Breast-feeding exposure of infants to environmental contaminants--a public health risk assessment viewpoint: chlorinated dibenzodioxins and chlorinated dibenzofurans

Toxicol Ind Health. 1996 Sep-Oct;12(5):593-611. doi: 10.1177/074823379601200501.


Exposure of children to chlorinated dibenzodioxins and chlorinated dibenzofurans via breast-feeding has been well-documented in industrialized countries. Recent studies indicate a possible link between development of subtle health effects in children and their exposure to dioxin-like chemicals from maternal milk. Some examples of the effects are lower vitamin K levels, increased thyroxine levels, and mild changes in liver enzymes. The projected daily intakes of chlorinated dibenzodioxins and chlorinated dibenzofurans are compared with minimal risk levels for intermediate duration oral exposure (15-365 days) derived for these chemicals. Public health recommendations for future actions related to infant intake of chlorinated dibenzodioxin- and chlorinated dibenzofuran-contaminated breast milk are also addressed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Benzofurans / adverse effects*
  • Breast Feeding
  • Dibenzofurans, Polychlorinated
  • Environmental Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Milk, Human / chemistry
  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins / adverse effects
  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins / analogs & derivatives*
  • Public Health / standards*
  • Public Health / trends
  • Risk Assessment
  • Soil Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Thyroxine / blood
  • United States
  • United States Environmental Protection Agency
  • Vitamin K / blood
  • World Health Organization


  • Benzofurans
  • Dibenzofurans, Polychlorinated
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins
  • Soil Pollutants
  • Vitamin K
  • Thyroxine