Bull. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. (1998) 60:852-857
© 1998 Springer-Verlag New York Inc.
DDT and Its Metabolites in Human Milk Collected in
Veracruz City and Suburban Areas (Mexico)
V. T. Pardío,
S. M. Waliszewski,
A. A. Aguirre,
G. V. Burelo,
R. M. lnfanzon R.,
Institute of Forensic Medicine, Veracruz University, Avenida SS Juan Pablo II esq.
Reyes Heroles s/n, Post Office Box 1380, 91700 Veracruz, Ver., Mexico
Faculty of Physics and Artificial Intelligence, Veracruz University, Sebastián Camacho
#5, Col. Centro 91000, Jalapa, Ver., México
General Hospital of Veracruz, Avenida 20 de Noviembre, 91700 Veracruz, Ver., México
Received: 19 November 1997/Accepted: 31 March 1998
Since 1990, Mexico has used approximately 3000 tons of DDT per year
in anti-malaria control programs, mainly in tropic areas (PAHO 1995).
This organochlorine pesticide has been used in the malaria-endemic
areas of Veracruz, Mexico, thus, for this purpose a spraying regime has
been followed in urban and suburban areas of Veracruz City by applying
DDT every six months on indoor surfaces and dwellings at a coverage of
(DGE SSA 1996).
Due to their lipophilic properties, DDT and its metabolites are primarily
stored in fat-rich tissues and subsequently translocated and excreted
through milk fat. Nursed babies are exposed to DDT through the fat in
human milk, fact that has caused concern about the health risk to
breastfed infants since a significant increase in the number of infants
showing hiporeflexia, associated with an increase in the DDE
concentration in breast milk, has been reported. These effects became
apparent at DDE levels of ≥ 4 mg/kg in milk fat (Rogan et al. 1986).
Nevertheless, Mexican mothers are still positively advised as to breast-
feeding by a nationwide program.
The aim of this study was to determine the residue levels of DDT and its
metabolites in human milk samples from Veracruz City, suburban and
rural areas and to estimate if the residue level findings in human milk
exceed the limits recommended by FAO/WHO.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
A total of 300 (13 to 43 years of age, mean 23.1 ± 5.4 years) participated
in the study voluntarily and agreed with its aim. Mothers had lived in the
Veracruz area during the preceding one year at least and gave birth at
the General Hospital of Veracruz City. The 300 human milk samples were
taken from healthy donors and randomly collected over a period of 8
months from August 1996 to March 1997 on the first two months
postpartum. The donors were asked to express by a breast pump about
Correspondence to: V. T. Pardío