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Research article2013Peer reviewed

Spatial gradients of OCPs in European butter-integrating environmental and exposure information

Weiss, Jana; Mueller, Anne; Vives, Ingrid; Mariani, Giulio; Umlauf, Gunther


The Stockholm Convention and the Global Monitoring Plan encourage the production of monitoring data to effectively evaluate the presence of the persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in all regions, in order to identify changes in levels over time, as well as to provide information on their regional and global environmental transport. Here, we report the first step of two to investigate whether butter is a feasible matrix to screen with the purpose to reflect regional ambient atmospheric air levels of POPs. The first step described here is to generate monitoring data; the second is to investigate the relationship between the two matrixes, i.e., POP concentrations in air and butter, which will be reported in another article published in this journal. Here, the 27 organochlorine pesticides listed under the Stockholm Convention have been analyzed in 75 butter samples from Europe. The general conclusions were as follows: Total organochlorine pesticide concentration is lower in butter from northern and central Europe. The spatial gradient of 1,1,1-trichloro-2,2-di(4-chlorophenyl)ethane and hexachlorocyclohexane is increasing in the eastern region of Europe (Romania, Bulgaria, and Ukraine), dieldrin towards France, and endosulfan levels were elevated on the Azores Island in the Atlantic Ocean. One butter sample from Romania exceeded the European Maximum Residue Limit value for lindane, but the other butter pesticide levels were all below the limit values. The dataset reported here can be used for the calibration of the air-grass-dairy products model, which would support the feasibility to use butter as biomonitor for measuring POP levels in ambient air.


Butter; Pesticides; Europe; Dairy products; Biomonitor; Passive sampler

Published in

Environmental Science and Pollution Research
2013, Volume: 20, number: 5, pages: 2948-2962

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Analytical Chemistry

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