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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111


ZUBERO, Miren Begoña et al. Organochlorine pesticides in the general adult population of Biscay (Spain). Gac Sanit [online]. 2010, vol.24, n.4, pp.274-281. ISSN 0213-9111.

Objective: To identify and analyze levels of seven organochlorine pesticides [hexachlorobenzene (HCB), beta-hexachlorocyclohexane (β-HCH), gamma-hexachlorocyclohexane (γ-HCH), heptachlor epoxide, beta-endosulfan, dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p,p´-DDE) and dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (p,p´-DDT)] in the serum of adults of four areas of Biscay (Spain) not exposed to known sources of pesticides. Method: We analyzed 283 individual samples from volunteers recruited from the census. The volunteers were interviewed using a questionnaire with items on demographic variables and consumption. Data were analyzed using the chi-square test for discrete variables and analysis of variance and multiple linear regression models for continuous variables. Results: We detected p,p´-DDE in 100% of the volunteers (mean: 191.43ng/g lipid), while 31% had detectable levels of p,p´-DDT (mean: 18.9ng/g lipid). Detectable levels of HCB were found in 96.5% of the volunteers (mean: 78.56ng/g lipid), β-HCH in 90.4% (mean: 42.78ng/g lipid) and γ-HCH in 3.5%. Heptachlor epoxide and beta-endosulfan were not detected. In the regression model higher levels of all pesticides were found with increasing age (p<0.05). There were no significant differences by area of residence, except for HCB and p,p´-DDE. Women had significantly higher levels of HCB and β-HCH (p<0.001). Body mass index showed a significant positive gradient in HCB and β-HCH (p<0.05). There was no association between pesticides and other variables, breast feeding, occupation or social class. Conclusions: These results indicate that the general adult population of Biscay has been and is exposed to organochlorine pesticides. However, their levels are within the range observed by other authors.

Keywords : Blood; Pesticides; Chlorinated hydrocarbons; Urban population; Environmental exposure.

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