Distribution of Dioxins, Furans, and Coplanar PCBs in Different Fat Matrices in Cattle
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently collaborated on a statistically-based, national survey of dioxin-like compounds, including dioxins, furans, and coplanar PCBs, in the back fat from slaughtered cattle. Back fat was selected because it was a matrix that could easily be sampled by the veterinarians at the slaughter establishments. Also, since it was a matrix that was very high in fat content (in the range of 60-90% lipid), the ability to measure the dioxin-like compounds with a given sample volume was maximized. A principal use of the results of the national beef survey is to evaluate the exposure of individuals in the United States to these compounds through consumption of beef. In order to use the data for this purpose, an assumption needs to be made regarding the relationship between lipid concentrations of these compounds in back fat compared to the concentrations in meat products. However, data on the concentrations of these compounds in different cattle fat reservoirs to derive the proper assumption are sparse. There is some information on compounds with similar properties (lipophilic, persistent), including residues of HCB, PBB, and DDT, and these data do suggest that their lipid-based concentrations in various fat reservoirs in cattle are similar. In order to evaluate whether the same can be said of the dioxin-like compounds, the EPA and USDA collaborated on a second effort to measure these compounds in various cattle fat reservoirs. This abstract provides an overview of this effort.