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Title: High levels of PCBs in breast milk of Inuit women from arctic Quebec

Journal Article · · Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology; (USA)
DOI:· OSTI ID:6614926
 [1]; ;  [2];  [3]
  1. Community Health Department-CHUL, Ste-Foy, Quebec (Canada)
  2. Quebec Toxicology Center-CHUL, Ste-Foy, Quebec (Canada)
  3. Laval Univ., Ste-Foy, Quebec (Canada)

In the last twenty years polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have been identified as major contaminants of the natural environment. More recently, the presence of such toxic compounds was described in arctic regions. In this regions, PCBs have been found in water, snow, ice and air. The level of PCB contamination was significantly lower than that found at midlatitudes. PCB levels are often monitored because they could also reflect exposure to several other chemical contaminants such as other organochlorines. Other highly toxic compounds such as polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs) and dibenzofurans (PCDFs) were found in the blubber from arctic ringed seals caught near the west coast of Spitzbergen. Since the closest known sources of PCDD and PCDF were several thousands of kilometers away, these results were surprising. The consumption of fish and marine mammals by the Inuit people is markedly higher than in the rest of the Canadian population and in some communities, sea mammals represent a significant part of the diet. It is possible that Inuit are exposed to an undesirably high of PCBs and other organochlorinated compounds. Levels of PCBs in the Inuit diet were assessed in Broughton Island, North West Territories, Canada. The present study was designed to assess the PCB levels in the breast milk of lactating Inuit women from the Hudson Bay region of Northern Quebec and of women from Southern Quebec.

Journal Information:
Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology; (USA), Vol. 43:5; ISSN 0007-4861
Country of Publication:
United States