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Chemosphere. 2000 May-Jun;40(9-11):1095-101.

Dioxins: WHO's tolerable daily intake (TDI) revisited.

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WHO European Centre for Environment and Health, Bilthoven Division, The Netherlands.


In December 1990, the World Health Organization (WHO) established a tolerable daily intake (TDI) of 10 pg/kg b.w. (body weight) for TCDD, based on liver toxicity, reproductive effects and immunotoxicity in experimental animals, and making use of kinetic data in humans and experimental animals. Since then new epidemiological and toxicological data have emerged, in particular with respect to neurodevelopmental and endocrine effects of dioxin. Therefore, the European Centre for Environment and Health of the World Health Organization (WHO-ECEH) and the International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS) jointly organized a consultation on the "Assessment of the health risk of dioxins: re-evaluation of the TDI", May 1998, Geneva, Switzerland. The participants discussed the health risks for infants, cancer and non-cancer endpoints in humans and animals, mechanistic aspects, kinetic behaviour, modelling, exposure, and the applicability of the toxic equivalency (TEQ) concept. For the health risk assessment of dioxin-like compounds, the WHO Consultation focused on the most sensitive effects that are considered adverse (hormonal, reproductive and developmental effects) seen at low doses in animal studies (rats and monkeys). Human daily intakes corresponding with body burdens similar to those associated with adverse effects in animals could be estimated to be in the range of 14-37 pg/kg b.w./day. To arrive at a TDI expressed as TEQ, a composite uncertainty factor of 10 was recommended. By applying this uncertainty factor a TDI range of 1-4 pg TEQs/kg body weight was established. An extensive executive summary of the results of this WHO Consultation with all the underlying background documents will be published in Food Additives and Contaminants (in press).

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