Processed ball clay samples used in the production of ceramics and samples of the ceramic products were collected and analyzed for the presence and concentration of the 2,3,7,8-Cl substituted polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and furans (PCDDs/PCDFs). The processed ball clay had average PCDD concentrations of 3.2 ng/g toxic equivalents, a congener profile, and isomer distribution consistent with those found previously in raw ball clay. The PCDF concentrations were below the average limit of detection (LOD) of 0.5 pg/g. The final fired ceramic products were found to be free of PCDDs/PCDFs at the LODs. A consideration of the conditions involved in the firing process suggests that the PCDDs, if not destroyed, may be released to the atmosphere and could represent an as yet unidentified source of dioxins to the environment. In addition, the PCDDs in clay dust generated during manufacturing operations may represent a potential occupational exposure.
Ferrario, J. AND C. Byrne. Dibenzo-P-Dioxins in the Environment from Ceramics and Pottery Produced from Ball Clay Mined in the U.S. CHEMOSPHERE. Elsevier Science Ltd, New York, NY, 46(9-10):1297-1301, (2002).