Determination of Dioxins and Polychlorinated Biphenyls Levels in Milk Samples from Capital and North of Iran

Document Type : Case Report


Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran.


High levels of dioxins and dioxin-like compounds in the food and their adverse effects on human health are of increasing concern. Since milk is one of the most essential human nutritional resources, the present study aims at determining dioxins and PCBs in raw milk samples from four farms in North of Iran and raw and pasteurized samples from three farms and five dairy factories in Vicinity of Tehran (capital of Iran). Total toxic equivalence (TEQ) of dioxin and PCBs have been determined, using the DR-CALUX® bioassay. Results reveal that all samples are contaminated with dioxins and PCBs, comparatively. The total dioxins and PCBs levels in raw milk samples from the north range from 4.08 to 0.97 pg/gfat and for the raw samples and pasteurized samples from Tehran Province from 1.89 to 0.63 pg/gfat and 0.1 to 0.03 pg/gfat, respectively. The mean concentration of dioxins/PCBs is higher in samples from the north of Iran. This may be because of the common method of removing domestic and agricultural disposal in this area.


Ahmadkhaniha, R., Nabizadeh, N. R., Rastkari, N. and Mohammadi, A. H. (2017). Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) residues in commercial pasteurized cows’ milk in Tehran, Iran. J. Environ. Health Sci. Eng., 15(1), 1–6.
Arkenbout, A. and Esbensen, K. H. (2017). Sampling, monitoring and source tracking of dioxins in the environment of an incinerator in the Netherlands. (paper presented at Proceedings Eighth World Conference On Sampling and Blending/Perth, 117–124)
Azari, M. R., Falaki, F. and Masoudinezhad, M. R. (2007). Assessment of dioxin-like compounds released from Iranian industries and municipalities. Tanaffos., 6(3), 59–64.
Beiranvand, S., Zarea, K., Ghanbari, S., Tuvesson, H. and Keikhaeif, B. (2018). Ten years incidence of cancer in Iran; a systematic review and meta-analysis. Clin. Epidemiol. Glob. Health, 6(2), 94–102.
Budin, C. R., Petrlik, J., Strakova, J., Hamm, S., Beeler, B., Behnisch, P., Besselink, H., Van der Burg, B. and Brouwer, A. (2020). Detection of high PBDD/Fs levels and dioxin-like activity in toys using a combination of GC-HRMS, rat-based and human-based DR CALUX® reporter gene assays. Chemosphere, 251, 126579.
Cavallo, S., Lambiase, S., Paolo. S. F., Pellicanò, R., Di Stasio, A., Maglio, P., Gallo, A., Pizzolante, A., Mandato, D., Rosato, G., Baldi, L., Cerino, P., Gallo, P., Esposito, M. and Brambilla, G. (2021). Dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs in buffalo milk from the Campania region (Italy): Decreasing trend and baseline assessment over 10 years (2008–2018). Sci. Total Environ., 794, 148504.
Cole, Ph., Trichopoulos, D., Pastides, H., Starr, T. and SMandel, J. (2003). Dioxin and cancer: a critical review. Regul. Toxicol. Pharmacol., 38(3), 378–388.
Durand, B., Dufour, B., Fraisse, D., Defour, S., Duhem, K., and Le-Barillec, K. (2008). Levels of PCDDs, PCDFs and dioxin-like PCBs in raw cow’s milk collected in France in 2006. Chemosphere, 70(4), 689–693.
Ebadi, A. G. and Hisoriev, H. (2017). Metal pollution status of Tajan River–Northern Iran. Toxicol. Environ. Chem., 99(9–10), 1358–1367.
El-Nawawy, M., Amer, M. E. and Abdel Mootaal, M. R. (2016). Levels and congener profiles of dioxins, furans and dioxin-like pcbs in certain egyptian cow’s milk farms. J. environ. sci., 35(2), 155–177.
European Commission (EC), 2001. (2001) Communication from the commission to the couancil, the European parliament and the economic and social committe community strategy for dioxins, furans and polychlorinated biphenyls. Retrieved January 8, 2021, From
Faraji, H., Mohammadi, A. A., Akbari-Adergani, B., Vakili Saatloo, N., Lashkarboloki, G.R., and Mahvi1, A. H. (2014). Correlation between fluoride in drinking water and its levels in breast milk in Golestan province, Northern Iran. Iran. J. Public Health, 43(12), 1664–1668.
Fernandes, A. R. and Falandysz, J. (2021). Polybrominated dibenzo-p-dioxins and furans (PBDD/Fs): contamination in food, humans and dietary exposure. Sci. Total Environ., 761, 143191.
Ghanbari, F., Monavari, S. M., Kiani Sadr, M., Rahimi, R. and Mirbolooki, H. (2020). Pesticide in Soil and Rice Crop from North of Iran: Concentration and Risk Assessment. Adv. J. Chem. A, 3(2), 211–220.
Hajjar, M. J. (2012). The persisted organic pesticides pollutant (POPs) in the Middle East Arab countries. Int. J. Agron. Plant Prod, 3(1), 1.
Joung, K. E., Chung, Y. H. and Sheen, Y. Y. (2007). DRE-CALUX bioassay in comparison with HRGC/MS for measurement of toxic equivalence in environmental samples. Sci. Total Environ., 372(2–3), 657–667.
Kanan, S. and Samara, F. (2018). Dioxins and furans: A review from chemical and environmental perspectives. Trends Environ. Anal. Chem., 17, 1–13.
Kumari, K., Kumar, S., Rajagopal, V., Khare, A. And Kumar, R. (2019). Emission from open burning of municipal solid waste in India. Environ. Technol., 40(17), 2201–2214.
Malisch, R., Bruns-Weller, E., Knoll, A., Fürst, P., Mayer, R. and Wiesmüller, T. (2000). Results of an “emergency quality control study” as confirmation of a PCDD/PCDF-contamination of milk and butter samples. Chemosphere, 40(9–11), 1033–1040.
Malisch, R. (2017). Incidents with dioxins and PCBs in food and feed-investigative work, risk management and economic consequences. J. Environ. Prot., 8(06), 744.
Momeniha, F., Nabizadeh, R., Hassanvand, M.S. Mahvi, A.H., Naddafi, K., Mesdaghinia, A. and Nasseri, S. (2011). Emissions of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/PCDFs) in Iran. Bull. Environ. Contam. Toxicol., 87(6), 708–712.
De Mul, A., Bakker, M. I., Zeilmaker, M. J., Traag, W. A., Leeuwen, S.P.J., Hoogenboom, R., Boon, P. E. and van Klaveren, J. (2008). Dietary exposure to dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs in The Netherlands anno 2004. Regul. Toxicol. Pharmacol., 51(3), 278–287.
Murk, A. J., Leonards, P. E. G., Bulder, A. S., Jonas, A.S., Rozemeijer, M. J. C., Denison, M. S., Koeman, J. H. and Brouwer, A. (1997). The calux (chemical‐activated luciferase expression) assay adapted and validated for measuring TCDD equivalents in blood plasma. Environ. Toxicol. Chem., 16(8), 1583–1589.
Rezaei, M. , Nazari Khorasgani, Z. , Nakisa, A. , Imani, N., Rezaee, S., Khodayar, M. J., and Kalantari, H. (2015). Determination of Polychlorinated Dibenzo Dioxin Levels in Fresh Milk from the Dairy Factories of Southwest Iran. J. Environ. Anal. Toxicol., 5(301), 525–2161.
Salian, K., Strezov, V., Evans, T. J., Taylor, M., and Nelson, P. F. (2019). Application of national pollutant inventories for monitoring trends on dioxin emissions from stationary industrial sources in Australia, Canada and European Union. Plos one, 14(10), 1–13.
Sany, S. B. T., arimani, L., Soltanian. K. F., Hashim, R., Rezayi, M., Karlen, J. D., and Mahmud, E. (2016). An overview of detection techniques for monitoring dioxin-like compounds: latest technique trends and their applications. RSC Adv., 6(60), 55415–55429.
Scippo, M. L., Eppe, G., De Pauw, E., and Maghuin-Rogister, G. (2004). DR-CALUX® screening of food samples: evaluation of the quantitative approach to measure dioxin, furans and dioxin-like PCBs. Talanta, 63(5), 1193–1202.
Srogi, K. (2008). Levels and congener distributions of PCDDs, PCDFs and dioxin-like PCBs in environmental and human samples: a review. Environ. Chem. Lett., 6(1), 1–28.
Tuomisto, J. (2019). Dioxins and dioxin-like compounds: toxicity in humans and animals, sources, and behaviour in the environment. Wiki J. Med., 6(1), 1–26.
van Vugt-Lussenburg, B., Besselink, H. T., van der Burg, B. and Brouwer, A. (2013). Dr‐Calux®: A High‐Throughput Screening Assay for the Detection of Dioxin and Dioxin‐Like Compounds in Food and Feed. in: Steinberg, P. (Ed), High‐Throughput Screening Methods in Toxicity Testing. John Wiley and Sons Inc, New Jersey, 533–546.
Weber, R., Herold, C. and Hollert, H. (2018). Reviewing the relevance of dioxin and PCB sources for food from animal origin and the need for their inventory, control and management. Environ. Sci. Eur., 30(1), 1–42.
Zhang, Q., Huang, J. and Yu, G. (2008). Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans emissions from open burning of crop residues in China between 1997 and 2004. Environ. Pollut., 151(1), 39–46.