Background levels of dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (dlPCBs), polychlorinated, polybrominated and mixed halogenated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs, PBDD/Fs & PXDD/Fs) in sera of pregnant women in Accra, Ghana
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Human exposure data on dioxins and dioxin-like compounds (DLCs) in Ghana are limited. Based on health risks associated with dioxins and DLCs, the impact of maternal body burdens on foetal exposure is significant. This is the first study that assesses polychlorinated, polybrominated and mixed halogenated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs, PBDD/Fs and PXDD/Fs), and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (dlPCBs) in sera of primiparous Ghanaians. Our sample selection includes 34 participants from two municipalities (Accra and Tema), and explores contributions from environmental and dietary exposures using questionnaire data. Sample preparation involved C18 solid phase extraction, purification with acidified silica and lipid removal cartridges, and detection with gas chromatography-atmospheric pressure chemical ionization-tandem mass spectrometry. The calculated average toxic equivalent concentration was 5.3 pg TEQ/g lw, with contributions from dlPCBs (1.25 pg TEQ/g lw), PCDD/Fs (3.10 pg TEQ/g lw), PBDD/Fs (0.49 pg TEQ/g lw) and PXDD/Fs (0.50 pg TEQ/g lw). The calculated total TEQ concentration was lower than background TEQ concentrations reported in sera of pregnant women globally. Positive correlations were obtained for total dioxins and DLC concentrations with age and Body Mass Index (BMI). Dietary intake of seafood and dairy products had a strong influence on PCDD/F and dlPCB concentrations. Statistically significant differences were observed for dioxins and DLCs in participants from Accra (in close proximity to Agbogbloshie e-waste site) and Tema. Given the significant TEQ contribution of PBDD/Fs and PXDD/Fs (~20%), it is essential to explore these classes of dioxins and DLCs in future biomonitoring studies as they may pose health risks, and add extra diagnostic information in source exposure investigations.
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