We determined the concentration of dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p,p'-DDE) in dried-blood spot specimens from 2-day-old infants from rural Texas who had never been breast fed. Anonymous, residual whole blood spots on filter paper, previously used for routine newborn screening procedures, were soaked in a phosphate buffer, extracted with an organic solvent, and eluted through silica gel. The concentrated eluates were analyzed by capillary gas chromatography with electron capture detection (ECD). The blood collected from 10 newborns was analyzed and found to contain DDE concentrations ranging from 0.13 to 1.87 pg/μl with a mean of 0.72 pg/μl. One of the 10 newborns had a whole blood DDE concentration of 1.87 pg/μl, which was greater than the concentration of 1.34 pg/μl in a freshly drawn sample from an adult donor whose blood serum was shown to contain DDE. With improvement in detection limits, this approach has the potential to displace the analyses of mothers' blood (as a surrogate indicator of infants' exposures) and cord blood as standard procedures for determining the newborns' body burden of environmental pollutants.
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