The spatial distribution of human exposure to PCBs around a former production site in Slovakia

Soňa Wimmerová, Alan Watson, Beata Drobná, Eva Šovčíková, Roland Weber, Kinga Lancz, Henrieta Patayová, Denisa Richterová, Vladimíra Koštiaková, Dana Jurečková, Pavol Závacký, Maximilián Strémy, Todd A. Jusko, Ľubica Palkovičová Murínová, Irva Hertz-Picciotto, Tomáš Trnovec

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


We evaluated concentrations of 15 PCB congeners in blood serum of 2047 adults, 431 8–9-year old children and 1134 mother-child pairs born in 2001–2003. These subjects were long-standing residents living up to 70 km (to the north) and up to 50 km (to the south) of the former Chemko Strážske PCB production facility in the Michalovce district of Slovakia. We plotted serum concentration against distance from the plant both with and without consideration of the direction of their homes from the site. The decrease in exposure with distance could be described by an exponential function which was dependent on direction and climatic parameters. By kriging we created maps depicting predicted isoconcentration contours for sex- and age-adjusted serum concentration of ∑PCBs for the same group of children, adults and mothers. The principle of our risk analysis was to relate serum concentration data, reflecting PCB body burden, using the critical concentrations established by the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES 2010) as thresholds below which the probability of effects on health is regarded as negligible. We conclude that 10 years ago, around 200,000 residents were at risk in this densely populated area. Exposure has since decreased but the mechanism for this has not yet been studied.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14405-14415
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number19
StatePublished - Aug 7 2015


  • Contaminated site
  • Geographic information system
  • GIS
  • Human biomonitoring
  • PCBs
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls
  • POPs
  • Risk assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Pollution


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