Tuesday, August 25, 2020

High levels of dioxins and PCBs in meat, fat and livers of free ranging pigs, goats, sheep and cows from the island of Curaçao



Samples of adipose tissue, meat and livers from pigs, cows, sheep and goats from Curaçao were analysed for polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs), and dioxin-like (dl-) and non-dioxin-like (ndl-) PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls). Levels in many samples of adipose tissue were higher than the EU maximum levels (MLs) for PCDD/Fs and the sum of PCDD/Fs and dl-PCBs (sum-TEQ), indicating unusually high levels. Median sum-TEQ (Toxic Equivalents) levels for pigs, cows, sheep and goats were 0.9 (range 0.3-35), 3.0 (0.5-14), 5.7 (0.3-28) and 6.5 (0.5-134) pg TEQ g-1 fat. For most samples, the congener pattern pointed to the burning of waste as the major source, in line with the fact that most animals forage outside. MLs for ndl-PCBs were also exceeded in some of the samples, indicating that some areas are additionally contaminated with PCBs. Meat levels showed similar lipid based levels as adipose tissue, contrary to liver levels, which were much higher in most animals. Pigs showed liver sequestration at lower levels in adipose tissue than the ruminants. The relatively high levels observed in this study are likely to result in high exposure of consumers and measures should be taken to reduce the contamination of areas where animals forage.


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