serum were collected from 73 children aged 7-16 from five neighbourhoods. Some of the children lived and worked at WDSs (N = 31), others lived next to a WDS (N = 17), whereas some children lived far from such sites (N = 25). Blood levels of lead (B-Pb), cadmium (B-Cd), and selenium (B-Se) were determined by ICP-MS for all subjects. The metal levels were high, with B-Pb overall mean 120 mu g L(-1) (range 40-220), B-Cd 0.74 mu g L(-1) (0.22-4.1), and B-Se 120 mu g L(-1) (81-170). There were no marked differences between children from the different neighbourhoods, or between WDS workers and other children. PCB levels were low and with no contrast between neighbourhoods, for CB-153 the overall mean was 7.0 ng g(-1) fat (2.8-51). In contrast, high levels of DDTs were observed in all children, for 4,4'-DDE 1300 ng g(-1) fat (420-4600), and for 4,4'-DDT 326 ng g(-1) fat (44-1400), indicating ongoing exposure. PBDE levels were low, and BDE-209 was quantitated mainly in children working at or living close to WDSs. In conclusion, the high levels of DDTs, lead and cadmium observed in children from Dhaka are of concern. Many children were exposed at levels where health effects have been observed, or at levels without safety margins.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 13, no 10, 2728-2734 p.
National Category
Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-69909DOI: 10.1039/c1em10480bISI: 000295579000007OAI: diva2:479656
authorCount :7Available from: 2012-01-18 Created: 2012-01-15 Last updated: 2012-01-18Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Assessment of Environmental Pollutants in Humans from Four Continents: Exposure levels in Slovakia, Guinea-Bissau, Nicaragua and Bangladesh
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Assessment of Environmental Pollutants in Humans from Four Continents: Exposure levels in Slovakia, Guinea-Bissau, Nicaragua and Bangladesh
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Humans are continuously exposed to complex mixtures of anthropogenic chemicals. This thesis focus on human exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs). POPs ability to bioaccumulate and biomagnify together with the extensive historical use of POPs in e.g. agriculture and industry have resulted in detection of these compounds in humans and animals from all over the world. Adverse health effects caused by POPs are of particular concern for newborns and young individuals.

The objective of this thesis is to assess human exposure to a selected set of POPs and their metabolites. More specifically, one aim of my thesis is to determine the exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and in particular their methylsulfonyl and hydroxylated metabolites in humans from a “hot-spot” area of PCB contamination in eastern Slovakia. The maternal transfer of these chemicals is studied. Further, another specific aim is to determine occurrence, levels and, when possible, temporal trends of POPs in children and adults from three developing countries, Nicaragua, Guinea-Bissau and Bangladesh.

High concentrations of PCBs and their metabolites are shown in men and women from Michalovce in eastern Slovakia. Placental transfer of methylsulfonyl-metabolites of PCBs and 4,4’-DDE was observed for the first time. Decreasing temporal trends of the majority of POPs are shown in serum from a cohort of policemen from Guinea-Bissau. In contrast, the levels of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) show an increasing time trend. Within five years, decreasing levels of POPs were also shown in children working and living at a waste disposal site in Nicaragua. Children working and living at waste disposal sites in Bangladesh have considerably lower levels of POPs compared to the children from Nicaragua except for 4,4’-DDT and 4,4’-DDE that are present at very high concentrations, indicating ongoing use of technical DDT.

There are many studies on levels and trends of environmental pollutants from the developed industrial countries in the world, whereas data from developing countries is still scarce. This thesis contributes to partly fill this data gap since it includes assessments of POPs in children and adults from four countries on four continents.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry (MMK), Stockholm University, 2010. 68 p.
POPs, PCB, DDT, PBDE, HCH, metabolites, human exposure, children's exposure, placental transfer
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Environmental Chemistry
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-43807 (URN)978-91-7447-136-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-12-03, Magnélisalen, Kemiska övningslaboratoriet, Svante Arrhenius väg 16 B, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
At the time of doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 5: Manuscript. Paper 6: Manuscript.Available from: 2010-11-11 Created: 2010-10-28 Last updated: 2012-01-18Bibliographically approved

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