Measurement of blood dioxin levels to monitor human exposure is tedious and expensive work, although high-resolution mass spectrometers equipped with high-resolution gas chromatography are becoming relatively common in Japan. The Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Environmental Agency require measurement of 17 dioxins, seven PCDDs and 10 PCDFs, according to a statement in “Dioxin Measurement Guidelines” published in 1997. Additionally, three coplanar polychlorinated biphenyls, for which TEFs were determined, have been included for measurement ad libitum. Recently, we have examined 316 blood samples from four groups of subjects, living in areas 5 km away from any incinerator (A), within 2 km from incinerators that emitted slightly higher levels of dioxins than the allowed level (higher than 80 ng/Nm3) (B), within 2 km of an incinerator which emitted a high level of dioxin (C), and workers at this incinerator (D), for dioxin levels by measuring 20 congeners, including three coplanar PCBs. The average pg TEQ/g lipid values were 23.8±12.3, 25.6±11.6, 39.1±18.8 and 100.7±127.4 for A, B, C and D, respectively. It was found that more than 90% of the total TEQs of the subjects in all groups were accounted for by eight congeners, 2,3,7,8-TCDD, 1,2,3,7,8-PeCDD, 1,2,3,6,7,8-HxCDD, 2,3,4,7,8-PeCDF, 3,3',4,4',5-PeCB, 1,2,3,4,7,8-HxCDF, 1,2,3,6,7,8-HxCDF and 2,3,4,6,7,8-HxCDF. This is also the case for a further 30 blood samples that had no connection with incinerators. Further, regression analysis of the 346 samples leads to an equation of y=1.109x−1.077, with a correlation coefficient, r=0.9996. Here, y=total pg TEQ of 20 congeners/g lipid of blood, and x=total pg TEQs of eight congeners/g lipid. Accordingly, we propose that measurement of eight instead of 20 congeners is appropriate to obtain dioxin TEQ values of blood, at low cost, with high accuracy and with high efficiency, in a short time.
2001 The Japanese Society of Toxicology