Risk assessment of PCDD/Fs levels in human tissues related to major food items based on chemical analyses and micro-EROD assay

H. L. Tsang, S. C. Wu, Chris K C WONG, C. K.M. Leung, S. Tao, Ming Hung WONG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Nine groups of food items (freshwater fish, marine fish, pork, chicken, chicken eggs, leafy, non-leafy vegetables, rice and flour) and three types of human samples (human milk, maternal serum and cord serum) were collected for the analysis of PCDD/Fs. Results of chemical analysis revealed PCDD/Fs concentrations (pg g- 1 fat) in the following ascending order: pork (0.289 pg g- 1 fat), grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idellus) (freshwater fish) (0.407), golden thread (Nemipterus virgatus) (marine fish) (0.511), chicken (0.529), mandarin fish (Siniperca kneri) (marine fish) (0.535), chicken egg (0.552), and snubnose pompano (Trachinotus blochii) (marine fish) (1.219). The results of micro-EROD assay showed relatively higher PCDD/Fs levels in fish (2.65 pg g- 1 fat) when compared with pork (0.47), eggs (0.33), chicken (0.13), flour (0.07), vegetables (0.05 pg g- 1 wet wt) and rice (0.05). The estimated average daily intake of PCDD/Fs of 3.51 pg EROD-TEQ/kg bw/day was within the range of WHO Tolerable Daily Intake (1-4 pg WHO-TEQ/kg bw/day) and was higher than the Provisional Tolerable Daily Intake (PMTL) (70 pg for dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs) recommended by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) [Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), Summary and conclusions of the fifty-seventh meeting, JECFA, 2001.]. Nevertheless, the current findings were significantly lower than the TDI (14 pg WHO-TEQ/kg/bw/day) recommended by the Scientific Committee on Food of the Europe Commission [European Scientific Committee on Food (EU SCF), Opinions on the SCF on the risk assessment of dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs in food, 2000.]. However, it should be noted that micro-EROD assay overestimates the PCDD/Fs levels by 2 to 7 folds which may also amplify the PCDD/Fs levels accordingly. Although the levels of PCDD/Fs obtained from micro-EROD assay were much higher than those obtained by chemical analysis by 2 to 7 folds, it provides a cost-effective and rapid screening of dioxin levels in food and human samples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1040-1047
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironment International
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Science(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Body loadings
  • Fish
  • Human tissues
  • PCDD/Fs
  • Vegetables


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