Serum PCB concentrations in relation to locally produced food items in eastern Slovakia

Dean Sonneborn, Hye Youn Park, Katarina Babinska, Lubica Palkovicova, Tomas Trnovec, Anton Kocan, Danh V. Nguyen, Irva Hertz-Picciotto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Ingestion has been a primary route of PCB exposure for people, especially those not working directly in industrial settings. During 2002-2004, women were recruited at delivery from two districts in eastern Slovakia: Michalovce with high PCB contamination from a chemical manufacturing plant, and Svidnik located 70 km to the northwest, having lower environmental levels of PCBs. Concentrations of 15 PCB congeners were measured in maternal serum using high-resolution gas chromatography with electron capture detection. A food frequency questionnaire was developed and validated at the Research Institute of Nutrition and School of Medicine in Bratislava, Slovakia. The questionnaire was comprised of 88 food items representative of the national dietary habits and designed to ascertain (1) the source of food items as reported by the women (locally produced or purchased from a retail outlet) and (2) quantities consumed of high-fat food categories representative of the national dietary habits. Our primary goal was to identify specific food sources, either locally produced or purchased from retail stores, that might predict serum concentrations of PCBs. We used multiple linear regression to examine the relationship of dietary fats to lipid-adjusted serum PCB levels in 948 adult women (Michalovce N=662, Svidnik N=284) who had recently given birth. We adjusted for residential district, age, body mass index, education and duration of previous lactation. Consumption of fat from locally produced foods was significantly associated with higher levels of lipid-adjusted serum PCB (β=0.06, P=0.007). Fat from foods purchased in retail outlets showed no significant association (β=-0.02, P=0.36). There was no interaction between district and diet in predicting serum PCB levels. Comparing women in Michalovce consuming 20 g of fat per day from local sources with those consuming 1 g of fat per day from local sources, lipid-adjusted serum concentrations were predicted to be higher by 81 ng/g lipid or 14.8% 630 ng/g lipid versus 549 ng/g lipid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)581-587
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2008


  • Diet
  • Dietary fat
  • Food source
  • Locally produced fat
  • Locally produced food
  • PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls)
  • Slovakia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Toxicology
  • Epidemiology


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