Heidelberg dioxin study

Project No. BG09 #001


completed 10/1996


High concentrations of dioxin and furane were discovered on the premises of a metal works after its closure in 1986. Consequences for the health of employees exposed to these substances were feared. Goal: determining the state of health and analysing health complaints of former employees.


Cross-sectional study: investigative programme to determine, document and evaluate the state of health of former employees: lung function, also additional neurological and dermatological examinations from case to case; if necessary instigation of occupational illness proceedings.


Out of a total of 675 former employees 261 were examined, of whom 71 were found to have traces of PCDF (furane) and PCDD (dioxin) in the blood fat. The dioxin levels were not significantly higher than those in the general population; illnesses typical of exposure to high levels of dioxin could not be established. Work place related illnesses (in twelve cases occupational illness reports were issued) affected above all liver and fat metabolism; age and smoking were significantly more influential than dioxin/furane.

Last Update:

15 Aug 2000


Financed by:
  • Edel- und Unedelmetall-Berufsgenossenschaft
Research institution(s):
  • Institut und Poliklinik für Arbeits- und Sozialmedizin
  • Heidelberg

metal production

Type of hazard:

Gefahrstoffe, Arbeitsbedingte Erkrankungen


Gesundheitliche Beeinträchtigungen und Störungen, Beschäftigte(r), Exposition

Description, key words:

Follow-up examination of 261 persons previously exposed to dioxin, no excessive fat values in the blood, no damage to health typical of dioxin