Dietary exposure to dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs in The Netherlands anno 2004

Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2008 Aug;51(3):278-87. doi: 10.1016/j.yrtph.2008.04.010. Epub 2008 Apr 24.


In this study, representative occurrence data for PCDD/Fs and dioxin-like PCBs in food were obtained and used to estimate dietary exposure of the Dutch population. Food composite samples were analyzed as well as single fish and vegetables samples. Total dioxin concentrations in animal products ranged from 0.05 pg TEQ/g product in poultry to 2.5 pg TEQ/g product (using TEF(2006)) in fish (shrimp), with 0.12pg TEQ/g product being the lowest concentrations measured in fish (tuna). In vegetable products, concentrations ranged from 0.00002 pg TEQ/g product (white kale) to 0.19 pg TEQ/g (oils and fats). A long-term dietary exposure distribution was calculated using Monte Carlo Risk Assessment software. The lower bound median exposure of the Dutch population to PCDD/Fs and dioxin-like PCBs was estimated at 0.8 pg WHO-TEQ/kgbw/d, half of which were dioxin-like PCBs. Dairy was the main source (38%) due to its high consumption. Time-trend analysis shows that the exposure to dioxins has further decreased by 35% over the past five years. This is due to lower levels of dioxin-like compounds in most of the foods, mainly influenced by lower levels in meat and milk. The use of the new TEFs gives an exposure reduction of 10% with respect to TEF(1998). Still, 4% of the Dutch population exceeds the exposure limit of 14 pg/kgbw/week as set by the EU.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carcinogens, Environmental / analysis*
  • Diet*
  • Dioxins / analysis*
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis*
  • Environmental Exposure / statistics & numerical data
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Environmental Monitoring / statistics & numerical data
  • Food Analysis
  • Food Contamination / analysis*
  • Food Contamination / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Netherlands


  • Carcinogens, Environmental
  • Dioxins