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Food contamination with polychlorinated biphenyls and dioxins in Belgium. Effects on the body burden
  1. N Van Larebeke1,
  2. A Covaci2,
  3. P Schepens2,
  4. L Hens3
  1. 1Department of Radiotherapy, Nuclear Medicine and Experimental Cancerology, Ghent University, Belgium
  2. 2Toxicological Centre, University of Antwerp, Belgium
  3. 3Human Ecology Department, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
  1. Correspondence to:
 Luc Hens, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Human Ecology Department, Laarbeeklaan 103, B-1090 Brussels, Belgium;


The core paper of this debate shows that persistent organic pollutant residues of the 12 chemicals targeted for a phase out under the Stockholm Convention are present in almost all categories of food in the US food supply. For dioxins, the study does not use measured data, but is based upon potential dioxin residues in selected food items. Polychlorinated biphenyls are not included in the study. In this paper we discuss selected data of polychlorinated biphenyl and dioxin concentrations in Belgian food. Some of these exposures are chronic, others are attributable to incidents. Both result in high body burdens in Belgium. The paper also compares the current concentrations in food with the recent standards launched by the EU for dioxins in food, and discusses whether these values adequately protect European citizens.

  • dioxin
  • polychlorinated biphenyls
  • polybrominated biphenyl ethers
  • persistent organic pollutants
  • Stockholm Convention
  • POPs, persistent organic pollutants
  • PCBs, polychlorinated biphenyls

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