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Storage of organochlorine insecticides in adipose tissue of ugandans

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In the framework of a WHO — International Agency Program for Research on Cancer, people from five African, three Asian, and two South American countries were studied for the storage level of organochlorine insecticide storage in the adipose tissue of Ugandans.

Specimens of adipose tissue (75) collected during autopsy from Ugandans living in the Kampala area, who had no occupational exposure to organochlorine insecticides were analyzed by the gas chromatographic method for organochlorine insecticides (DDT-derived material, the beta isomer of BHC, dieldrin and heptachlor epoxide).

In the 0–4 year age group, DDT-derived material averaged 2.3 ppm; DDT constituted 59.6% of total DDT. In the 5–24 year age group, total DDT averaged 3.84 ppm. DDE constituted 50.2% of total DDT. In the 25–44 year age group, total DDT averaged 2.9 ppm DDE constituted 63.2% of total DDT. In the 45 and over age group, total DDT averaged 2.4 ppm and DDE constituted 53.6% of total DDT.

Dieldrin and the beta isomer of BHC were stored at levels below 0.1 ppm and heptachlor epoxide below levels of 0.2 ppm.

Males generally stored more OCI than females.

Lower storage levels of total DDT were observed in the group aged 45 years and over, when compared to the 5–24 and 25–44 year age groups.

In comparison to other populations in Africa, Asia, and South America, people from Uganda stored the lowest amount of OCI.

It is proposed that the 25–44 year age group may characterise the OCI storage level of a community since in this age group DDT-derived material tends to be stored at higher concentrations in the adipose tissue of people in several countries, when compared to lower age groups. (In the over 45 year age groups the level of DDT-derived material varies from country to country being higher or lower than in the 25–44 year age group.)

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This investigation was supported by an Agreement of the World Health Organization-International Agency for Research on Cancer.

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Wassermann, M., Tomatis, L., Wassermann, D. et al. Storage of organochlorine insecticides in adipose tissue of ugandans. Bull. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 12, 501–508 (1974). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01684989

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  • Adipose Tissue
  • Epoxide
  • Occupational Exposure
  • International Agency
  • Dieldrin