Human blood monitoring program in Japan: Contamination and bioaccumulation of persistent organochlorines in Japanese residents

T. B. Minh, M. Watanabe, N. Kajiwara, H. Iwata, S. Takahashi, A. Subramanian, S. Tanabe, S. Watanabe, T. Yamada, J. Hata

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22 Citations (Scopus)


Concentrations of persistent organochlorines (OCs)-such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), 1,1,1-trichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)ethane (DDT) and its metabolites (DDTs), hexachlorocyclohexane isomers (HCHs), chlordane compounds (CHLs), hexachlorobenzene, and tris(4-chlorophenyl)methane [TCPMe]-were determined in plasma samples from residents of three sub-metropolitan locations in Japan (Miyako, Saku, and Tottori) for the purpose of studying the geographic variation and specific accumulation of OCs. Residue concentrations of PCBs and DDTs were the highest in samples collected in Saku (400 and 370 ng/g lipid wt, respectively) whereas samples from Miyako contained greater CHL residues (70 ng/g lipid wt) than those from the other two locations. This contamination pattern reflects the historic use of OCs in each area. For the first time, tris (4-chlorophenyl) methane (TCPMe) concentrations were detected in most of the plasma sample analyzed. Concentrations of TCPMe which ranged from <0.1 to 8.1 ng/g lipid wt eight, were lower than those previouly reported in other human tissue. Larger geographic differences in OC accumulation were observed for PCBs and CHLs, whereas DDTs and HCHs exhibited little variability. PCB concentrations in samples from Saku residents were higher than those from residents of countries in the circumpolar Arctic region but lower than those reported for some populations in the United States and Western European countries. Interestingly, CHL residue concentrations in human blood from Japan are among the highest values reported for the countries examined, suggesting continued increased exposure to CHLs of the Japanese population. Time-trend analysis of CHLs in human blood samples from Miyako (Okinawa prefecture) showed that CHL residues have decreased substantially during the last decade, indicating the effect of the official ban of CHLs in 1986 in Japan. Isomer-specific analysis of PCBs revealed lower proportions of higher chlorinated congeners such as hepta- and octachlorobiphenyls in women than in men, suggesting the possibility of preferential elimination of higher chlorinated biphenyls in women. The difference in sex-dependent accumulation of OC compounds in healthy and ill persons was suggested. To our knowledge, this is the first report on the specific accumulation of persistent QCs, including TCPMe, in human blood samples from Japan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-313
Number of pages18
JournalArchives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Aug 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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