Breast-feeding and serum p,p′DDT levels among Mexican women of childbearing age: A pilot study

Lizbeth López-Carrillo, Luisa Torres-Sánchez, Jacqueline Moline, Karen Ireland, Mary S. Wolff

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43 Scopus citations


For almost 50 years, millions of Mexicans have been directly and/or indirectly exposed to (1,1,1-trichloro-2,2-bis [p-chlorophenyl] ethane) (p,p′DDT). The potential related health outcomes of this exposure are of international concern. The objective of the study was to determine the effect of breast-feeding on serum levels of 1,1-dichloro-2; 2′-bis (p-chlorophenyl)ethylene (p,p′DDE) and p,p′DDT in women of childbearing age who were residents of the state of Morelos, Mexico. In March 1999, we examined a sample of 24 women, ages 21 to 36 years, who came with their children to the outpatient facility of a county Health Center in the state of Morelos. The geometric mean for p,p′DDE was 21.8 ng/ml ± 2.58 (GSD) and 2.9 ng/ml ± 2.84 for p,p′DDT. For each month of breast-feeding we observed similar significant decreases for both p,p′DDE (β = -0.0403 per log concentration unit, P = 0.001) and p,p′DDT (β = -0.0309, P = 0.03) serum levels, adjusted by mothers' age and number of children. The adjusted half-life estimate for p,p′DDE serum levels was 17 months. It was concluded that breast-feeding leads to rapid removal of p,p′DDT from the body (< 2 year half-life) compared to nonlactational elimination rates (<5 year half-life). In this population, serum p,p′DDE levels were similar to those found 20 years ago in the United States.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-135
Number of pages5
JournalEnvironmental Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001


  • Blood serum
  • Breast-feeding
  • Childbearing age
  • Mexico
  • Women
  • p,p′DDE
  • p,p′DDT


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