Concentrations of 17 toxic 2,3,7,8-chlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans
(PCDD/Fs) and of 36 polychlorinated biphenyl congeners (PCBs) were analyzed from 167
randomly sampled human milk samples from Southern (77 samples) and Eastern (90) Finland.
The level of PCDD/Fs and PCBs in human milk in Southern Finland was about 25% higher
than those from Eastern Finland. The level of PCDD/Fs in human milk in Finland was
the same as in Sweden, 30-50% lower than in milk from Central Europe but about 45%
higher than values from Norway or Russia. The PCB concentrations in Southern Finland
were at the same level as in the Netherlands, and in Eastern Finland at the same level
as in Norway. The levels of PCDD/Fs and PCBs decreased with increasing number of children:
the third child was exposed to about 70% of the amount of PCDD/Fs and PCBs as compared
with the first child, and the eighth to tenth child to about 20%. The congener patterns
of PCDD/Fs and PCBs in Finnish human milk were similar to the countries of Central
Europe, however, the levels of penta- and heptachlorinated furans were slightly higher
than in milk from other countries.