Estimation of human body concentrations of DDT from indoor residual spraying for malaria control

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


  • Tenzing Gyalpo
  • Lukas Fritsche
  • Henk Bouwman
  • Riana Bornman
  • Martin Scheringer
  • Konrad Hungerbühler
Inhabitants of dwellings treated with DDT for indoor residual spraying show high DDT levels in blood and breast milk. This is of concern since mothers transfer lipid-soluble contaminants such as DDT via breastfeeding to their children. Focusing on DDT use in South Africa, we employ a pharmacokinetic model to estimate DDT levels in human lipid tissue over the lifetime of an individual to determine the amount of DDT transferred to children during breastfeeding, and to identify the dominant DDT uptake routes. In particular, the effects of breastfeeding duration, parity, and mother's age on DDT concentrations of mother and infant are investigated. Model results show that primiparous mothers have greater DDT concentrations than multiparous mothers, which causes higher DDT exposure of first-born children. DDT in the body mainly originates from diet. Generally, our modeled DDT levels reproduce levels found in South African biomonitoring data within a factor of 3.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Pages (from-to)235-241
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 10.2012

    Research areas

  • Biology - DDT, Indoor residual spraying, Human exposure modeling, infant exposure, reproductive characteristics