Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

A Measure for Mothers: Model Predicts Lactational Transfer of PCB-153

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

A Measure for Mothers: Model Predicts Lactational Transfer of PCB-153

Article excerpt

Breastfed infants sit at the top of the food chain for the simple reason that their nourishment comes from other humans. Through biomagnification, environmental chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are passed up the food chain to the nursling. Although epidemiologic studies have established an association between prenatal PCB exposures and neurodevelopmental and neurobehavioral problems, the potential health risks of xenobiotic exposures via human milk are less clear and remain an area of intense research interest [see "Contaminants in Human Milk: Weighing the Risks against the Benefits of Breastfeeding," EHP 116:A426-A434 (2008)]. Researchers have now developed a physiologically based pharmacokinetic model of PCB-153 in women to predict the transfer of this compound via lactation [EHP 116:169-1634; Redding et al.].

PCB-153 was selected for study because it is the most prevalent PCB congener in human tissues. To predict the concentration of PCB-153 in human milk, physiological parameters were obtained from a Taiwanese cohort and from reference values in published studies. Partition coefficients were estimated based on chemical structure and lipid content in various body tissues as reported in the literature: liver, fat, mammary tissue, and the "rest of the BODY" (an average of brain, skin, and muscle), as well as a mixed blood compartment. …

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