Comparison of organochlorine compound concentrations in colostrum and mature milk

Zhiwei Yu, Lubica Palkovicova, Beata Drobna, Jan Petrik, Anton Kocan, Tomas Trnovec, Irva Hertz-Picciotto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Human breast milk represents the best choice for the nutrition of infants. It is often used for monitoring human exposures to environmental chemicals. Uniquely suited to meet human biological needs, breast milk composition, especially fat content, changes significantly with time from delivery. With the aim to compare the concentration of organochlorine compounds (OCs) in colostrum versus mature milk, we obtained samples of fourth-fifth day postpartum milk (colostrum) and day-14 postpartum milk (mature milk) from 12 women enrolled in the project "Early Childhood Development and PCB Exposure in Slovakia". The concentrations of selected organochlorine pesticides and congeners of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were measured using gas chromatography with electron capture detection and reported on lipid adjusted basis. No significant differences were found between organochlorine levels in colostrum and those in mature milk samples. A very close correlation was found between the concentrations of organochlorine compounds in colostrum and mature milk (Spearman correlation coefficient r = 0.94-0.98 for PCBs, and r = 0.85-0.99 for organochlorine pesticides, p < 0.001 for all compounds). The present study concludes that the use of colostrum samples provides a close estimate of the child's exposure to OCs in the early neonatal period and demonstrates that, despite the lower fat content, colostrum specimens are adequate to conduct OC analyses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1012-1018
Number of pages7
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • Breast milk
  • Colostrum
  • Mature milk
  • Milk sampling
  • Organochlorine compounds
  • Postnatal exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)


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