The implementation of the European Union strategy for polychlorodibenzo-dioxins and -furans (PCDD/Fs), and dioxin-like polychlorobiphenyls (DL-PCBs) is determining a general reduction of their presence in the environment and in the food chain. The most important route for human exposure to these substances is food consumption and, as a consequence, a progressive decrease of their dietary intake has been observed in the last decades. In this context, it seemed worth updating the PCDD/F and DL-PCB intake estimation for the Italian population. A total of 2659 samples of food of animal and vegetable origin analyzed for PCDD/Fs and DL-PCBs in the period 2013–2016 by accredited official laboratories and the national food consumption database were considered for the dietary intake assessment in different age groups of the Italian general population The median cumulative intake estimates expressed as pg WHO-TEQ/kg body weight per day and computed with a deterministic and a probabilistic approach were 1.40–1.52 for children, 0.82–0.85 for adolescents, and 0.64–0.61 for adults, respectively. Such results confirm the decreasing trend of PCDD/F and DL-PCB dietary intake even though the Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI) value of 2 WHO-TEQ/kg body weight per day is exceeded at the 95th percentile for all age groups, with children as sensitive group. Most contributing food categories to the intake resulted fish, food of vegetable origin, and cheese. A sensitivity analysis was also performed to calculate the target contamination levels able to keep the dietary exposure below the TDI. Computed target levels fall between P50 and P97 of the occurrence distribution of the main food groups, meaning that most of the Italian food production can be considered safe.
- Dioxin-like polychlorobiphenyls
- Risk assessment
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Engineering
- Environmental Chemistry
- Waste Management and Disposal