Pesticide Residue in Human Milk

Pesticide Residue in Human Milk

PesticideResidue in Human Milk

Table 1: Feeding Habits of Women in Asia Source: (Weiwei, Changyi &amp Hong, 2010)

Thedata in table 1 below depicts the behavior pattern of the samplepopulation under study. The present study established that there wasa high exposure to organic pollutants in Asia these chemicals werealso reported to be found in falcon eggs, honey and cow’s milkwhich encompass the diet of the people in the region. However, humanbreast milk also offers an important sampling specimen for effectivemonitoring the effects of the chemical residues on human health. Itprovides a measure for maternal body burden. It also offers an idealplatform to analyze the total chemical intake by infants when theybreast feed (Stehr‐Green,2008). The present study aimed to measure the concentration of OCslike PCBs and OC pesticides like DDTs, HCHs, HCB and dieldin. Table 1show that there is a high consumption of foods like eggs, milk andmeat in a span of three to four times a week. It is such foods thathave been reported to encompass high chemical concentration due topollutants by pesticides (OCPs) in the region (Biros &amp Walker,2013). This illustrates that mothers ingest high chemicalconcentration within seven days.

Table2: Concentration of OC pesticides and PCBs in human breast collectedfrom a sample population of 237 women in Tunisia

Source:(Miyamoto, Keplinger, Wingender, Takimoto &amp Jenkins, 2011)

Thedata in table 2 above depicts the concentration margin of OCPs from asample population of 237 women all established to be non-smokers.DDTs concentration was depicted to be 17.8%, HCHs 16%, HCB 19%,dieldrin 24% and PCBs 12.8%. It is evident that the concentrationmargins for all these components exceed the required marginssuggested by WHO and FAO (Burkhard &amp Voss, 2012).

OCPresidues analyzed in China

Theresults of the analysis of OCPs are postulated in the table below.All the samples collected from China encompassed high concentrationof DDT residues that were in the form of both commercial p, p, -DDTand other major metabolite like p, p, – DDE. 15 samples portrayedpresence of Heptachlor that was illustrated in the form of epoxideand fungicide hexachlorobenzene HCB (John, Bakore &amp Bhatnagar,2001). DDT levels in the sample were found to be 208.8 ng as a medianand 2012.3 ng/ml at the maximum of the milk samples. The lower medianrange was traced to be 3.6 ng for y-HCH and 5.4 ng/ml for HCB,(Collins, Holmes &amp Hoodless, 2014). The calculation individualfat concentration gave a figure of 14.96 mg which was determined tobe the sum of DDT residues with a given range of 3.37 – 46.88 mgper a kg of milk fat as illustrated in the comparison results in thefigure below. Table 2 below shows an estimated consumption rate ofOCPs among breast fed children in the region.

Table3: OCPs concentration

Source:(Singh, Sar &amp Mandal, 2013)

Table4: OCPs in Infants

Source:(Singh, Sar &amp Mandal, 2013)

Urbanizationand OCPs concentration

Figure: 1: Urban and Rural areas comparison

In aneffort to depict the effects of urbanization on OCPs concentration,the following bar chart was drawn. Itis evident that rural areas encompass the highest concentration ofall the forms of chemicals found in pesticides as compared to urbanareas. The main reason for this huge difference is due to thedifference in behaviors of women in rural and urban areas (Egan,Goulding, Roburn &amp Tatton, 2011). For instance, women in urbanareas rarely do they come in contact with pesticides as compared towomen in rural areas. Women in urban areas get high concentration ofthe chemicals from foods grown in rural areas, this means they onlyhave a single point of contamination as compared to women in ruralareas that get in direct contact with the chemicals and at the sametime ingest contaminated foods (Cook &amp Baker, 2013).

Organochlorineconcentration in other parts of the world

Thetable below illustrates that other parts of the world have reportedhuge concentration of organochlorine. Poland and Spain have areported presence of DDT to a magnitude of 670 and 659 respectively.This is a very high concentration which has proven harmful to humanlive as outlined by WHO and FAO. Despite the governments’ effortsto curb the use of these chemicals, there has been a rampantutilization of the chemicals since most farmers feel that they arecheaper as opposed to the other forms accepted by the government andother safety agencies. Other countries that have reported highconcentration of OCPs include Turkey, France, Mumbai and Agra, allwith a lump sum concentration of above 170.0 of DDT five times moreof the expected levels (Inés Maitre, de la Sierra, Lenardon, Enrique&amp Marino, 2010).

Table5: Organochlorine concentration in other parts of the world

Source:(Morgan &amp Roan, 2013)


Inthe study, milk samples collected from women living in the richfarming zones of Asia were analyzed. It was found that high levels ofDDT were mainly catalyzed by factors like former place of residenceand parity of the mothers. Women recognized with a higherconcentration of DDT were found to originate from regions where thereis the rampant use of such chemicals as malaria controllers (OCPs)(John, Bakore &amp Bhatnagar, 2001). High concentration above 392.9ng/ml were mainly found in women nursing their first born and whomigrated from other regions in the world where DDT was highly used inspraying rice and vegetables in farms (Kroger &amp Patton, 2013).Most of the women in rural areas who came in direct contact with OCPsdepicted higher concentration as compared to those who only atecontaminated foods (Urban women).

Itis also evident that a larger amount of DDT was not accredited tomalaria controlling as very few women depicted effects emanating fromthe spraying programs. However, what is illustrated is that mostwomen tend to have come in contact with DDT in farms while sprayingcrops. Those mothers who nurse their first born children registeredhigher amounts of DDT as compared to those nursing second and thirdborn children. This shows that lactating children tend to absorb alarge amount of DDT first born children carry the burden of DDTsince they are majorly exposed to a higher concentration of thechemicals as opposed to subsequent children (Miyamoto, Keplinger,Wingender, Takimoto &amp Jenkins, 2011).

Theacceptable daily intake of DDT was stipulated to be at 20ug/kg of agiven body weight according to a report given by FAO and WHO.Therefore, the median and mean was projected to be very high in theregion and exceeded the limit given by thirteen times the ADI asportrayed in table 2, 3 and 4 above. The research goes further topoint out that DDT is an occurrence that continues in the lineage asmothers continue breast feeding their young ones. HCB presence wasmainly detected in mothers nursing their first born children. HCBintake exceeded the stipulated limit of daily intake by fourteentimes (Lampert, 2012).

Organchlorine pesticides (OCPs) have cumulative effects on the environmentand a high persistence in fatty foods and adipose tissues in humanbeings. Contamination by organo-chlorine and other components inhuman milk has been reported over time by FAO and WHO have projectedtheir concerns on the effects of these chemicals on human life andmore especially among children. Human milk that is placed on the topof the food chain has been found to portend a major route ofelimination of OCPs by lactating women. Environmental pollution hasbeen a major consideration in the recent past with numerous agenciessprouting to monitor the extent of environmental chemicals on bodilyburdens to women as well as establish the extent of risks faced bybreast fed children in the society (Weiwei, Changyi &amp Hong,2010).


TheEuropean Union in 1980s reported a decline in the levels of OCPs inwomen from studies conducted in Sweden, Germany and US. This was oneof the best illustrations on the steps undertaken by the differentgovernments of the time by instituting a ban on the use of DDT andother OCP in farms across the world. However, in 1994 India recordedthe highest concentration of DDT and hexachlorocyclohexane thesechemicals were associated with cotton farming in the country. Otherhigh concentration areas included Zimbabwe in 1997 which hadapparently persisted using DDT in vector control programs. Generally,Asia has recorded the highest prevalence of OCPs poisoning, this isbecause the region has stuck in the use of the chemicals (Burkhard &ampVoss, 2012).

Highlevels of DDT were found in women where the chemicals have been usedin the past by government programs and illegally by farmers to spraytheir crops. Additional body burden is majorly caused by HCB andheptachlor residues which are mainly connected to agricultural use inthe region and other parts of the world. Breast feeding is seen tocause a decrease in the levels of DDT and other OCPs hence reducingmaternal burden, this is only possible at the expense of infants.Although ADIs have been established not to cause harm in humans afterintake, the research depicts that high levels of ADIs have adverselong term effects on human beings. Maternal milk is the main sourceof food for young children it is due to this fact that thecontamination of maternal milk raises concerns on the healthimplications of the young generation in the society (Biros &ampWalker, 2013).

Itis crucial for steps to be taken to ensure safety of the futuregeneration and achieve a chemical free society. Farmers ought to beeducated and advised on which pesticides to use to avoid foodpoisoning governments lay out a framework to curb illegal selling ofbanned pesticides within their boundaries at all times. Anothermitigation strategy is to ensure that farmers get access to safechemicals to use in their farms (Kroger &amp Patton, 2013). Mostimportantly, manufacturing companies ought to come up with organicmeans of food production rather than the unhealthy inorganic meanswhich have proven offer time to be harmful to both the environmentand human lives.


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