Introducing of modeling techniques in the research of POPs in breast milk – A pilot study
Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 2019, 172, 341-347.
This study used advanced statistical and machine learning methods to investigate organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in breast milk, assuming that in a complex biological mixture, the
pollutants emitted from the same source or with similar properties are statistically interrelated and possibly exhibit non-linear dynamics. The elaborated analyses such as Unmix source apportionment characterized individual source groups, while guided regularized random forest indicated the pollutant dependence on the orthochlorine atom attached to the congener’s phenyl ring and mother’s age. Mutual associations among PCBs were further discussed, but the results implied they were mostly not related to child delivery. PCB congeners −153, −180,−170, −118,−156,−105, and −138 appeared to be compounds of the outmost importance for mutual prediction with reference to their interrelations regarding chemical structure and metabolic processes in the mother’s body. Finally, machine learning methods, which provided prediction relative errors lower than 30% and correlation coefficients higher than 0.90, suggested a possible strong non-linear relationship among the pollutants and consequently, the complexity of their pathways in the breast milk.