Polychlorinated biphenyls in cow’s milk, feed and soil in selected areas of Slovakia

Robert Toman, Martina Pšenková, Vladimír Tančin


Article Details: Received: 2020-09-07 | Accepted: 2020-10-19 | Available online: 2020-12-31


The contents of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were determined in raw cow’s milk, feed and soil samples from three regions of Slovak Republic (SR) depending on the environmental regional classification of SR. Total 60 pool milk samples from undisturbed environment (Novoť area), moderately disturbed environment (Tulčík area), and from strongly disturbed environment (Čečejovce area) collected in April, July and September were extracted, purified by gel permeation chromatography (GPC) and analyzed using the gas chromatography with electron capture detector method (GC-ECD). Thirty feed samples of total mixed ration (TMR) were collected in April and September and after the extraction and purification by GPC were analyzed using gas and liquid chromatography (GLC). Fifteen soil samples collected in April were analyzed using the GC-ECD. All samples of raw milk, feed and soil were under the limit of quantification (LOQ) from all regions and did not exceed the limits set by European Commission. There were no seasonal differences in the PCBs levels in the milk, feed and soil samples. The milk PCBs consumption from these locations has no negative impact on consumer’s health. The results indicate the decreasing trend in PCBs occurrence in the environment and food sources. Despite this positive findings, there is a constant need to monitor environmental burden of PCBs in the different regions of Slovakia where mainly food of animal origin is produced and to recognize another sources of PCBs that may impact the food chain.

Keywords: polychlorinated biphenyls, PCB, cow milk, cows, Slovakia


AHMADKHANIHA, R., NODEHI, R.N., RASTKARI, N. and AGHAMIRLOO, H.M. (2017). Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) residues in commercial pasteurized cows‘ milk in Tehran, Iran. Journal of Environmental Health Science and Engineering, 15, 15. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40201-017-0278-y

BERGHUIS, S.A. and ROZE, E. (2019). Prenatal exposure to PCBs and neurological and sexual/pubertal development from birth to adolescence. Current Problems in Pediatric and Adolescent Health Care, 49(6), 133–159. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cppeds.2019.04.006

BOUCHER, M.P., LEFEBVRE, C. and CHAPADOS, N.A. (2015). The effects of PCB126 on intra-hepatic mechanisms associated with non alcoholic fatty liver disease. Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders, 14, 88. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40200-015-0218-2

BOUREZ, S., LE LAY, S., VAN DEN DAELEN, C., LOUIS, C., LARONDELLE, Y., THOME, J.P., SCHNEIDER, Y.J., DUGAIL, I. and DEBIER, C. (2012). Accumulation of polychlorinated biphenyls in adipocytes: selective targeting to lipid droplets and role of Caveolin-1. PLos One, 7(2), e31834. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0031834

BRAJENOVIĆ, N., KARAČONJI, I.B. and JURIČ, A. (2018). Levels of polychlorinated biphenyls in human milk samples in European countries. Archives of Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology, 69(2), 135–153. https://doi.org/10.2478/aiht-2018-69-3120

CEDERBERG, T.L. (2000). Assessment of dietary intake of dioxins and related PCBs by the population of EU Member States. Report of experts participating in Task 3.2.5, European Commission, Brussel, Belgium.

CHEN, X., LIN, Y., DANG, K. and PUSCHNER, B. (2017). Quantification of polychlorinated biphenyls and polybrominated diphenyl ethers in commercial cows‘ milk from California by gas chromatography-triple quadruple mass spectrometry. PLoS One, 12(1), e0170129. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0170129

CHIROLLO, C., CERUSO, M., PEPE, T., VASSALLO, A., MARRONE, R., SEVERINO, L. and ANASTASIO, A. (2018). Levels and congeners distribution of dioxins, furans and dioxin-like PCBs in buffaloes adipose tissues sampled in vivo and milk. CyTA – Journal of Food, 16(1), 1109–1114. https://doi.org/10.1080/19476337.2018.1531938

ČECHOVÁ, E., SCHERINGER, M., SEIFERTOVÁ, M., MIKEŠ, O., KROUPOVÁ, K., KUTA, J., FORNS, J., EGGESBØ, M., QUAAK, I., DE COCK, M., VAN DE BOR, M., PATAYOVÁ, H., PALKOVIČOVÁ MURÍNOVÁ, Ľ. and KOČAN, A. (2017). Developmental neurotoxicants in human milk: Comparison of levels and intakes in three European countries. Science of the Total Environment, 579, 637–645. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.11.046

COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION (2011). Commission Recommendation No. 2011/516/EU of 23 August 2011 on the reduction of the presence of dioxins, furans and PCBs in feed and food. Official Journal of the European Union, 54, 23.

COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION (2015). Commission Recommendation No. 2013/711/EU of 3 December 2013 on the reduction of the presence of dioxins, furans and PCBs in feed and food. Official Journal of the European Union, 56, 37.

COMMISSION REGULATION (EU) (2011). Commission Regulation (EU) No 1259/2011 of 2 December 2011 amending Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 as regards maximum levels for dioxins, dioxin-like PCBs and non dioxin-like PCBs in foodstuffs. Official Journal of the European Union, 54, 18.

COSTERA, A., FEIDT, C., MARCHAND, P., LEBIZEC, B. and RYCHEN, G. (2006). PCDD/F and PCB transfer to milk in goats exposed to a long-term intake of contaminated hay. Chemosphere, 64(4), 650–657. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2005.10.052

ČONKA, K., FABIŠIKOVÁ, A., CHOVANCOVÁ, J., STACHOVÁ SEJÁKOVÁ, Z., DÖMÖTÖROVÁ, M., DROBNÁ, B. and KOČAN, A. (2015). Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins, dibenzofurans and biphenyls in food samples from areas with potential sources of contamination in Slovakia. Journal of Food and Nutrition Research, 54(1), 50–61.

DENG, P., BARNEY, J., PETRIELLO, M.C., MORRIS, A.J., WAHLANG, M. and HENNIG, B. (2019). Hepatic metabolomics reveals that liver injury increases PCB 126-induced oxidative stress and metabolic dysfunction. Chemosphere, 217, 140–149. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2018.10.196

FOCANT, J.F., PIRARD, C., MASSART, A.C. and DE PAUW, E. (2003). Survey of commercial pasteurised cows’ milk in Wallonia (Belgium) for the occurrence of polychlorinated dibenzo-pdioxins, dibenzofurans and coplanar polychlorinated biphenyls. Chemosphere, 52(4), 725–733. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0045-6535(03)00127-9

FÜRST, P., KRAUSE, G.H.M., HEIN, D., DELSCHEN, T. and WILMERS, K. (1993). PCDD/PCDF in cow‘s milk in relation to their levels in grass and soil. Chemosphere, 27(8), 1349–1357. https://doi.org/10.1016/0045-6535(93)90229-X

GAUM, P.M., GUBE, M., ESSER, A., SCHETTGEN, T., QUINETE, N., BERTRAM, J., PUTSCHÖGL, F.M., KRAUS, T. and LANG, J. (2019). Depressive symptoms after PCB exposure: hypotheses for underlying pathomechanisms via the thyroid and dopamine system. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(6), 950. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16060950

GUIDA, N., LAUDATI, G., SERANI, A., MASCOLO, L., MOLINARO, P., MONTUORI, P., DI RENZO, G., CANZONIERO, L.M.T. and FORMISANO L. (2017). The neurotoxicant PCB95 by increasing the neuronal transcriptional repressor REST down-regulates caspase-8 and increases Ripk1, Ripk3 and MLKL expression determining necroptotic neuronal death. Biochemical Pharmacology, 142, 229–241. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bcp.2017.06.135

HAGMAR, L., RYLANDER, L., DYREMARK, E., KLASSONWEHLER, E. and ERFURTH, E.M. (2001). Plasma concentrations of persistent organochlorines in relation to thyrotropin and thyroid hormone levels in women. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 74, 184–188. https://doi.org/10.1007/s004200000213

HAO, Y., LI, Y., WANG, T., HU, Y., SUN, H., MATSIKO, J., ZHENG, S., WANG., P. and ZHANG, Q. (2018). Distribution, seasonal variation and inhalation risks of polychlorinated dibenzo-pdioxins and dibenzofurans, polychlorinated biphenyls and polybrominated diphenyl ethers in the atmosphere of Beijing, China. Environmental Geochemistry and Health, 40(5), 1907– 1918. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10653-017-9961-2 

HIRAKO, M. (2008). Distribution of PCDDs, PCDFs and dioxinlike PCBs in the blood, testis and adipose tissue of suckling beef calves. Chemosphere, 71(2), 219–226. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2007.09.047

INTERNATIONAL AGENCY FOR RESEARCH ON CANCER (2016). Polychlorinated biphenyls and polybrominated biphenyls. IARC monographs on the evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans, 107, Lyon, France: IARC.

LA ROCCA, C. and MANTOVANI, A. (2006). From environment to food: the case of PCB. Annali dell‘Istituto Superiore di Sanità, 42(4), 410–416. LEIJS, M.M., KOPPE, J.G., OLIE, K., VAN AALDEREN, W.M., DE VOOGT, P. and TEN TUSSCHER, G.W. (2009). Effects of dioxins, PCBs, and PBDEs on immunology and hematology in adolescents. Environmental Science and Technology, 43(20), 7946–7951. https://doi.org/10.1021/es901480f

MESR and SEA. (2018). State of the Environment Report  – Slovak Republic 2018. Bratislava, Banská Bystrica: Ministry of Environment of the Slovak Republic, Slovak Environmental Agency. ISBN 978-80-8213-007-5

MÜLLEROVÁ, D. and KOPECKÝ, J. (2007). White adipose tissue: storage and effector site for environmental pollutants. Physiological Research, 56, 375–381. PETRO, E.M.L., COVACI, A., LEROY, J.L.M.R., DIRTU, A.C., DE COEN, W. and BOLS, P.E.J. (2010). Occurrence of endocrine disrupting compounds in tissues and body fluids of Belgian dairy cows and its implications for the use of the cow as a  model to study endocrine disruption. Science of the Total Environment, 408, 5423–5428. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2010.07.051

RYCHEN, G., JURJANZ, S., FOURNIER, A., TOUSSAINT, H. and FEIDT, C. (2014). Exposure of ruminants to persistent organic pollutants and potential of decontamination. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 21, 6440–6447. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-013-1882-8

SERPE, P.S., SCARAMUZZO, A., MAGLIO, P., LAMBIASE, S. and ESPOSITO, M. (2015). Monitoring plan on PCDD/Fs and DL-PCBs milk contamination in Campania Region (Italy). International Journal of Analytical Mass Spectrometry and Chromatography, 3, 32–36. https://doi.org/10.4236/ijamsc.2015.32004

SHEN, H., STARR, J., HAN, J., ZHANG, L., LU, D., GUAN, R., XU, X., WANG, X., LI, J., LI, W., ZHANG, Y. and WU, Y. (2016). The bioaccessibility of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins/furans (PCDD/Fs) in cooked plant and animal origin foods. Environment International, 94, 33–42. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2016.05.003

STRÉMY, M., ŠUTOVÁ, Z., PALKOVIČOVÁ MURÍNOVÁ, Ľ., RICHTEROVÁ, D., WIMMEROVÁ, S., ČONKA, K., DROBNÁ, B., FÁBELOVÁ, L., JUREČKOVÁ, D., JUSKO, T.A., TIHÁNYI, J. and TRNOVEC, T. (2019). The spatial distribution of congenerspecific human PCB concentrations in a PCB-polluted region. Science of the Total Environment, 651, 2292–2303. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.10.123

SUMNER, R.N., TOMLINSON, M., CRAIGON, J., ENGLAND, G.C.W. and LEA, R.G. (2019). Independent and combined effects of diethylhexyl phthalate and polychlorinated biphenyl 153 on  sperm quality in the human and dog. Scientific Reports, 9, 3409. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-39913-9

ŠALGOVIČOVÁ, D. and PAVLOVIČOVÁ, D. (2007). Exposure of the population of the Slovak Republic to dietary polychlorinated biphenyls. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 45(9), 1641–1649. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fct.2007.02.030

THOMAS, G.O., SWEETMAN, A.J. and JONES, K.C. (1999) Input-output balance of polychlorinated biphenyls in a longterm study of lactating dairy cows. Environmental Science and  Technology, 33(1), 104–112. https://doi.org/10.1021/es980322r

TOFT, G. (2014). Persistent organochlorine pollutants and human reproductive health. Danish Medical Journal, 61(11), B4967.

TREMOLADA, P., GUAZZONI, N., PAROLINI, M., ROSSARO, B., BIGNAZZI, M.M. and BINELLI, A. (2014). Predicting PCB concentrations in cow milk: validation of a fugacity model in high-mountain pasture conditions. Science of the Total Environment, 487, 471–480. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.04.042

WEBER, R., HEROLD, C., HOLLERT, H., KAMPHUES, J., UNGEMACH, L., BLEPP, M. and BALLSCHMITER, K. (2018). Life cycle of PCBs and contamination of the environment and of  food products from animal origin. Environmental Science and  Pollution Research International, 25(17), 16325–16343. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-018-1811-y

WEBER, R., BELL, L., WATSON, A., PETRLIK, J., PAUN, M.C. and VIJGEN, J. (2019). Assessment of pops contaminated sites and the need for stringent soil standards for food safety for the  protection of human health. Environmental Pollution, 249, 703–715. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2019.03.066

WIMMEROVÁ, S., WATSON, A., DROBNÁ, B., ŠOVČÍKOVÁ, E., WEBER, R., LANCZ, K., PATAYOVÁ, H., RICHTEROVÁ, D., KOŠTIAKOVÁ, V., JUREČKOVÁ, D., ZÁVACKÝ, P., STRÉMY, M., JUSKO, T.A., MURÍNOVÁ PALKOVIČOVÁ, Ľ., HERTZ-PICCIOTTO, I. and TRNOVEC, T. (2015). The spatial distribution of human exposure to PCBs around a former production site in Slovakia. Environmental Science and Pollution Research (International), 22, 14405–14415. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-015-5047-9

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2020 Acta Fytotechnica et Zootechnica

© Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra, Faculty of Agrobiology and Food Resources