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Dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs in Dutch cow's milk: trendmonitoring 1997-2001

Dioxinen en dioxineachtige PCBs in Nederlandse consumptiemelk: trendonderzoek 1997-2001

Synopsis

Since October 1997, samples of consumer milk are collected on a weekly basis from milk factories located in different regions in The Netherlands. These samples are taken to investigate the concentrations of dioxins and dioxin-like (non-ortho) PCBs in milk as consumed by the majority of the general population of The Netherlands. The sampling campaign is carried out by the Regional Food Inspection Services. The chemical analysis is performed at the Laboratory for Organic-analytical Chemistry of the RIVM. This report summarizes the measurement data resulting from chemical analyses of monthly averaged samples collected in the period October 1997- September 2001. Dioxin and non-ortho PCB levels have been expressed in picograms of dioxin equivalents per gram of milk fat [pg (i)-TEQ/g fat and pg (WHO)-TEQ/g fat, respectively], using the International Toxic Equivalency Factors for PCDDs and PCDFs (NATO/CCMS 1988; van Zorge 1989), the WHO-TEFs for dioxin-like PCBs (Ahlborg 1994) and the 1998 WHO TEFs (van den Berg 1998). The concentration of dioxins ranged from 0.3 to 2.9 pg WHO-TEQ/g fat and was all well below the Dutch standard of 6 pg (i)-TEQ/g fat. From may 2001 the standard is 5 pg WHO-TEQ/g fat. The dioxin levels were relatively highest in October 1997 with a national average of 2.3 pg WHO-TEQ/g fat. After this period, the dioxin concentration gradually declined to a level of 0.3 pg WHO-TEQ/g fat in September 2001. In the same samples also the concentrations of non-ortho PCBs were measured. The concentration of non-ortho PCBs ranged from 0.5 to 2.0 pg WHO-TEQ/g fat. The non-ortho PCB levels were relatively highest in November 1997 with a national average of 1.7 pg WHO-TEQ/g fat. After this period, the non-ortho PCB concentration gradually declined to a level of 0.5 pg WHO-TEQ/g fat in September 2001.
 

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