4-Nonylphenol (NP) and bisphenol A (BPA) are phenolic substances used in high volumes by the industry. Studies on cells and in experimental animals have shown that both these compounds can be classified as estrogenic hormone disrupters. Information about the exposure of humans to NP and BPA is still scarce, especially regarding levels in human blood. The first aim of this study was to investigate possible sources of NP and BPA exposure from food, by analyzing the levels of NP and BPA from a Swedish food market basket, based on the Swedish per capita food consumption. A second aim was to investigate blood serum levels of NP and BPA, as well as NP-ethoxylates, among young women in Sweden (n=100). Moreover, associations between food consumption and blood NP and BPA levels were studied. In food, NP was to some extent found at levels above limit of quantification (LOQ 20 ng/g fresh weight) in fruits, cereal products, vegetables, and potatoes. BPA levels above LOQ (2 ng/g fresh weight) were found in fish, meats, potatoes, and dairy products. The estimated mean intakes per capita were (medium bound) 27 µg NP/day and 3.9 µg BPA/day, showing that food is a source of BPA and NP in the general Swedish population. In blood serum, free NP above limit of detection (LOD 0.5 ng/g) was detected in 46% of the study participants while detectable levels of total NP (LOD 0.8 ng/g) were observed in 43%. The corresponding percentages for BPA were 25% and 22%, respectively. The results indicate that there is a continuous source of exposure to NP and BPA that is high enough for free NP and BPA to be detected in some consumers. Among the participants with quantifiable levels of free and total NP (n=38), 85% (median, range: 38-112%) of the NP was present as free NP. For BPA 76% (49-109%) was detected as free BPA (n=15). All women had levels of ethoxylates of NP below LOD (0.1-0.7 ng/g). A significantly higher total consumption of fruits and vegetables was reported in questionnaires by participants with NP levels at or above LOD than among women with levels below LOD. This result is supporting the market basket results of relatively high NP levels in these types of food.
In 2012 a contamination of drinking water with perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) was uncovered in the City of Uppsala, Sweden. The aim of the present study was to determine how these substances have been distributed from the contamination source through the groundwater to the drinking water and how the drinking water exposure has influenced the levels of PFAAs in humans over time. The results show that PFAA levels in groundwater measured 2012-2014 decreased downstream from the point source, although high SPFAA levels (>100ng/L) were still found several kilometers from the point source in the Uppsala aquifer. The usage of aqueous film forming fire-fighting foams (AFFF) at a military airport in the north of the city is probably an important contamination source. Computer simulation of the distribution of PFAA-contaminated drinking water throughout the City using a hydraulic model of the pipeline network suggested that consumers in the western and southern parts of Uppsala have received most of the contaminated drinking water. PFAA levels in blood serum from 297 young women from Uppsala County, Sweden, sampled during 1996-1999 and 2008-2011 were analyzed. Significantly higher concentrations of perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS) and perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS) were found among women who lived in districts modeled to have received contaminated drinking water compared to unaffected districts both in 1996-1999 and 2008-2011, indicating that the contamination was already present in the late 1990s. Isomer-specific analysis of PFHxS in serum showed that women in districts with contaminated drinking water also had an increased percentage of branched isomers. Our results further indicate that exposure via contaminated drinking water was the driving factor behind the earlier reported increasing temporal trends of PFBS and PFHxS in blood serum from young women in Uppsala.
We identified factors that are important determinants of body burdens (breast milk levels) of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins (polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs) and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs)) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). PCBs, PCDD/Fs and PBDEs were analysed in breast milk from up to 325 first-time mothers in Uppsala, Sweden, who delivered between 1996 and 2006. Hierarchical clustering was used as a method for identification of groups of compounds with common sources of exposure and similar toxicokinetics. Based on correlations between levels of single compounds/congeners in breast milk, distinctly separated clusters were formed, strongly dependent on structural similarities of the organohalogen molecules. In a multiple regression model, levels of PCBs (except PCB 28), PCDD/Fs and BDE-153 were positively associated with age of the mother and weight loss after delivery and inversely associated with pre-pregnancy BMI (body mass index) and weight gain during pregnancy. Higher levels of mono-ortho PCB TEQ, non-ortho PCB TEQ and BDE-153 in milk were found among women with high physical activity. Women who were breastfed during infancy and grew up on the Baltic coast of Sweden, with high availability of contaminated fish from the Baltic sea, had higher levels of PCBs and PCDD/Fs in breast milk indicating that exposure early in life from breast milk and contaminated fish may still affect body burdens at the time of pregnancy. The importance of current consumption of fatty Baltic fish as a source of exposure was supported by the positive association with breast milk levels of mono-ortho PCB TEQ, PCDF TEQ and BDE-153. The results show that, in contrast to the lower brominated PBDE congeners, the hexa-brominated BDE-153 resembles the chlorinated compounds with regards to determinants in breast milk. This suggests that some of the PBDEs may have toxicokinetic properties and that are similar to the PCBs and PCDD/Fs. Our results show that a few simple advices to women regarding weight changes in connection with pregnancy and consumption of contaminated fatty fish during the whole lifetime may lower the levels of dioxins in breast milk by up to 60%.
Thyroid hormones (THs) regulate many biological functions in the human body and are essential for normal brain development. Epidemiological studies have observed diverging associations between halogenated persistent organic pollutant (POP) exposure and concentrations of THs in pregnant women and their infants. We investigated whether background exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) is related to TH status in a Swedish population of pregnant women and their infants. Furthermore, we examined associations between polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins/dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and TH status in early pregnancy as an extension of an earlier study focusing on late pregnancy TH status.
Free thyroxine (T4), total triiodo-thyronine (T3) and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) were analysed in serum from first-time mothers (N?=?220-281) in the first and third trimester, and in infants (N?=?115-150) 3 weeks and 3 months after delivery. Antibodies to thyroid peroxidase (anti-TPO) (N?=?260) were measured in maternal third trimester serum. Maternal body burdens of PCBs (N?=?281) were estimated from serum lipid PCB concentrations in late pregnancy, and PCDD/F (N?=?97) and PBDE (N?=?186) body burdens were estimated from concentrations in mother's milk lipids 3 weeks after delivery. Linear regression models allowed for covariate adjustment of the associations between ln-transformed POP body burdens and concentrations of TH and anti-TPO.
Maternal body burden of BDE-153 was inversely associated with first trimester total T3, otherwise no associations between PBDEs and first and second trimester THs were observed. No associations were found between maternal PBDE body burdens and infant THs. Maternal body burden of PCDD/Fs were inversely associated with first trimester total T3. No associations were observed between PCBs and first trimester THs. Third trimester anti-TPO was not associated with maternal PCBs, PCDD/Fs and PBDEs.
Our results suggest that maternal PCDD/F and BDE-153 body burdens influence maternal TH status in early pregnancy, which is a critical period when maternal TH status influences fetal development.
We studied associations between lifestyle/medical factors and lipid-adjusted serum concentrations of seven polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners and five chlorinated pesticides/metabolites among 205 Swedish women (54-75 years old). Serum concentrations were significantly associated with age, body mass index, body weight change, diabetes mellitus, consumption of fatty fish, and place of residence. The findings suggest that lifestyle/medical factors may confound results in epidemiologic studies when they are related to both serum concentrations and disease. Moreover, disease itself may influence serum concentrations of some organochlorines, as indicated by the negative associations between recent weight change and serum concentrations of some PCB congeners, p,p -dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE), and hexachlorobenzene (HCB) and the positive association between diabetes mellitus and HCB concentrations. Age was the only determinant that showed a consistent association with all compounds studied (positive); otherwise associations with single determinants varied among compounds even within the PCB group. This shows that the studied organochlorines should not be treated as a homogeneous group of compounds in epidemiologic studies.
Based on consumption data statistics, food items from four regions in Sweden were sampled in a so-called market basket study. Food items from five food groups, i.e. fish, meat, dairy products, eggs and fat/oils, were analyzed for persistent organic pollutants (POPs) followed by per capita intake calculations. The highest levels of PCDD/F, PCB, PBDE, HBCD and chlorinated pesticides were found in the fish/fish products. The estimated market basket per capita intake of PCDD/F and dl-PCB was 0.7pg WHO-TEQ kg bw(-1) d(-1) (TEFs from 1998). The intake of ?PCB was estimated to 4.9 ng kg bw(-1) d(-1) and fish was found to be the major contributor with 64%. The intake of ?PBDE was found to be 0.7 ng kg bw(-1) d(-1). Fish (38%) and dairy products (31%) were the largest contributors to the total PBDE intake. The intake of HBCD was estimated to 0.14 ng kg bw(-1) d(-1). HBCD mainly came from fish (65%), but also dairy products (24%) and meat (10%) contributed. Also regarding the chlorinated pesticides, fish was found to be the major contributor, with 51% of the ?DDT coming from fish. The intake of ?DDT, ?HCH and HCB was 4.0, 1.0 and 1.1 ng kg bw(-1) d(-1), respectively. Most of the ?HCH and HCB originate from dairy products (43% and 55%, respectively). This study shows that the levels, and intake, of different POPs from food of animal origin in the market basket of 2005 seem to have decreased since the market basket study in 1999.
The breast milk concentrations of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs; sum of five congeners: BDE-47, -99, -100, -153, and -154) were determined (by GC-ECD) in samples from 93 primiparous women collected from 1996 to 1999 in Uppsala County, Sweden. Dietary and lifestyle factors were also recorded. The mean PBDE concentration was 4.0 ng/g fat and the distribution of samples was skewed with few high values (maximum 28.2 ng/g fat). BDE-47 was the major congener and constituted 59% of the mean concentration of PBDEs. No significant relationship was found between breast milk concentrations of PBDEs and dietary intake of PBDE, age, body mass index, alcohol consumption, or computer usage. After adjustments for these factors, a weak but significant association between PBDE concentrations and smoking was observed. The dietary intake of PBDE for these women was estimated at 27 ng/day, of which fish contributed almost half. After inclusion of 31 additional samples, collected from 2000 to 2001, time trends were studied. The changes in breast milk PBDE levels between 1996 and 2001, similar to the results from another Swedish study on milk from Stockholm mothers, suggest a peak in PBDE concentrations around 1998 and thereafter decreasing levels. However, far-reaching conclusions about PBDE time trends in milk cannot be drawn from this short study.
Prenatal exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) may influence birth weight among infants in a Swedish cohort with background exposure: a cross-sectional study.
Prenatal exposure to persistent organic pollutants, e.g. polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) has been suggested to negatively affect birth weight although epidemiological evidence is still inconclusive. We investigated if prenatal exposure to PCBs and PBDEs is related to birth weight in a Swedish population with background exposure.
Breast milk was sampled during the third week after delivery from first-time mothers in Uppsala county, Sweden 1996-2010 (POPUP cohort) (N?=?413). Samples were analysed for di-ortho PCBs (CB-138, 153, 180) and tetra- to hexa- brominated PBDEs (BDE-47, 99, 100, 153). Simple and multiple linear regression models were used to investigate associations between lipid-adjusted, ln-transformed PCB and PBDE concentrations, and birth weight. Covariates included in the multivariate regression model were PCB and PBDE exposure, maternal age, pre-pregnancy BMI, weight gain during pregnancy, education, smoking, gender of the infant and gestational length. The effect of including fish consumption was also investigated.
In the multivariate model, prenatal exposure to di-ortho PCBs was significantly associated with increased birth weight (ß?=?137; p?=?0.02). The result did not change when gestational length was added to the model. An inverse association between PBDE(4) (sum of BDE-47, -99, -100 and -153) and birth weight was observed in the multivariate model including gestational length (ß?=?-106; p?=?0.04). Maternal pre-pregnancy BMI and weight gain during pregnancy were important confounders of the association between di-ortho PCBs and birth weight. The associations were not alleviated after adjustment for fish consumption, a major source of PCB and PBDE exposure. The observed associations were stronger for boys than for girls.
Our results indicate that prenatal exposure to di-ortho PCBs and PBDE(4) may influence birth weight in different directions, i.e. PCB exposure was associated with higher birth weight and PBDE exposure with lower birth weight. Maternal pre-pregnancy BMI and weight gain during pregnancy were important confounders that may hide positive association between di-ortho PCB exposure and birth weight if they are not included in the statistical model. We speculate that even small PCB- and PBDE-induced shifts in the distribution of birth weight may influence future public health in populations with background exposure.
Effective risk assessment and management are often hampered by a lack of reliable exposure data. The probabilistic exposure assessment approach takes into account individual variations in exposure, and thus, overly conservative estimates based on worst case scenarios can be avoided. The aim was to provide reliable information on the intake of non-dioxinlike (NDL) and dioxinlike PCBs, PCDDs and PCDFs in breastfed infants and their mothers during 2000-2006. Hence, a probabilistic model was developed to estimate the exposure and compare it with a deterministic exposure assessment approach. The estimated probabilistic mean intake in 1, 3 and 6 months old infants was 44, 31 and 17 pg total-TEQ/kg bw per day, and 418, 294 and 165 ng NDL-PCBs/kg bw per day, respectively. Intakes differed up to 41% between the upper-bound percentiles of the probabilistic approach and the deterministic worst case scenario approach, whereas no difference in mean values was observed between the two approaches. The median cumulative intake increased during 6 months of breastfeeding to 20 ng total-TEQ and 352 µg NDL-PCBs. There was a significant temporal decrease in infant exposure during 2000-2006 (30%). Less than 4% of the mothers had an intake exceeding the TDI of 2 pg TEQ/kg bw per day (median: 1.2 pg total-TEQ/kg bw). To conclude, by use of a probabilistic approach and biomonitoring data we were able to calculate reliable estimates of infant exposure to environmental pollutants and the daily intakes of the nursing mothers using the same data.
Early life exposure to halogenated persistent organic pollutants, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), the DDT metabolite p,p'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethane (p,p'-DDE), polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs), and hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), may affect human health. We determined if there are regional differences in mother's milk levels of these compounds in Sweden. In year 2000-2004, milk was sampled from 204 randomly recruited primiparas from four regions of Sweden. Levels of the compounds were measured by gas chromatography with dual electron-capture detectors. Women were recruited at delivery in three hospitals located in urban areas in southern and central Sweden (Lund, Gothenburg and Uppsala), and in one hospital located in a more rural area in northern Sweden (Lycksele). Information about dietary habits and medical/life-style factors were collected by questionnaires. Among PCB congeners, CB 153, CB 138 and CB 180 showed the highest median concentrations (18-48 ng/g mother's milk lipid), whereas more than 50% of the women had CB 52, CB 101, CB 114, and CB 157 levels below the LOQ (0.3-1.5 ng/g lipid). Median p,p'-DDE levels were in the range of 46-78 ng/g lipid. BDE 47 showed the highest median concentrations (1-2 ng/g lipid) among the brominated compounds, whereas more than 50% of the women had levels of BDE 28, BDE 66, BDE 138, BDE 154, and HBCD below the LOQ (0.05-0.10 ng/g lipid). Regional differences in median organohalogen compound concentrations were small, less than 2-fold. Lycksele women generally had the lowest levels of Smono-and Sdi-ortho PCBs, mainly due to a lower average age. In contrast, these women had higher tetra- to penta-brominated PBDE levels, but no diet or life-style factor could explain this finding. Wide ranges of PBDEs and HBCD levels (up to 200-fold) were found, especially in the Lycksele area. The highest levels of PBDE were in the range of average levels found in mother's milk from North America, suggesting that food may not be the only source of exposure to PBDEs among some individuals.