The Relationship between Levels of PCBs and Pesticides in Human Hair and Blood: Preliminary Results
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CitationAltshul, Larisa, Adrian Covaci, and Russ Hauser. 2004. The Relationship between Levels of PCBs and Pesticides in Human Hair and Blood: Preliminary Results. Environmental Health Perspectives 112(11): 1193-1199.
AbstractHuman hair as a biologic measure of exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) has some advantages over the more commonly used blood and adipose tissue samples. However, one of the primary limitations is the difficulty in distinguishing between exogenous and endogenous contamination. In addition, there are currently no standardized methods for hair sample collection, washing, and chemical analysis. There is also very limited information describing the correlation between levels of organic contaminants in hair and other body compartments. To explore levels of POPs in blood and hair, samples from 10 volunteers were collected and analyzed for select organochlorine pesticides and 57 individual polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners. We demonstrated that the method for analyzing organic contaminants in human hair was reliable and reproducible. Washing hair with shampoo decreased levels of PCBs, pesticides, and lipids by 25–33% on average and up to 62% for low-chlorinated congeners. The percentage of lipids and the levels of organochlorines in hair were higher than in serum. We found strong correlation (r = 0.8) between p,p′-DDE (dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene) levels in hair and blood and moderate correlations for the more persistent PCB congeners, but no correlations or weak correlations for other organochlorines. The present study provides preliminary evidence on the utility of hair analysis for POPs; however, further larger studies are recommended before hair analysis can be successfully applied in epidemiologic studies on POPs.
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