Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) are pollutants that can be found in the environment. They are the result of human activities and may remain in the environment for a long time, as e.g. PCBs and dioxins do. They are found in all living organisms as well as in foodstuffs like fish, poultry, milk products, meat and eggs.
Human milk is a very interesting matrix to be used to measure the accumulation of these pollutants in the population. It is the first time that this study has been conducted at such a large scale and that it is representative of all parts of the country.
The project “POPs in human milk” fits in well with the implementation of the Convention of Stockholm on POP’s as such a project reflects the results of the measures that have been taken in order to reduce environmental pollution and food chain contamination and it also serves as a basis for the adjustment of priorities. The project involved a very large number of substances and also paid attention to potential new action domains.
The project represents the Belgian contribution to the fourth round of the query from the World Health Organization with regard to this theme. During this round, many more pollutants will be measured, including organochlorine pesticides and flame retardants.
The project was conducted under the authority and at the expense of the Joint Interministerial Conference on Environment and Health (JICEH) which brings together all federal, community and regional authorities in Belgium that are competent in the fields of environment and health.