Lisbeth E. Knudsen, Pernille Winton Hansen, Seher Mizrak, Heidi K. Hansen, Thit A. Mørck, Flemming Nielsen, Volkert Siersma, Line Mathiesen
March 17, 2017
Background: The Danish part of the large European Human biomonitoring pilot project Demonstration of a study to Coordinate and Perform Human biomonitoring on a European Scale (DEMOCOPHES) investigated the urine, hair and blood concentrations of 66 different environmental chemicals in a group of 145 Danish school children aged 6–11 years and their mothers from rural and urban areas in autumn 2011. Some – but not all – results were published; however, the concurrence of the chemicals has not been assessed. Methods: The measured concentrations of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and glyphosate is assessed to complete the investigation of all 66 chemicals in DEMOCOPHES. The concentrations of PBDEs were measured in plasma samples of 143 mothers and 116 children. Glyphosate was measured in a subsample of 27 urine samples. Previously assessed chemicals were polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) analyzed in blood samples, mercury analyzed in hair, and phthalate metabolites, parabens, phenols, cadmium, paracetamol and cotinine analyzed in urine samples. Differences in concentrations between mothers and children were assessed, and the associations between the concentrations of the different environmental chemicals. investigated by correlation analysis. Results: PBDE47 was found in relatively high levels compared with previous Danish results in both mothers and children, with a significantly higher level in the children compared to their mothers. Glyphosate in concentrations around 1 ng/mL was detected in all 27 samples. The analyzed environmental exposures seem to follow a pattern where chemicals within the same classes are strongly correlated and where children and mothers are exposed to the same chemicals. Conclusion: The correlations between the measured environmental chemicals indicate that a specific exposure pattern may exist, where people who are highly exposed to one class of environmental chemicals also may be highly exposed to certain other classes. As some of the compounds were measured in higher levels in children compared to mothers, increased focus also on the exposure in young children is recommended. For more detailed investigation of specific exposure sources more studies with increased power and detailed questionnaires should be developed.