Concentrations of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs) and dibenzofurans (PCDFs) in dietary sources for humans have been declining over the previous two decades. These declines have been accompanied by decreases in concentrations of these compounds in humans, as evidenced by measurements in blood and milk. Because of the decreasing concentrations of PCDD/PCDFs in the environment and in humans, measuring PCDD/PCDF congeners in humans has become increasingly difficult, despite advances in analytic methods. An observational approach was recently described to address the quandary of non-detectable results in determining toxic equivalents. This approach, called the congener ratio approach, is specifically for cases where concentrations of 2,3,7,8-TCDD (TCDD) are below the limit of detection (LOD), and where concentrations of 1,2,3,7,8-pentachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (PeCDD) are equal to or above the LOD. Development of this approach relied on evaluating data on measured concentrations of TCDD and PeCDD in human serum from the general population. The congener ratio approach for TCDD and PeCDD was based on the concentration of TCDD being approximately 40% that of PeCDD in serum from the general population. Additional analyses presented here reveal that when concentrations of both congeners are above the LOD, the data appear to generally support the congener ratio approach for TCDD and PeCDD, with the caveat that gender may affect the ratio. However, the TCDD/PeCDD relation is less clear when TCDD is less than the LOD; in this situation, the relation overpredicts levels of TCDD approximately 80% of the time for the 2001-2002 NHANES database. Using the congener ratio approach for other PCDD/PCDF congeners requires assessing the correlation and the frequency of detection for both TCDD and PeCDD.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Engineering
- Environmental Chemistry
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis