Serum levels of organochlorine pesticides in healthy adults from five regions of Spain

Paula Jakszyn, Fernando Goñi, Arsenio Etxeandia, Asunción Vives, Esmeralda Millán, Raul López, Pilar Amiano, Eva Ardanaz, Aurelio Barricarte, M. Dolores Chirlaque, Miren Dorronsoro, Nerea Larrañaga, Carmen Martínez, Carmen Navarro, Laudina Rodríguez, M. José Sánchez, M. José Tormo, Carlos A. González, Antonio Agudo

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to measure of serum levels of p,p′-dichlorodiphenyl trichloroethane (p,p′-DDT), p,p′-dichlorodiphenyl dichlorethylene (p,p′-DDE), β-hexachlorocyclohexane (β-HCH), and hexachlorobenzene (HCB) in healthy adults in Spain. Furthermore, we also analyzed these levels according to dietary, other lifestyle factors and anthropometric characteristics. We measured the concentrations of such organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) in serum samples collected during 1992-1996 from 953 subjects aged 35-64 years, they were residents of five Spanish regions, they were randomly selected from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort. OCPs were determined by means of gas chromatography with electron-capture detection (GC-ECD). The most frequent compound found in serum was p,p′-DDE, present in 98% of the samples, followed by HCB and β-HCH, found in 89% and 77% of samples, respectively, while p,p′-DDT could be measured only in 26% of subjects. The geometric means of serum concentrations (ng/g lipid) were 822 for p,p′-DDE, 167 for β-HCH, and 379 for HCB. The concentrations of all OCPs were positively associated with age and body mass index, and decreased along the period of blood collection. No association was found between OCPs levels and dietary factors. The concentrations of p,p′-DDE and β-HCB were higher in Murcia, one of southern regions, most likely associated with intensive past use of pesticides related to agricultural practices, while higher levels of HCB were found in Navarra, located in the north, maybe due to industrial use rather than agricultural application.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1518-1524
Number of pages7
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomarkers
  • Organochlorine compounds
  • Pesticides
  • Serum levels


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