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Dioxins in Dutch vegetables

Dioxines in Nederlandse groenten


The exposure to dioxins (including polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins, dibenzofurans and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls) occurs predominantly via the intake of food. The main contribution to the total intake originates from the consumption of animal fat. Nevertheless, vegetables were estimated to contribute 13 % to the total dietary intake, although the uncertainty in this figure was considered large (Freijer et al., 2001). In the present study, a detailed investigation into the concentrations of dioxins in vegetables and subsequently the intake via the consumption of vegetables is calculated. To that aim, eighteen different vegetables were bought in eight Dutch retail shops in two different seasons. The samples were pooled per season and analysed for dioxins. The summer vegetables could be measured very sensitively: the maximum levels (assuming that samples below the limit of detection -LOD- equal a concentration equal to the LOD) vary between 3 and 10 pg toxic equivalents (TEQ) per kg fresh weight (FW). The winter vegetables could be measured less sensitively; the LOD for each congener was approximately 10 pg TEQ/kg FW. The maximum levels (with the exception of curly kale) vary between 30 and 70 pg TEQ/kg FW. The average level in curly kale is estimated as 100-200 pg TEQ/ kg FW. Using the maximum levels, the average intake of dioxins, furans and dioxin-like PCBs by the consumption of vegetables is estimated as 0.12 pg TEQ/kg bodyweight/day. When a consistency of patterns between detected and non-detected levels is assumed, the most likely estimate is 0.014 pg TEQ/ kg bodyweight/day. The latter is less than 2 % of the mean daily intake from the total diet.

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