Serum concentrations of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in the inhabitants of a Sicilian city

Emanuele Amodio, Roberta Turci, Maria Fatima Massenti, Francesca Di Gaudio, Claudio Minoia, Francesco Vitale, Alberto Firenze, Giuseppe Calamusa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and organochlorine pesticides are common environmental contaminants that have been associated with human health problems. Objectives: To assess serum concentrations of several organochlorine contaminants in general population living in a city with an ancient agricultural tradition and to identify possible exposure sources in Sicily. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted on 101 individuals. Each participant answered a face-to-face questionnaire submitted by well-trained personnel and provided a serum sample which was analyzed for the concentrations of PCBs, HCB, HCHs and DDTs by using gas-chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry. Results: HCB, p,p'-DDE, PCB 138, PCB 153 and PCB 180 were detected in more than 80% of the study participants. The ngg-1 lipid median concentrations were: 18.6 for HCB; 175.1 for p,p'-DDE; 22. for PCB 138; 32.5 for PCB 153 and 23.0 for PCB 180. PCB 153 and PCB 138, PCB 138 and PCB 180, PCB 153 and PCB 180, and p,p'-DDE and HCB showed a high correlation each other (p49years old (adj-p=0.03 in 50-69years old and adj-p69years old, respectively) whereas PCB 138, PCB 153 and PCB 180 concentrations were higher in males (adj-p=0.03), in subjects >69years old (adj-p=0.04) and in current smokers (adj-p=0.04). Conclusions: The present study shows that serum concentrations of organochlorine compounds detected in subjects living in a small Sicilian city with ancient agricultural tradition are similar to those found in subjects living in urban areas of other countries. However, further investigations are needed to compare data from rural/urban areas in the same country, assessing correlations between serum concentrations of several chemical compounds and potential health effects in general population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)970-974
Number of pages5
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


  • Human biomonitoring
  • Organochlorine pesticides
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls
  • Sicily

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)


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