This study documents the levels of pesticide residues in milk samples of mothers from Himachal Pradesh, India, and time trend comparison of pesticide load based on various studies conducted around the world. The regional difference in xenobiotic levels of breast milk varied with demographic
characteristics of mothers and altitudinal variations. The single or multiple pesticides contamination of p,p′-DDE, p,p′-DDT and chlorpyrifos was revealed in 27.45% mothers’ milk samples. Among these p,p′-DDE was the major contaminant
found in 26.79% samples followed by p,p′-DDT (1.31%) and chlorpyrifos (0.65%). However, residues of other 26 pesticides comprising organochlorines, organophosphorus and synthetic pyrethroids included in this study were below detectable limit (BDL). The determination of
a low DDT/DDE ratio (0.050) indicated past exposure of mothers to DDT from the environment. The pesticide residues level in samples drawn from 14 branded infant formulae was BDL. The calculated infants’ daily intake (DI) of DDT was 0.0015 mg kg−1 body weight
per day compared with a decade-old study (0.021 mg kg−1 body weight per day) suggesting a sharp decline in the residue levels of these pesticides in the Himalayan region. The trend comparison with past studies conducted around the world indicate a decline in the
levels of organochlorine pesticide residues in mothers’ milk and further drop of DI in infants. However, such comparisons confer very limited utilisation of data generated on pesticide load in mothers’ milk and simultaneous infants’ DI due to lack of proper research protocol.
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