Dietary exposure of the Belgian adult population to non-dioxin-like PCBs

Food Chem Toxicol. 2013 Sep;59:670-9. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2013.06.020. Epub 2013 Jun 27.


Non-dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (ndl-PCBs), and some of their metabolites, might initiate neurological, neuroendocrinological, immunological and carcinogenic effects. Dietary exposure of the Belgian adult population to ndl-PCBs was investigated in this study. Foods from five food groups, collected in Belgium in 2008, were analyzed by GC-MS/MS for the six indicator PCBs (PCB 28, 52, 101, 138, 153 and 180). Results were expressed as the sum of the six congeners. A dietary exposure assessment was performed, combining ndl-PCBs levels found in food with data from the national food consumption survey of 2004. Fish and fish products were the dominating food group in terms of contamination level, with the highest levels measured in the composite sample «other fishes» (18.58 ng/g FW). The dietary exposure of the Belgian population (n=3083) to ndl-PCBs ranged from 5.33 ng/kg b.w./day on average to 16.10 ng/kg b.w./day at the 99th percentile, using the lower bound concentration. The mean dietary exposure mainly originates from Fish and fish products (54.3%), followed by dairy products (28.5%). As neither EFSA nor JECFA have set a Tolerable Daily Intake for ndl PCBs, uncertainty remains about how to interpret the exposure data in terms of public health.

Keywords: Belgian population; Dietary exposure; Food consumption; Non-dioxin-like PCBs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Belgium
  • Dairy Products / adverse effects
  • Dairy Products / analysis
  • Diet / adverse effects*
  • Diet Surveys
  • Female
  • Fish Products / adverse effects
  • Fish Products / analysis
  • Fishes
  • Food Analysis
  • Food Contamination*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pesticide Residues / analysis
  • Pesticide Residues / toxicity*
  • Pesticides / analysis
  • Pesticides / toxicity*
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / analysis
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / toxicity*
  • Seafood / adverse effects
  • Seafood / analysis
  • Young Adult


  • Pesticide Residues
  • Pesticides
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls