Dioxin Body Burden

Dioxins taken-in by living organisms (see Daily Dioxin Intakes) and absorbed into the body (uptake), are able to accumulate in the body, resulting in a body burden, which is the total amount of dioxin uptake present in the body at any one time.

For dioxins, the body burden is usually expressed in:

  • Mass (weight) Units I-TEQ per kilogram of body weight(pg I-TEQ/kg bw )
  • Alternatively, as dioxins accumulate in fat, the body burden can be expressed in picogram I-TEQ per gram of serum lipid, i.e. per gram of fatty substance in the blood (pg I-TEQ/g lipid).

Instead of the weight unit picogram (pg), nanogram (ng) can be used, 1000 pg being 1 ng.

In these units, I-TEQ stands for International Toxicity Equivalent (and is sometimes omitted in writing).More

Some Body Burdens at the time ofexposure:
in pg I-TEQ per kg body weight in pg I-TEQ per g serum lipid See question
* Derived by dividing the body burden in lipids by a factor of 5.
** Derived by multiplying the body burden per body weight by a factor of 5.
Adults in industrialized countries 2 000 to 6 000 10 to 30 ** 2.1.2 & 7.1.1
Moderatly exposed workers 3 000 to 13 000 15 to 650 ** 5.1
Highly exposed workers 28 000 to 400 000 140 to 2 400 ** 2.2.2 & 7.2
SEVESO incident (median values) Zone A: 90 000 * Zone B: 25 000 * Max : 10 000 000 * 2.2.1
US Air Force Ranch hands in Vietnam About 10 000 About 50 ** 4.3

See also “Estimated tissue concentrations in human populations exposed to dioxin and dioxin-like compounds" in Table 2 question 4.3.

Related publication:
Dioxins homeDioxins
Other Figures & Tables on this publication:

Table2. : Estimated tissue concentrations in human populations exposed to dioxin and dioxin-like compounds

Table 7: Estimated daily dietary intake of PCBs in the USA. a


Dioxin Body Burden

Toxic Equivalents Scheme (TEFs & TEQs)

Daily Dioxin IntakesSome average daily intakes for long term exposures to dioxins:

Mass (weight) Units