Mixed halogenated dioxins/furans (PXDD/Fs) and biphenyls (PXBs) in food: Occurrence and toxic equivalent exposure using specific relative potencies

Alwyn R Fernandes, David Mortimer, Richard J Wall, David R Bell, Martin Rose, Melanie Carr, Sean Panton, Frankie Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The occurrence of nineteen mixed halogenated (bromo-chloro) dibenzo-p-dioxins, dibenzofurans (PXDD/Fs) and biphenyls (PXBs) in a range of foods (n N 100) was investigated. The analytical methodology used dual activated carbon column fractionation with high resolution mass spectrometric measurement (13,500–15,000 res). Occurrence was observed in most commonly consumed foods but the most frequent detections of these environmental contaminants were made in shellfish and offal. The concentrations of the individual compounds were condensed into toxic equivalents (TEQs) using recently reported relative potency values. Although representing only a small subset of the full range of toxic PXDD/Fs and PXBs, the TEQs estimated for these compounds ranged from 0.2% to approximately 15% (depending on the food matrix) of the corresponding TEQ for the fully chlorinated analogues. This finding is of great toxicological importance as it implies that a potentially
greater magnitude of TEQ could be associated with the full range of toxic PXDD/Fs and PXBs, thus making a significant contribution to dioxin-like toxicity from the diet, to human exposure.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)104-110
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironment International
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Dioxin-like toxicity
  • Dietary intake
  • TEQ
  • Bromo-chloro
  • Ah receptor
  • Congener-selective

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