Polychlorobiphenyls (PCBs), polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs) and dibenzofurans (PCDFs) were measured in fruit and vegetables (n = 113) harvested in different parts of the Mantua district, in northern Italy, and levels were used for assessing the exposure of the population to the contaminants through these food items. Concentrations in fruit and vegetables were in the range 33.39-10130 pg g-1 fresh weight (fw) for the sum of the 26PCBs analyzed (Σ26PCBs), 14.86-4504 pg g-1 fw for the six "indicator" non-dioxin-like PCBs (Σ6 NDL-PCBs), and 0.0004-1.398 pg toxic equivalent (TEQ) g-1 fw for the dioxin-like PCBs (ΣTEQDL-PCBs). Altogether fruit and vegetables made only a limited contribution to total dietary PCB intake, as the estimated total mean daily intake (TMDI) of Σ26PCBs through these food items was 10.1% in children and 10.4% in adults of the minimal risk level (MRL) for PCBs, while the TMDI of ΣTEQDL-PCBs was 3.3% in children and 3.7% in adults of the tolerable daily intake (TDI) for dioxin-like compounds. The contribution of fruit and vegetables to total PCDD and PCDF dietary intake could not be assessed because concentrations of these congeners were almost all below the limit of detection in most of the crops analyzed. This study also found that PCB levels in rosemary were much higher than in any other crop, suggesting that rosemary leaves accumulate PCBs and that this plant might be proposed as a "sentinel" of the presence of these contaminants in the environment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry