Serum, adipose and autopsy tissue PCDD and PCDF levels in people eating dioxin contaminated beef and chicken eggs

L. R. Goldman, D. G. Hayward, J. Flattery, M. E. Harnly, D. G. Patterson, L. L. Needham, D. Siegel, R. Chang, R. D. Stephens, K. W. Kizer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


We studied dioxin levels in residents of two California households where dioxin contaminated homegrown eggs and beef were found, in order to determine the level of exposure to dioxins. Risk assessments for carcinogenicity and reproductive toxicity showed that theoretical risks exceeded proscribed regulatory levels. Advisory guidelines were issued about consumption of eggs, chicken and beef. Serum samples from exposed and matched rural comparison subjects were analyzed and preliminary dioxin data show statistically significant elevations of 2,3,7,8-penta and hexa dioxin isomers for both homes. Comparison subjects from rural California had lower serum dioxin levels than those previously reported for Missouri and Sweden. Adipose tissue from a resident of one of the homes was tested for dioxins. The resident died six months later and a post mortem retesting of adipose and testing of liver and lung tissues for dioxins was done. No unusual dioxin levels were found; levels of dioxin in adipose remained stable despite six months of not eating contaminated produce. Dioxins were not a contributing cause of death. In this study, dioxin contaminated eggs and beef have elevated 2,3,7,8-tetra, penta and hexa dioxin levels in serum. The ongoing investigation will seek to delineate the source and extent of contamination, and to determine the extent of the exposed population and potential health impacts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)841-848
Number of pages8
Issue number1-6
StatePublished - 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry


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