Dietary exposure to dioxin-like compounds in three age groups: results from the Flemish environment and health study

Chemosphere. 2008 Jan;70(4):584-92. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2007.07.008. Epub 2007 Aug 27.


Lipophilic contaminants are present in the environment and bioaccumulate in the food chain. Therefore, their intake via animal fat of various sources was assessed for three age groups of the Flemish population, participating in a large biomonitoring program of the Flemish government. In total, 1636 adolescents (14-15 years), 1186 mothers (18-44 years), and 1586 adults (50-65 years) participated in the study and completed a semi quantitative food frequency questionnaire. Individual consumption data were combined, via a so-called simple distribution approach, with recent data on polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins/furans and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls, measured via the chemical-activated luciferase gene expression (CALUX) bio-assay in food items available on the Flemish market. The median (95th percentile) estimated intakes of dioxin-like contaminants were 2.24 (4.61), 2.09 (4.26), and 1.74 (3.53) pg CALUX-TEQ kg(-1) bw d(-1) for, respectively adolescents, mothers and adults. These data are in the same range as those found in other European studies. The CALUX-TEQ results of respectively 59.8%, 53.7% and 36.2% of the adolescent, mother and adult population exceed the tolerable weekly intake (TWI) of 14 pg WHO-TEQ kg(-1) bw w(-1), as derived by the Scientific Committee on Food [Scientific Committee on Food, 2001. Opinion of the Scientific Committee on Food on the Risk Assessment of Dioxins and Dioxin-like PCBs in Food, CS/CNTM/DIOXIN/20 final Brussels, Belgium]. The main contributors of dioxin-like substances are fish and seafood (25-43% of the total intake), added fats (22-25% of the total intake) and dairy products (17-20% of the total intake).

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Belgium
  • Dairy Products / analysis
  • Diet Surveys
  • Dioxins / analysis*
  • Dioxins / chemistry
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis*
  • Female
  • Fishes
  • Food Contamination / analysis*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / analysis
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / chemistry


  • Dioxins
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls
  • dibenzo(1,4)dioxin