Exposure to dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) during pregnancy and breastfeeding may result in adverse health effects in children. Prenatal exposure is determined by the concentrations of dioxins and PCBs in maternal blood, which reflect the body burden obtained by long term dietary exposure. The aims of this study were (1) to describe dietary exposure and important dietary sources to dioxins and PCBs in a large group of pregnant women and (2) to identify maternal characteristics associated with high dietary exposure to dioxins and PCBs. Dietary exposure to dioxins (sum of toxic equivalents (TEQs) from dioxin-like (dl) compounds) and PCB-153 in 83,524 pregnant women (gestational weeks 17-22) who participated in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa) during the years 2002-2009 was calculated based on a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) and a database of dioxin and PCB concentrations in Norwegian food. The median (interquartile range, IQR) intake of PCB-153 (marker of ndl-PCBs) was 0.81 (0.77) ng/kg bw/day. For dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs, the median (IQR) intake was 0.56 (0.37) pg TEQ/kg bw/day. Moreover, 2.3% of the participants had intakes exceeding the tolerable weekly intake (TWI) of 14pg TEQ/kg bw/week. Multiple regression analysis showed that dietary exposure was positively associated with maternal age, maternal education, weight gain during pregnancy, being a student, and alcohol consumption during pregnancy and negatively associated with pre-pregnancy BMI and smoking. A high dietary exposure to PCB-153 or dl-compounds (TEQ) was mainly explained by the consumption of seagull eggs and/or pate with fish liver and roe. Women who according to Norwegian recommendations avoid these food items generally do not have dietary exposure above the tolerable intake of dioxins and dl-PCBs.
Dietary patterns were related to intake and blood concentrations of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/PCDFs), dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (dl-PCBs) and selected non-dioxin-like-PCBs (ndl-PCBs). Intake calculations were based on an extensive food frequency questionnaire and a congener-specific database on concentrations in Norwegian foods. The study (2003) applied a two-step inclusion strategy recruiting representative (n=73) and high consumers (n=111) of seafood and game. Estimated median intakes of sum PCDD/PCDFs and dl-PCBs of the representative and high consumers were 0.78 and 1.25 pg toxic equivalents (TEQ)/kg bw/day, respectively. Estimated median intakes of ndl-PCBs (sum chlorinated biphenyl (CB)-28, 52, 101, 138, 153, 180) were 4.26 and 6.40 ng/kg bw/day. The median blood concentrations of PCDD/PCDFs/dl-PCBs were 28.7 and 35.1 pg TEQ/g lipid, and ndl-PCBs (sum of CB-101, 138, 153 and 180) 252 and 299 ng/g lipid. The Spearman correlations between dietary intake and serum concentration were r=0.34 (p=0.017) for dl-compounds and r=0.37 (p