Organochlorine Legacy Compounds

1 888 373 0881
Tel +1 (250) 655-5800
Fax +1 (250) 655-5811
AXYS Analytical Services Ltd.
2045 Mills Road W.
Sidney BC Canada
V8L 5X2

Chlorinated Dioxins and Furans

Since the 1970s a series of high exposure events, such as the use of Agent Orange in Vietnam and contamination of Love Canal in New York State, has led to significant public attention concerning the health and environmental effects of chlorinated dioxins and furans. The 17 “most toxic” of these compounds have been targeted for virtual elimination by many governments worldwide and have resulted in pollution controls, international agreements, definition of regulatory limits, and recommendations around consumption of certain foods.

Technically called polychlorinated dibenzo-para-dioxins (PCDDs) and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs), chlorinated dioxins and furans consist of a triple-ring structure, containing two benzene rings connected by one or two oxygens. This family includes 75 compounds of chlorinated dioxins and 135 compounds of chlorinated furans. Compounds with chlorine atoms at the 2,3,7, and 8 positions display the highest toxicity and the most toxic dioxin, 2,3,7,8 TCDD is used as the reference point against which toxicity of other dioxin and dioxin-like coplanar PCBs are rated, i.e. Toxicity Equivalency Rating (TEQ).

AXYS has conducted dioxin analysis since 1988 and continues to lead their analysis. In 1996, AXYS was one of a small handful of laboratories meet the criteria of a World Health Organization study of human plasma and milk analysis for chlorinated dioxins/furans and dioxin-like PCBs. AXYS has qualified as an EPA Dioxin Contract Laboratory and is accredited by CALA and NELAC (NewYork, Florida, California, New Jersey, and Washington), for analysis of chlorinated dioxins and furans in multiple matrices. Required measurements are usually in the pg/L range for water and in the pg/g range for soils, sediments, biosolids, tissue, and serum. The selectivity and sensitivity of high resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) is usually a requirement for measurement of these compounds.

PCDDs and PCDFs are byproducts from a wide variety of industrial and combustion activities, such as incineration of municipal and medical wastes, but also occur naturally. The total global deposition of chlorinated dioxins and furans is estimated conservatively at 13,100 kg per year from the atmosphere. Regulatory and voluntary industry controls have significantly reduced dioxin emissions in Canada and the USA but dioxins still remain “available” in the environment. International and national efforts continue in an effort to reduce the amount of environmental “dioxin” and dioxin-like compounds.

Toxic, persistent, and bioaccumulative, our main exposure to chlorinated dioxins and furans is through food consumption of meat, fish, and dairy products. Specific dioxins and dioxin-like compounds have been identified as cancer causing agents, endocrine disruptors and developmental toxicants.

AXYS specializes in measurement of chlorinated dioxins and furans to picogram or lower concentrations from standard sample sizes. Our specialized sampling and analytical procedures may allow for much lower detection limits and reduced sample sizes in human and sediment matrices. We deliver legally defensible data under ISO 17025 certified systems applying methods accredited by NELAP and CALA. Electronic Data Deliverables (EDD), customized for download to our clients’ relational databases, are available in addition to standard format report and full data packages.

Please contact one of our Project Managers at 1 888 373 0881 or +1 (250) 655-5800 to discuss how AXYS can support your analytical advantage.

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