Clearance of PCDD/Fs via the gastrointestinal tract in occupationally exposed persons

Chemosphere. 1999 Jun;38(14):3397-410. doi: 10.1016/s0045-6535(98)00551-7.


A digestive tract mass balance was performed on six men with high body burdens of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs). Intake via food was measured by analyzing duplicate portions of the food consumed by the volunteers and excretion via feces was determined by quantitative collection and analysis of the feces. Blood samples were taken to determine the current body burden. The results showed that the quantity of non-metabolized chemical excreted in the feces clearly exceeded the uptake via food for all of the 2,3,7,8-substituted PCDDs and some of the PCDFs, indicating a significant clearance across the gastrointestinal tract. The concentrations of these PCDD/F congeners in blood and feces were highly correlated (r > 0.8), demonstrating that the fecal PCDD/F content was determined by the body burden. The half lives in the test persons due to fecal clearance of non-metabolized chemical were estimated from the excretion rate and the current body burden and ranged between 10 years (Cl8DD) and 33 years (2,3,4,7,8-Cl5DF). These were compared with the overall contaminant half-lives due to all clearance processes which were calculated from the body burden and the decrease in blood concentrations measured over several years. The fecal clearance of non-metabolized PCDD/F contributed on average between 37% (2,3,7,8-Cl4DD) and 90% (Cl8DD) to the total elimination. This indicates that the gastrointestinal pathway plays a decisive role in the clearance of most 2,3,7,8-subsituted PCDD/F congeners.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Benzofurans / pharmacokinetics*
  • Body Burden
  • Digestive System / chemistry
  • Digestive System / drug effects*
  • Feces / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins / analogs & derivatives*
  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins / pharmacokinetics
  • Soil Pollutants / pharmacokinetics*


  • Benzofurans
  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins
  • Soil Pollutants