Polychlorinated naphthalenes (PCNs) in Irish foods: occurrence and human dietary exposure

AR Fernandes, C Tlustos, M Rose, F Smith, M Carr, Sean Panton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The concentrations of selected polychlorinated naphthalene (PCN) congeners (PCNs 52, 53, 66/67, 68, 69, 71/72, 73, 74 and 75) were determined in 100 commonly consumed foods, in the first study on occurrence of these contaminants in the Republic of Ireland. Congener selection was based on current knowledge on PCN occurrence and toxicology, and the availability of reliable reference standards. The determinations were carried out using validated analytical methodology based on 13C10 labelled internal standardisation and measurement by HRGC-HRMS. The results showed PCN occurrence in the majority of studied foods--milk, fish, dairy and meat products, eggs, animal fat, shellfish, offal, vegetables, cereal products, etc. ranging from 0.09 ng kg(-1) whole weight for milk to 59.3 ng kg(-1) whole weight for fish, for the sum of the measured PCNs. The most frequently detected congeners were PCNs 66/67, PCN 52, and PCN 73. The highest concentrations were observed in fish, which generally showed congener profiles that reflect some commercial mixtures. The data compares well with other recently reported data for Western Europe. The dioxin-like toxicity (PCN TEQ) associated with these concentrations is lower than that reported for chlorinated dioxins or PCBs in food from Ireland. The dietary exposure of the Irish adult population to PCNs was calculated following a probabilistic approach, using the full dataset of occurrence and current consumption data. The estimates of dietary intakes at approximately 0.14 pg TEQ kg bw(-1) month(-1) for adults on an average diet, reflects the relatively lower occurrence levels.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)322-328
Number of pages7
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011


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