Exposure to Dioxins, Furans, and PCBs is
The overall level of human exposure to dioxins, furans and
dioxin-like PCBs (based on TEQ1) is declining dramatically. The figure above illustrates
this decline and also shows that the percentage of exposure
to TCDD, the most toxic member of this group of chemicals,
is greatly reduced from previous levels. By 2010, it is projected
that there will be virtually no exposure to TCDD. Thus, today's
mix of dioxins, furans, and dioxin-like PCBs is significantly
less toxic than mixtures of the early 1970's, when human exposures
to these chemicals peaked.
1 Toxicity units are "TEQ". "TEQ" denotes "toxic equivalent",
a quantitative measure of the combined toxicity of a mixture
of dioxin-like chemicals.
**World Health Organization (1998). Executive Summary. Assessment
of the health risk of dioxins: Re-evaluation of the Tolerable
Daily Intake (TDI). [On-Line]. Available: http://www.who.int/pcs/pubs/dioxin-exec-sum/exe-sum-final.html
** World Health Organization (1989). The WHO Environmental
Health Criteria Series, No. 88: Polychlorinated Dibenzo-para-dioxins
*** Source: Adapted from Aylward & Hays (Mar. 21, 2001).
Personal Correspondence to Dr. Edo Pellizzari, Editor, Journal
of Exposure Analysis and Epidemiology.