Assessment of human exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls and polybrominated diphenyl ethers in Japan using archived samples from the early 1980s and mid-1990s

Akio Koizumi, Takeo Yoshinaga, Kouji Harada, Kayoko Inoue, Akiko Morikawa, Junko Muroi, Sumiko Inoue, Bita Eslami, Shigeo Fujii, Yoshinori Fujimine, Noriyuki Hachiya, Shigeki Koda, Yukinori Kusaka, Katsuyuki Murata, Haruo Nakatsuka, Kazuyuki Omae, Norimitsu Saito, Shinichiro Shimbo, Katsunobu Takenaka, Tatsuya TakeshitaHidemi Todoriki, Yasuhiko Wada, Takao Watanabe, Masayuki Ikeda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


Persistent organic pollutants have been linked to various adverse effects on human health. We conducted a retrospective exposure assessment for 11polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners and 4 polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) congeners. We analyzed paired samples of blood and food duplicate portions collected in the 1980s (1980 survey, N=40) and the mid-1990s (1995 survey, N=40) from females (five participants from each of eight sites per survey) living throughout Japan, from Hokkaido to Okinawa. The study populations in the 1980 and 1995 surveys were different but had lived in the same community. We measured PCBs and PBDEs in serum and PCBs in diet. Total serum PCBs (ng/g lipid) [geometric mean (geometric standard deviation)] were similar in the 1980 [163.0 (1.7)] and the 1995 [142.6 (2.0)] surveys. In contrast, dietary intake (ng/day) between 1980 and 1995 decreased significantly, from 522.8 (2.5) to 165.9 (3.3), respectively, (P<0.05). We classified the participants by birth year - before 1941 (older generation) and equal to or after 1941 (younger generation). Serum PCB levels decreased significantly in the younger generation, from 179.1 (1.8) in the 1980 survey to 115.4 (2.0) in the 1995 survey (P<0.05). However, in the older generation, serum levels (ng/g lipid) did not change: 150.4 (1.6) in the 1980 survey and 180 (1.8) in the 1995 survey. Total PBDE serum levels (ng/g lipid) increased significantly during the 15 years, from 0.5 (3.5) to 1.8 (3.7) (P<0.05). At the Shimane site, PBDE serum levels (ng/g lipid) increased 20-fold, from 1.3 (4.8) to 26.0 (5.0). The serum levels of PCBs decreased in the younger generation but not in the older, although levels in daily intakes decreased significantly. Exposure levels of PBDEs appear to be increasing in an area-specific manner.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-39
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Sept
Externally publishedYes


  • Exposure
  • Food
  • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls
  • Serum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Assessment of human exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls and polybrominated diphenyl ethers in Japan using archived samples from the early 1980s and mid-1990s'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this