AimTo estimate average infant daily intake of chlorinated persistent organic pollutants (POPs) through the consumption of breast milk in New Zealand.
MethodBreast milk of 39 first-time mothers aged 20-30 years was collected during 2007-2010 and analysed for persistent organic pollutants including dioxin-like compounds and organochlorine pesticides. The quantity of POPs consumed by infants assuming exclusive breast feeding was estimated by calculating the Estimated Daily Intake (EDI) expressed as amount consumed through breast milk per kilogram of body weight per day.
ResultsOf all POPs quantified, the EDI of DDT (principally in the form of its metabolite p,p'-DDE) was the highest (1.6 mcg/kg/day), and above the tolerable daily intake (TDI) of 0.5 mcg/kg/day. The mean EDI for dioxin-like compounds (including PCDD/Fs and PCBs) was 19.7 pg TEQ(toxic equivalency)/kg/day, which is among the lowest reported worldwide, yet above the TDI of 1 pg TEQ/kg/day. The EDI of HCH, HCB, dieldrin, heptachlor and mirex were 32.9, 37.9, 39.4, 2.0, and 0.9 ng/kg/day respectively, all of which were below the current TDI. Age of the mother was positively associated with higher EDIs for the infant, particularly for total-TEQ and total-DDT.
ConcluisonInfant daily intakes of chlorinated POPs through breast milk estimated for New Zealand are low or average by international comparison, and 5 times lower than 25 years ago. Future breast milk monitoring will determine whether this diminishing trend is continuing as well as providing monitoring information on other POPs.