Toxicity equivalency factors for PCBs?

Qual Assur. 1991 Oct;1(1):70-81.


In December 1990 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sponsored a workshop to discuss the applicability of an interim "toxicity equivalency factor" (TEF) approach to assessing risks posed by exposures to complex mixtures of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The group concluded that application of the TEF approach to PCBs would be less straightforward than it was in the case of chlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (CDDs/CDFs). It appears that "dioxin"-like properties of some PCB congeners are amenable to a TEF treatment that is compatible with that used for CDDs/CDFs. Such a scheme also seems to have utility in assessing risks to wildlife. Other non-"dioxin"-like toxic endpoints (e.g., neurotoxicity) appear to have a different structure-activity-related mechanism-of-action that requires a separate TEF scheme. The workshop identified data gaps in toxicology and analytical chemistry that hinder adoption of proposed TEF schemes for PCBs at this time.

MeSH terms

  • Benzofurans / toxicity*
  • Dioxins / toxicity*
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / chemistry
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / toxicity*
  • Risk Factors
  • Toxicology / methods*
  • United States
  • United States Environmental Protection Agency


  • Benzofurans
  • Dioxins
  • dibenzofuran
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls