• Level of PCB pollutant concentration in human milk, Sweden (Line chart)
Data set notes
Environment and Health

Indicators: 59
Updated: 15 July 2019
Downloads: 1342

Indicator notes

Data source
References (5–7,16), including the unpublished results of the fourth round of monitoring of human milk, were the main data sources used in this fact sheet. In addition, the Global Environment Monitoring System – Food Contamination Monitoring and Assessment Programme (GEMS/Food) Contaminants Database, accessed through the WHO Summary Information on Global Health Trends (SIGHT), was also consulted (30). The latter gives information on 20 countries throughout the WHO European Region.

Description of data
Data from references (5–7) were mostly from pooled representative human milk samples collected and analysed according to the WHO guidelines on the biomonitoring of human milk for POPs (19). Results were generally expressed as ng/g milk fat and WHO-TEQs (pg/g fat).
The data were collected by GEMS/Food participating institutions using standardized methods for sampling and measuring contaminants and for submitting data to the GEMS/Food database. They included levels of dioxins, PCDFs and PCBs in human milk gathered under the SCOOP/EU/RIVM project. The database contains data on many other POPs. Results are expressed as concentrations of POPs in µg/kg milk fat and µg/kg whole milk, but mostly as µg/kg of unspecified matrix (that is, no distinction as to whether it is whole milk or only milk fat).

Method of calculating the indicator
Studies with concentrations of POPs in µg/kg (or an alternative mass/mass unit) in milk fat were used. The concentrations of PCDDs, PCDFs and dioxin-like PCBs were converted to WHO-TEQs relative to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), based on toxic equivalency factors as recommended by WHO (31).

Geographical coverage
Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and Ukraine.

Period of coverage

Frequency of update
Varies between compounds and countries.

Data quality
Data quality varied between compounds and countries. However, data used in this fact sheet were of good quality, representative of the whole country and sampled and analysed in officially accredited laboratories or in laboratories that had successfully participated in relevant proficiency tests.
Country notes
No information