Duration of breastfeeding and serum PCB 153 concentrations in children

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Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are toxic, persistent, and bioaccumulative chemicals which, because of their lipophilic properties, are abundant in human breast milk. Breastfed infants are therefore at risk of being exposed to considerable amounts of PCBs. The commonly used exposure estimations, based solely on breast milk PCB levels and duration of breastfeeding, may lead to exposure misclassification. To improve assessments of exposure to PCBs, we determined PCB 153 serum concentration, as a model substance for PCBs, at the critical time of weaning for each child in 305 breastfed infants from 5 single time point concentration measurements spread over 7 years and data on duration of breastfeeding, using an earlier developed model of the system type. We approximated the dependence of PCB 153 serum concentration, Ctbf, adjusted to cord serum concentration, C0, on nursing period, by a polynomial function Ctbf/C0=0.596+0.278t−0.0047t2 which reliably predicts exposure to PCB 153 of breastfed infants, important for assessment of dose-outcome relationships. Adjustment of current serum concentrations to cord serum concentration improved validity of exposure assessment.

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