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Distribution of serum levels of persistent organic pollutants, heterocyclic aromatic amine theoretical intake and nutritional cofactors in a semi-rural island population


Persistent organic pollutant (POP) exposure is strongly associated with negative health effects in humans. Heterocyclic aromatic amines (HAAs) are formed during high temperature cooking of foods (i.e. meat and fish). Human exposure to HAA is through food consumption and from similar food groups to POPs. A study of serum samples for POPs in a non-occupational exposed population (n = 149, age range 18–80 years, recruited in 2012) and comparison with estimated HAA daily intake calculations based on food diaries were undertaken. Three different age groups (group 1, 18–29 years; group 2, 30–44 years; and group 3, 45–80 years) were used to explore possible relationships between POP levels present in blood, HAA intake and nutritional cofactors. Significant differences (p < 0.05) between groups (1 and 3) for POP levels were found for p,p′-DDE, polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) 153, PCB 138 and the sum of PCBs. A similar trend was found between groups 2 and 3 for PCB 153 and sum of PCBs. Significant differences were found between groups 1 and 3 and groups 2 and 3 for HAA intake., i.e. HAA intake was lowest in those of middle age, which may well reflect a different pathway of human exposure between HAA and POPs through the diet preferences.

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Persistent organic pollutants


Heterocyclic aromatic amines


United Nations Environment Program


Polychlorinated biphenyls












Agency for toxic substances and disease control


International agency for research on cancer


Organochlorine pesticides


Body mass index


Computerized heterocyclic amines resource for research in epidemiology of disease


Lower limit of detection


Lower limit of quantification


Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry


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This work was supported by The World Cancer Research Fund. D. Carrizo acknowledges Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (Spain) for the financial support through a Ramón y Cajal (RYC) Contract (RYC-2014-19446).

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Correspondence to Daniel Carrizo.

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Carrizo, D., Brennan, S.F., Chevallier, O.P. et al. Distribution of serum levels of persistent organic pollutants, heterocyclic aromatic amine theoretical intake and nutritional cofactors in a semi-rural island population. Environ Sci Pollut Res 24, 22393–22401 (2017).

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  • POPs
  • HAA
  • Estimated daily intake
  • Human exposure
  • Food diaries
  • Nutritional cofactors