Mixed dioxins in food ‘not a health concern’, but add to exposure

Mixed dioxins containing chlorine and bromine have been measured in food for the first time, with the highest levels found in fish, eggs and liver. The government’s advisers say they are not a health concern, but other experts are less certain.

Levels of mixed-halogenated dioxins in food are not a health concern, according to the government’s expert Committee on Toxicity (COT). Other experts believe more information is needed.

The COT was asked to assess the results of a Food Standards Agency (FSA) study that measured for the first time mixed-­halogenated dioxins, which contain chlorine and bromine, in food.

The term ‘dioxins’ refers to polychlor­inated dibenzodioxins and polychlorinated dibenzofurans. They are a family of persistent org­an­ochlorine contaminants produced as a by-product of combustion and chemical pro­c­esses. They have potent adverse health ef­fects and most human exposure comes through food.

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