ABSTRACT

The aim of the present study was to evaluate the contamination levels of some classes of persistent organic pollutants in free-range hen eggs and to estimate the related human dietary exposure in a site of national interest, characterized by a serious state of environmental pollution in the Bussi sul Tirino area in central Italy. For these purposes, 17 samples of free-range hen eggs collected in home-producing farms located in the site of national interest territory were analyzed for 17 polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs), 12 dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (dl-PCBs), and 6 non–dioxin-like PCBs (ndl-PCBs). Dietary exposure was assessed assuming a standard consumption of eggs per week. The concentration of ∑PCDD/Fs plus dl-PCBs ranged from 0.463 to 8.028 pg toxic equivalent g−1 fat, whereas the mean contamination level of the ∑ndl-PCBs ranged from 0.234 to 7.741 ng toxic equivalent g−1 fat. PCDD/Fs and PCBs contamination levels were lower than maximum values established by the Commission Regulation (European Union) 1259/2011, except for one sample. The estimated weekly intake, calculated to evaluate the contribution in terms of the monitored pollutants of the locally produced eggs to the diet, was lower than the tolerable weekly intake established by the European Food Safety Authority.

HIGHLIGHTS
  • Hen eggs from a very polluted site in Italy were analyzed for their content of POPs.

  • PCDD/Fs and dl/ndl-PCBs were determined by DFS gas chromatography–high-resolution mass spectrometry.

  • Levels of contaminants were below the maximum levels established by the EU regulations.

  • EWIs for PCDD/Fs and dl-PCBs were compliant with TWI established by the EU.

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