Contamination of chicken eggs near the dump site on the edge of Peshawar, Pakistan by dioxins, PCBs and hexachlorobenzene

Contamination of chicken eggs near the dump site on the edge of Peshawar, Pakistan by dioxins, PCBs and hexachlorobenzene

Publication details

  • Tuesday | 31 May, 2011
  • Mahmood A. Khwaja
  • Research Reports,Project Publications
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Free-range chicken eggs collected near the dump site in the neighborhood of Peshawar reached levels of dioxins close to the EU limit and exceeded the newly proposed EU action level for these highly toxic compounds. Dioxin levels in chicken eggs from Peshawar was almost 3-times higher than the background levels of these compounds in chicken eggs. In addition, high levels of DDT found in the samples is more than four and a half times higher than the EU limit for the sum of DDT in eggs. To our knowledge, this study represents the first data about U-POPs in any food item from Pakistan. Bad practices in the disposal of mixed wastes, including ashes from waste incineration and open wastes burning that occurs occasionally at the dump site (near the sampling site) were found to be a most obvious sources of contamination in eggs from Pakistan. This conclusion is based on comparison of dioxin congeners patterns and other considerations.
The toxic substances measured in this study are targeted for reduction and elimination by the Stockholm Convention which holds its first Conference of the Parties beginning 2 May 2005. Pakistan signed the Convention on the 6th December 2001 and intends to ratify it. The Convention mandates Parties to take specific actions aimed at eliminating these pollutants from the global environment. We view the Convention text as a promise to take the actions needed to protect Pakistani and global publics health and environment from the injuries that are caused by persistent organic pollutants, a promise that was agreed by representatives of the global community: governments, interested stakeholders, and representatives of civil society. We call upon Pakistani governmental representatives and all stakeholders to honor the integrity of the Convention text and keep the promise of reduction and elimination of POPs.