Large-scale evaluation of the current level of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in breast milk from 13 regions of Japan

Bita Eslami, Akio Koizumi, Souichi Ohta, Kayoko Inoue, Osamu Aozasa, Kouji Harada, Tekeo Yoshinaga, Chigusa Date, Shigeo Fujii, Yoshinori Fujimine, Noriyuki Hachiya, Iwao Hirosawa, Shigeki Koda, Yukinori Kusaka, Katsuyuki Murata, Haruo Nakatsuka, Kazuyuki Omae, Norimitsu Saito, Shinichiro Shimbo, Katsunobu TakenakaTatsuya Takeshita, Hidemi Todoriki, Yasuhiko Wada, Takao Watanabe, Masayuki Ikeda

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70 Citations (Scopus)


Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) were measured in 2004 in 105 breast milk samples collected from 13 regions of Japan (Hokkaido, Akita, Miyagi, Tokyo, Gifu, Fukui, Kyoto, Hyogo, Wakayama, Shimane, Yamaguchi, Kochi and Okinawa). Six congeners (BDE-28, BDE-47, BDE-99, BDE-100, BDE-153 and BDE-154) were determined by gas chromatography /mass spectrometry (GC/MS). Total PBDE levels ranged from 0.01 to 23.0 ng/g lipid (geometric mean (GM), 1.34 ng/g lipid). BDE-47 (GM, 0.66 ng/g lipid, 59% of ∑PBDE) was the most abundant congener present in breast milk and was detected in 99% of the samples. Total PBDE levels were higher in northern Japan than in other regions. We analyzed the effects of occupation, age, smoking status, alcohol consumption and number of deliveries on total PBDE levels. None of these factors were significantly associated with the level of PBDEs. The present study revealed that the current level of exposure to PBDEs in Japan is lower than that in the USA or Sweden. GMs (ng/g lipid) (GSD, geometric standard deviation) and medians (ng/g lipid) of PBDE levels in each district are as follows: Hokkaido 2.70 (1.70), 2.74; Akita 4.49 (2.19), 5.44; Miyagi 1.77 (4.37), 1.11; Tokyo 1.39 (2.09), 1.63, Gifu 2.83 (4.79), 2.23; Fukui 1.05 (2.34), 1.18; Kyoto 1.31 (2.95), 1.33; Hyogo 1.02 (2.69), 0.88; Wakayama 1.33 (3.80), 1.70; Shimane 0.83 (2.51), 0.66; Yamaguchi 1.74 (2.82), 1.76; Kochi 0.50 (2.69), 0.74 and Okinawa 1.91 (2.75), 1.22. This is the first large-scale study of current PBDE levels in breast milk in Japan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)554-561
Number of pages8
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Apr
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast milk
  • Flame retardants
  • Geometric mean
  • Human
  • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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