Serum concentrations of PCBs and OCPs among prepubertal Korean children

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18 Scopus citations


Although children are more vulnerable than adults to environmental hazards, due to their physiological and behavioral characteristics, few studies have assessed their internal exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs). The objective of this study was to determine the serum levels of certain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) among pre-pubertal children in Korea and examine their variation with age and gender. We analyzed a total of 51 POPs in 214 children (age range, 7–9 years), using data from the Ewha Birth and Growth Cohort Study. To examine change over time, POP concentrations were measured at both 7 and 9 years of age in a sub-cohort of 26 children. The median and interquartile range (IQR, 25th to 75th percentiles) data for the sum of PCB congeners was 26.44 ng/g lipid (18.27–37.63 ng/g lipid). The median (IQR) concentration for the sum of OCPs was 74.82 ng/g lipid (51.11–112.45 ng/g lipid). Our results showed significant increases in serum concentrations of total PCBs with age (p = 0.0001), no gender dependence of total PCBs (p = 0.38) and total OCPs (p = 0.12), and strong correlations between individual POPs. Childhood exposure to POPs was relatively low compared to other studies carried out in different countries. However, even though the use of POPs has been banned since 2001, our results indicated that children in the general population are still exposed to various POPs. Because long-term, low-level exposure to POPs in the general population remains a concern for human health, future research should examine major routes of exposure and identification of risk factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3536-3547
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


  • Biomonitoring
  • Children
  • Exposure assessment
  • Persistent organic pollutants


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