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Levels of PCBs and their metabolites in the serum of residents of a highly contaminated area in eastern Slovakia.

Author(s): Hovander L, Linderholm L, Athanasiadou M, Athanassiadis I, Bignert A, Fangstrom B, Kocan A, Petrik J, Trnovec T, Bergman A

Affiliation(s): Department of Environmental Chemistry, Stockholm University, SE-10691 Stockholm, Sweden. lotta.hovander@mk.su.se

Publication date & source: 2006-06-15, Environ Sci Technol., 40(12):3696-703.

Publication type: Comparative Study; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

The over-riding aim of the present investigation was to obtain information concerning exposure that can be used as a basis for studies on the health of individuals residing in the Michalovce area of eastern Slovakia which is heavily contaminated by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Accordingly, this work focused on determination of serum concentrations of hydroxylated (OH-PCBs) and methylsulfonyl-substituted (MeSO2-PCBs) metabolites of PCBs. One hundred and twenty-two men and women, 20-59 years of age, living in the contaminated area and 175 from the control Stropkov/Svidnik district were selected randomly from 2047 sampled individuals. Following a specially designed cleanup, the levels of various congeners of OH-PCBs and MeSO2-PCBs in their serum were quantitated by gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, with comparison to authentic reference standards. The median concentrations of PCB congeners and their OH-PCB and MeSO2-PCB metabolites were 2-3-fold higher in residents of Michalovce than in the control region. The levels of certain OH-PCB metabolites were in the same high range as those of individual PCB congeners, whereas the MeSO2-PCB levels were significantly lower. The PCB and their metabolites were present at slightly higher concentrations in men than in women, and the serum levels of PCBs and MeSO2-PCBs increased with increasing age. Thus, the environmental contamination resulting from previous industrial production of PCBs has led to elevated concentrations of PCBs and their metabolites in the serum of individuals living in the Michalovce area.

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