Serum concentrations of chlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans among former New Zealand trichlorophenol workers.

PMID 19559461


This study examined serum levels of 2,3,7,8-substituted chlorinated dioxins and furans, and 15 PCBs for 346 New Zealand employees who worked at a site that manufactured 2,4,5-trichlorophenol (TCP) and 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxy acetic acid (2,4,5-T). Participants with potential TCP or 2,4,5-T exposures had mean lipid-adjusted 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (2,3,7,8-TCDD) levels of 9.9 ng kg(-1) lipid compared to 4.9 ng kg(-1) for workers with no exposure at the site. Among exposed workers, we found evidence of differences in 2,3,7,8-TCDD levels by department and duties. Workers involved in an accidental release had the highest mean 2,3,7,8-TCDD levels, 37.9 ng kg(-1), followed by workers in the trichlorophenol plant, 23.4 ng kg(-1). Workers with potential intermittent exposures to 2,3,7,8-TCDD in construction, maintenance, mechanics, and transport had 2,3,7,8-TCDD levels above New Zealand background levels of 3.9 ng kg(-1), indicating workplace exposures. Among participants with work history indicating no 2,3,7,8-TCDD exposures, we observed some individuals with 2,3,7,8-TCDD levels above background levels. However, in most cases, these workers reported workplace exposures not recorded on their work histories or held other jobs with the potential for 2,3,7,8-TCDD exposures outside the plant. All other dioxin, furan, and PCB levels were similar among the exposed and unexposed workers.