Dioxins and furans (as Teq)

DX-ITEQ, Dioxin, TCDD-ekvivalenter, Internationell beräknin


PCDD + PCDF (dioxins + furans) (as Teq)

CAS no


Chemical formula


 Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDD) and polychlorinated dibenzo furans (PCDF) are persistent chlorinated environmental poisons that are sometimes called “dioxins” for short.1 2 Generally, dioxins are characterised as colourless solids with a very low solubility in water and low vapour pressure. However, dioxins exhibit a high solubility in fats and oils.3 4 Their toxicity, fat solubility and persistence make them very harmful if emitted to the environment.5


Dioxins are not intentionally produced except for research purposes.6 Dioxins are unintentionally produced during incomplete combustion of organic material together with chlorine-containing substances.7 8 There are no application areas for dioxins, but they may form as contaminants during production of pesticides and other chlorinated organic substances.9 10

Sources and transportation pathways

Dioxins are emitted to the environment by natural and anthropogenic sources. Natural sources include incomplete combustion during forest fires and volcanic activity.11 In Sweden, the most important anthropogenic sources are unintentional formation within the waste sector, heat and electricity production, industrial production and residential wood combustion.12

The most important transportation pathway is by air. In the atmosphere dioxins are expected to bind to particles to a large extent and they are spread in the environment by wet and dry deposition. Dioxins have been detected in the Arctic, indicating long-range transport in the atmosphere.13 14

Effects on environment and health

Dioxins are not readily degradable, which means that they persist in the environment for a long time. They are stored in fatty tissue in organisms and are biomagnified through the food chain. Particularly high concentrations are detected in animals at the top of the marine food chain.15 16

Dioxins are acutely toxic to aquatic organisms.17 They are also very toxic to humans and are believed to affect the immune system, the development of the nervous system, the reproductive system, the endocrine system and to cause cancer.18 Inhalation, skin contact, or digestion may cause severe poisoning. Dioxins may also cause severe eye irritation19 and skin damage (chloracne).20

International agreements and regulations

Dioxins are regulated by the UN Stockholm Convention and the UN Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP), as well as the EU Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) and the EU Industrial Emissions Directive (2010/75/EU). The UN Protocol on PRTRs and the EU E-PRTR regulation regulate how data on dioxin emissions is made available.


1 https://www.kemi.se/prio-start/kemikalier-i-praktiken/kemikaliegrupper/dioxiner-och-dibensofuraner
2 http://www.naturvardsverket.se/Sa-mar-miljon/Manniska/Miljogifter/Organiska-miljogifter/Oavsiktligt-bildade-miljogifter/
3 https://www.env.go.jp/en/chemi/dioxins/brochure2012.pdf
4 https://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov
5 http://www.naturvardsverket.se/Sa-mar-miljon/Manniska/Miljogifter/Organiska-miljogifter/Oavsiktligt-bildade-miljogifter/
6 https://www.env.go.jp/en/chemi/dioxins/brochure2012.pdf
7 http://chm.pops.int/TheConvention/ThePOPs/The12InitialPOPs/tabid/296/Default.aspx
8 https://rib.msb.se/Portal/Template/Pages/Kemi/Substance.aspx?id=8908&q=dioxin&p=1
9 http://www.naturvardsverket.se/Sa-mar-miljon/Manniska/Miljogifter/Organiska-miljogifter/Oavsiktligt-bildade-miljogifter/
10 http://chm.pops.int/TheConvention/ThePOPs/The12InitialPOPs/tabid/296/Default.aspx
11 https://www.greenfacts.org/en/dioxins
12 http://www.naturvardsverket.se/Sa-mar-miljon/Statistik-A-O/Dioxin-utslapp-till-luft/
13 https://oaarchive.arctic-council.org/bitstream/handle/11374/2042/2017-06-13-ACAP-fact-sheet-what-are-dioxins-letter-size-ENGLISH-DIGITAL.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
14 http://chm.pops.int/TheConvention/ThePOPs/tabid/673/Default.aspx
15 http://www.naturvardsverket.se/Sa-mar-miljon/Manniska/Miljogifter/Organiska-miljogifter/Oavsiktligt-bildade-miljogifter/
16 https://www.epa.gov/dioxin/learn-about-dioxin
17 https://rib.msb.se/portal/template/pages/kemi/Substance.aspx?id=8908&q=1746-01-6+&p=1
18 http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs225/en/
19 https://echa.europa.eu/information-on-chemicals/cl-inventory-database/-/discli/notification-details/130422/1061383
20 https://rib.msb.se/portal/template/pages/kemi/Substance.aspx?id=8908&q=1746-01-6+&p=1