Intra- and intercompartmental associations between levels of organochlorines in maternal plasma, cord plasma and breast milk, and lead and cadmium in whole blood, for indigenous peoples of Chukotka, Russia
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Long-range transport of pollutants towards circumpolar regions emphasizes the need for up-to-date and reliable biological monitoring data. This paper explores the use, reliability and availability of maternal blood (MB) and plasma (MP), cord blood (CB) and plasma (CP) and mother's milk (MM) in terms of assessing exposure to persistent toxic substances (PTSs). It is concluded that MP has the best combination of availability, sensitivity in terms of number of PTSs, their detection frequency and concentrations, and physiological relevance. The study group consisted of 48 pregnant women of indigenous origin from the Chuchki district in the eastern Russian arctic. Blood, CB and MM specimens were collected from all women and MP, CP and MM were analyzed for the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) suite of organochlorines (OCs) and metals (Pb and Cd in MB and CB). Generally speaking, the levels of PTSs coincided with those indicated in several AMAP publications from Chukotka and other areas of northern Russia. The correlations of PTS concentrations between the three body fluid compartments exceeded the minimum statistical requirements of alpha = 0.05 and beta = 0.20 for most of the compounds, with r > 0.46 except for Cd (r = 0.05); lipid adjustments for the OCs did not affect the r-values to any significant extent. The majority of the inter-OC correlations within compartments also fulfilled the indicated statistical condition. Careful consideration is given to the replacement of concentrations below the detection limit, OC detection frequency, the criteria for log-transformation of the data, analytical uncertainty, and biological variability. Practical implications of the findings are explored.
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