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J Toxicol Environ Health. 1992 Jun;36(2):103-49.

Recent developments on the hazards posed by 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin in soil: implications for setting risk-based cleanup levels at residential and industrial sites.

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ChemRisk--A McLaren/Hart Group, Alameda, CA 94501.


Since the publication of the Times Beach risk assessment in 1984, which suggested that residential soils were of concern when the level of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) was in excess of 1 ppb, there has been continued interest in this topic. Studies conducted within the past 5 yr on the environmental and toxicological behavior of TCDD, as well as refinement of parameters regarding human exposure, indicate that previous assessments of the risk to humans posed by TCDD-contaminated soil were overestimated. In this paper, recent information drawn from nearly 100 recently published articles regarding the histopathology interpretation of the Kociba bioassay, environmental fate and half-life of TCDD in soil, and estimates of human exposure via soil ingestion, dermal contact, inhalation, surface runoff, and the consumption of fish were incorporated into a risk assessment. Cleanup levels for TCDD in residential and industrial soils were calculated based on most likely exposure scenarios. Probability distributions of key exposure parameters were incorporated into a Monte Carlo uncertainty analysis to predict the range and probability of TCDD uptake and corresponding cleanup levels in soil. This analysis demonstrated that the most significant route of human exposure to TCDD is through dermal contact with soil, followed by soil ingestion, fish consumption, and inhalation of airborne particulates. At residential sites, soils containing 20 parts per billion (ppb) of TCDD were found to pose a lifetime cancer risk no greater than 1 in 100,000 (10(-5) risk) under typical exposure conditions. Based on the Monte Carlo analysis, soil concentrations for the 75th and 95th percentile person were 12 and 7 ppb (10(-5) risk), respectively. In industrial soils, TCDD concentrations ranged between 131 and 582 ppb (10(-5) risk), depending on the amount of time spent outdoors under typical exposure conditions. Industrial soil concentrations of approximately 93 and 46 ppb (10(-5) risk) were calculated for the 75th and 95th percentile worker, respectively, engaged in outdoor activities. The range of TCDD concentrations in industrial soils was not reduced significantly when the consumption of fish from a neighboring waterway by off-site receptors was considered. While cleanup levels for TCDD should be derived on a site-specific basis, this analysis indicated that soil cleanup standards can be generally higher than those implemented over the past 8 yr.

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