University of Oulu

Abass, K., Unguryanu, T., Junqué, E., Mazej, D., Tratnik, J. S., Horvat, M., Grimalt, J. O., Myllynen, P., & Rautio, A. (2022). Pilot study on the concentrations of organochlorine compounds and potentially toxic elements in pregnant women and local food items from the Finnish Lapland. Environmental Research, 211, 113122.

Pilot study on the concentrations of organochlorine compounds and potentially toxic elements in pregnant women and local food items from the Finnish Lapland

Saved in:
Author: Abass, Khaled1,2; Unguryanu, Tatiana3,4; Junqué, Eva5;
Organizations: 1Arctic Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 5000, FI-90014, Oulu, Finland
2Department of Pesticides, Menoufia University, P.O. Box 32511, Menoufia, Egypt
3Department of Hygiene and Medical Ecology, Northern State Medical University, Troitsky Ave., 51, Arkhangelsk, 163000, Russia
4Department of General Hygiene, Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University (Sechenov University), Bolshaya Pirogovskaya str., 2, building 2, Moscow, 119435, Russia
5Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA-CSIC), Jordi Girona, 18, 08034, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
6Jožef Stefan Institute, Department of Environmental Sciences, Ljubljana, Slovenia
7Department of Environmental Chemistry, Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA-CSIC), Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
8Department of Clinical Chemistry, Cancer and Translational Medicine Research Unit, Medical Research Center, University of Oulu and Northern Finland Laboratory Centre NordLab, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
9Thule Institute and University of the Arctic, P.O. Box 7300, University of Oulu, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.5 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-08-03


In the Arctic, main sources of persistent organic pollutants and potentially toxic elements are industry and agriculture in the lower latitudes. However, there are also local sources of pollution. Our study was focused on possible pollution in the Finnish Lapland, transferred from the Pechenganikel industrial complex located in the borders of Russia, Finland and Norway. Local food items and blood samples of pregnant women from the Inari municipality were collected and organochlorine compounds (OCs) and metal(oid)s analyzed. Most of the examined food samples showed detectable levels of these compounds. The mean concentrations of DDTs and polychlorobiphenyls (PCBs) were higher in fish (0.18–0.32 ng/g and 0.34–0.64 ng/g, respectively), than in the other food groups (0.027–0.047 ng/g and 0.11–0.20 ng/g, respectively). PCBs were found at the highest concentrations in blood samples of the pregnant women, and congeners 153 and 118 were dominant. The mean concentration of PCB153, 0.29 μg/kg serum lipid, was lower than those described in many other studies. Concerning DDTs, the 4,4’-DDT/4,4’-DDE ratio, 0.092, in the blood samples was lower than that observed in the food items, 0.25–0.71, reflecting old uses of the DDT pesticide. None of the observed levels of selected potentially toxic elements in blood samples and in food items exceeded the known safe limits. Higher concentrations of PCB52 and γ-HCH were observed in the serum of pregnant women who consumed greater amounts of meat, and berries and mushrooms, respectively. The OC concentrations from the pregnant women currently studied were lower than those observed fourteen years ago with pregnant women from the same municipality. Compounds whose occurrence is likely related to a long-distance transport showed clear decreases, e.g., 63% for PCBs, and for those from pesticides, decreases were 93% and 97% for 4,4’-DDE and β-HCH, respectively. No obvious influence from the Pechenganikel complex is observed from the results.

see all

Series: Environmental research
ISSN: 0013-9351
ISSN-E: 1096-0953
ISSN-L: 0013-9351
Volume: 211
Article number: 113122
DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2022.113122
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health
Funding: The research leading to these results has received funding from the Kolarctic ENPI CBC 2007–2013 Program project “Food and Health Security in the Norwegian, Russian and Finnish border regions: linking local industries, communities and socio-economic impacts”, European Community’s Seventh Framework Program FP7/2007–2013—Environment (including Climate Change) FP7-ENV-2008-1—under Grant Agreement No: 226534- ArcRisk and Horizon 2020 project: EDC-MET (H2020-HEALTH/0490–825762). The financial support of the Slovenian research agency ARRS through a program P1-0143 is acknowledged.
EU Grant Number: (825762) EDCMET - Metabolic effects of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals: novel testing METhods and adverse outcome pathways
(226534) ARCRISK - Arctic Health Risks: Impacts on health in the Arctic and Europe owing to climate-induced changes in contaminant cycling
Copyright information: © 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (