Occurrence and prenatal exposure to persistent organic pollutants using meconium in Korea: Feasibility of meconium as a non-invasive human matrix

Yunsun Jeong, Sunggyu Lee, Sunmi Kim, Sung Deuk Choi, Jeongim Park, Hai Joong Kim, Jeong Jae Lee, Gyuyeon Choi, Sooran Choi, Sungjoo Kim, Su Young Kim, Young Don Kim, Geumjoon Cho, Eunsook Suh, Sung Koo Kim, So Hee Eun, Soyong Eom, Seunghyo Kim, Gun Ha Kim, Sungkyoon KimKyungho Choi, Hyo Bang Moon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Prenatal exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) is of great concern due to the vulnerability of fetus. Nineteen Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), 18 organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) including DDTs, HCHs, chlordanes, and hexachlorobenzene, and 22 polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) were measured in meconium samples from 72 newborn infants using high resolution gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. The median concentrations (on wet weight basis) of PCBs, OCPs, and PBDEs were 26.8 pg/g, 66.7 pg/g, and 2.32 pg/g, respectively. Highly significant correlations were observed among the compounds of PCBs and OCPs, suggesting their similar sources and kinetic behaviors. BDE 47 had significant correlations with PCBs and OCPs, whereas BDE 209 was not correlated with any of the contaminants due to different exposure sources. The concentrations of p,p'-DDE, β-HCH, and trans-nonaCHL between paired maternal blood-meconium and cord blood-meconium showed significant correlations, while PCBs and PBDEs were not significantly correlated in the paired samples. Maternal age and gestational age were demographic parameters affecting POP levels in meconium. Multiple regression analysis showed that the levels of several OCPs in cord and maternal serum were contributing factors governing the levels of these contaminants in meconium. Our results indicate that meconium can be utilized as a human matrix for prenatal exposure to several OCPs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-15
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Research
Publication statusPublished - 2016 May 1
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to express our gratitude to all participating mothers in the CHECK (Children's Health and Environmental Chemicals in Korea) Panel for their great efforts in collecting meconium samples. This study was supported by the Ministry of Environment (MoE) of Korea through the “Environmental Health Action Program” and the “Integrated Risk Assessment Method for EDCs (IRAMe)”.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Inc.


  • Cord
  • Fetus
  • Maternal
  • Meconium
  • PBDE

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)


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