Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are a mixture of 209 possible congeners with different chlorine substitutions and they are potentially hazardous compounds in the environment for human beings. The high lipophilicity and the resistance to biodegradation of PCBs allow the bioaccumulation of these chemicals in the fatty tissues of organisms. The objective of this study was to determine the levels of PCBs in the adipose tissue of women living in Ankara, Turkey. For this purpose, levels of seven major persistent PCB congeners (IUPAC Numbers: 28, 52, 101, 118, 138, 153, 180) were measured in 29 primiparous mothers' adipose tissue samples by gas chromatography with electron capture detection (GC-ECD). PCB IUPAC numbers 138, 153 and 180 were the most abundant congeners, each accounting for >20% of the total PCB content of adipose tissue. PCB 153 was the dominant congener in all the samples (141.7±132.3 ng/g lipid wt. basis). The results are compared with the similar studies from other countries. The concentrations of PCB 28, PCB 52 and PCB 101 were found to be higher than those found in industrialized countries. This study is important in terms of being the first study of determination of PCB levels in adipose tissue samples in Turkey. © 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.