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Some persistent organic pollutants (POPs) have been found in human semen but until this point it was unclear whether polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) could be detected in human semen. In this study, PBDEs were found for the first time in human semen samples (n=101) from Taizhou, China. The concentrations of total PBDEs (∑PBDEs) varied from 15.8 to 86.8 pg/g ww (median=31.3 pg/g ww) and 53.2 to 121 pg/g ww (median=72.3 pg/g ww) in semen and blood samples, respectively. The ∑PBDE level in semen was about two times lower than in human blood, which was different in the distribution in the two matrices from other POPs. A correlation of ∑PBDE concentration was found between paired semen and in blood. The results suggest that semen could be used to detect PBDE burden in human body as a non-invasive matrix. In addition, the levels of BDE-209 and BDE-153, especially the latter, were much higher in blood than in semen, while the levels of BDE-28, BDE-47 and BDE-99 were comparable in the two matrices, suggesting that low brominated congeners could be more easily transferred to semen than high brominated congeners. Considering different toxicities among the PBDE congeners, it might be more significant to measure PBDEs in semen than in blood for evaluating male reproduction risks of PBDEs. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Peng-Yan Liu, Ya-Xian Zhao, Yi-Yang Zhu, Zhan-Fen Qin, Xian-Li Ruan, Yong-Chuan Zhang, Bao-Jun Chen, Yan Li, Shi-Shuai Yan, Xiao-Fei Qin, Shan Fu, Xiao-Bai Xu. Determination of polybrominated diphenyl ethers in human semen. Environment international. 2012 Jul;42:132-7

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PMID: 21664693

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