Levels of polychlorinated biphenyls in human milk samples in European countries

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Abstract

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are persistent pollutants, harmful to human health, which enter the human body mainly through food and bind to body fat. For these reasons their use in most countries is prohibited. Human milk has an advantage over other types of human samples in measuring human exposure to PCBs, as it is obtained with non-invasive sampling methods. In Europe, including Croatia, PCB levels have been monitored for many years. This review summarises PCB trends in human milk across Europe. The trend is generally downward, with higher levels prevailing in urban areas near industrial plants. The highest PCB levels were reported in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

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