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Human Exposure from Dioxins in Soil

Dioxins are a family of chemical compounds that has received considerable attention, both historically and currently. This article reviews scientific field studies that examine the relationship between living on soil contaminated with dioxins and the level of dioxins in people?s serum, with an emphasis on the University of Michigan Dioxin Exposure Study (UMDES), the largest and most comprehensive study of its kind. These studies conclude that the levels of dioxins in serum are most strongly correlated with age, gender, body mass index, weight loss, breast feeding, and smoking. Levels of dioxins in soil are not significant predictors for dioxin concentrations in serum. The increase in serum dioxin levels that is seen with age results from historic exposure and does not represent ongoing exposure. Based on the scientific field studies conducted to date, it appears that, in the absence of the consumption of contaminated animal products, there is little evidence of ongoing exposure from contaminated soil.