In October 2019 researchers from Norway, Lithuania, Spain, UK, Greece, France and the USA published the results of their study to assess the association between diet and measured blood and urinary levels of environmental contaminants in mother-child pairs from six European countries. A total of 818 mothers and 1,288 children were involved in the study. Seven food groups plus the blood levels of organochlorine pesticides, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, polychlorinated biphenyls, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances and heavy metals, and urinary levels of phthalates, phenolic compounds and organophosphate pesticide were assessed. Organic food consumption during childhood was also assessed. Results showed that eating fish more than 4 times/week as opposed to twice a week was associated with a 15% increase in the level of polychlorinated biphenyls, 42% increase in perfluoroundecanoate, 89% increase in mercury and a 487% increase in arsenic. In children, eating fish over 3 times/week was associated with a 23% increase in the perfluorononanoate level when compared to those eating fish only once a week, as well as a 36% increase in perfluoroundecanoate, 37% increase in perfluorooctane sulfonate, and over 200% increase in mercury and arsenic levels. Fish consumption within the recommended 2-3 times/week therefore resulted in significantly lower levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, mercury and arsenic when compared to a higher consumption. In addition, fruit consumption was seen to be a source of exposure to organophosphate pesticides, with a higher consumption of organic food being associated with reduced levels.
Papadopoulou E et al. Diet as a Source of Exposure to Environmental Contaminants for Pregnant Women and Children from Six European Countries. Environ Health Perspect. 2019 Oct;127(10):107005.