A sensitivity analysis using alternative toxic equivalency factors to estimate U.S. dietary exposures to dioxin-like compounds

Shahid Parvez, Amanda M. Evans, Matthew Lorber, Belinda S. Hawkins, Jeffery C. Swartout, Linda K. Teuschler, Glenn E. Rice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations


EPA recommends sensitivity analyses when applying the toxic equivalency factor (TEF) method to evaluate exposures to dioxin-like compounds (DLCs). Applying the World Health Organization's (WHO) 2005 TEF values and estimating average U.S. daily dietary intakes of 25 DLCs from eight food categories, we estimate a toxic equivalency (TEQ) intake of 23. pg/day. Among DLCs, PCB 126 (26%) and 1,2,3,7,8-PeCDD (23%) dominate TEQ intakes. Among food categories, milk (14%), other dairy (28%), beef (25%), and seafood (18%) most influenced TEQ intakes. We develop two approaches to estimate alternative TEF values. Based on WHO's assumption regarding TEF uncertainty, Approach1 estimates upper and lower TEFs for each DLC by multiplying and dividing, respectively, its individual TEF by. ±. half a log. Based on compiled empirical ranges of relative potency estimates, Approach2 uses percentile values for individual TEFs. Total TEQ intake estimates using the lower and upper TEFs based on Approach1 were 8 and 68. pg TEQ/day, respectively. The 25th and 75th percentile TEFs from Approach2 yielded 12 and 28. pg TEQ/day, respectively. The influential DLCs and food categories remained consistent across alternative TEFs, except at the 90th percentile using Approach2. We highlight the need for developing underlying TEF probability distributions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)278-284
Number of pages7
JournalRegulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 1 2013



  • 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD)
  • Dietary intake
  • Dioxin-like compounds (DLCs)
  • Dose addition
  • Relative estimates of potency (REP)
  • Sensitivity analysis
  • Toxic equivalency (TEQ)
  • Toxic equivalency factor (TEF)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology

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