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Biomonitoring research Pilsen, Czech Rep. 2021

The complexity of the chemical content of today’s household and industrial waste presents a challenge for turning modern waste into energy in (WtE) waste incinerators. The dynamics of combustion processes and the inevitable emissions of toxic substances of very high concern (SVHC) into the environment is the main topic of ongoing research worldwide.

Backyard chicken eggs are used for biomonitoring levels of contamination by POPs in various studies. Eggs are sensitive indicators of POP contamination in soil and dust and are a significant exposure pathway from soil pollution to humans. Eggs from contaminated areas can readily lead to exposures that exceed thresholds for the protection of human health. Chickens and their eggs might, therefore, be ideal “active samplers”: an indicator species for the evaluation of contamination levels of sampled areas by POPs, particularly by dioxins (PCDD/Fs) and dioxin-like-PCBs (dl-PCBs).

When chickens are free to forage on natural uncovered soil in the open air without roofing, they are in optimal contact with the environment. Eggs can reflect the chemical situation of soil biota related to the atmospheric deposition of hazardous chemical particles from industrial emissions, such as car shredding, metallurgy, coal-fired power plants, foundries, the PVC industry, cement kilns, the paper industry, and waste incineration. Chickens forage on and in the soil, eating insects, invertebrates, vegetation even grass. As a result, persistent organic pollutants like dioxins can be found in the fatty egg yolk and act as a biomarker for the environment.

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