Health risks posed to infants in rural China by exposure to short- and medium-chain chlorinated paraffins in breast milk
Chlorinated paraffins (CPs) are complex mixtures of synthetic chemicals found widely in environmental matrices. Short-chain CPs (SCCPs) are candidate persistent organic pollutants under the Stockholm Convention. There should be great concern about human exposure to SCCPs. Data on CP concentrations in human breast milk is scarce. This is the first study in which background SCCP and medium-chain CP (MCCP) body burdens in the general rural population of China have been estimated and health risks posed to nursing infants by CPs in breast milk assessed. The concentrations of 48 SCCP and MCCP formula congeners were determined in 24 pooled human milk samples produced from 1412 individual samples from eight provinces in 2007 and 16 provinces in 2011. The samples were analyzed by comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography electron capture negative ionization high-resolution time-of-flight mass spectrometry. The median SCCP and MCCP concentrations were 303 and 35.7 ng g− 1 lipid weight, respectively, for the 2007 samples and 360 and 45.4 ng g− 1 lipid weight, respectively, for the 2011 samples. The C10 and C14 homologs were the dominant CP carbon-chain-length groups, contributing 51% and 82% of the total SCCP and MCCP concentrations, respectively. There are probably multiple CP sources to the general Chinese population and numerous exposure pathways. The median estimated daily SCCP and MCCP intakes for nursing infants were 1310 and 152 ng kg− 1 d− 1, respectively, in 2007 and 1520 and 212 ng kg− 1 d− 1, respectively, in 2011. SCCPs do not currently pose significant risks to infants in China. However, it is necessary to continuously monitor CP concentrations and health risks because CP concentrations in Chinese human breast milk are increasing.