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Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 1993 Jan;24(1):100-7.

The relative contribution of individual polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs) and polychlorinated dibenzo-p-furans (PCDFs) to toxic equivalent values derived for bulked human adipose tissue samples from Wales, United Kingdom.

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Institute of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Lancaster University, United Kingdom.


Five bulked human adipose tissue samples were analyzed for individual polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners (including selected non-ortho-substituted compounds) and polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and furans (PCDD/Fs). Mean sigma PCB and sigma PCDD/F (tetra-through octachlorinated homologues) concentrations were 0.75 microgram/g and 1.22 ng/g adipose tissue respectively. Both the congener patterns and levels detected were similar to those reported by laboratories in other industrialised countries. Each sample comprised of tissue taken from donors within a given locality. However, no obvious relationships were apparent between sampling area, absolute concentrations and congener pattern of PCBs and PCDD/Fs. The contribution of individual PCDD/F and non-ortho-(o), mono-o-, and di-o-substituted PCB congeners to the total calculated toxic equivalent values (sigma TEQ) was assessed for each sample. The main contributions to the sigma TEQ were the mono-o-substituted PCB congeners #118 (TEQ = 42.5 pg/g of lipid), #156 (TEQ = 24.8 pg/g) and #105 (TEQ = 20.7 pg/g), followed by 1,2,3,6,7,8-HxCDD (TEQ = 18.2 pg/g), 2,3,4,7,8-P5CDF (TEQ = 12 pg/g), 1,2,3,7,8-P5CDD (TEQ = 11.5 pg/g), and the non-o-substituted PCB congener #126 (TEQ = 11.3 pg/g). Collectively, these compounds accounted for 80% of the sigma TEQ values. Based on the TEFs proposed by Safe (1990), the overall TEQs calculated for the monitored PCBs, were twice those due to sigma PCDD/Fs.

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