Persistent Pollutants

Dioxins and Furans

Dioxins and Furans are a group of compounds (called congeners) that share similar chemical and physical properties. They are the by-products of various chemical processes such as:

  • Smelting
  • Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) production
  • Bleaching processes for pulp and paper
  • Industrial burning and medical incinerators
  • Synthesis of chlorinated compounds


PCBs bind to particular matter in the atmosphere and get deposited over great distances. Planar and co-planar PCBs lay flat and thus are extremely persistent. They are formed through several more processes than Dioxins and Furans. Some of these include:

  • Transformer oils
  • Almost all incineration processes
  • Dye manufacturing
  • Forest fires
  • Leaching from municipal waste
  • Plastic/Rubber production

PCBs have been known to cause a variety of adverse health effects such as cancer in animals, suppression of the immune system, adverse reproductive effects and endocrine disrupting effects. The 209 congeners are named using an International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) convention - depending on the placement of chlorines on the bi-phenyl. These names are known as the BZ number.

All 209 congeners are considered toxic to some degree and are banned from use. There are 12 congeners in particular that the World Health Organization (WHO) has deemed to be the most toxic and these congeners have been aptly referred to as the WHO-12. AGAT Laboratories offers CALA accredited HRMS services for the analysis of these WHO-12 PCBs.


PAHs are a group of compounds that contain two or more benzene rings fused together in different confirmations. There are over 100 of these compounds, however 17 are more toxic than the rest. They are formed from various sources including:

  • Incomplete combustion of wood products.
  • Combustion of fossil fuels.
  • Industrial processes involving incineration.
  • Forest fires (largest natural producer).
  • Health effects from PAHs include cancer, adverse reproductive effects, lung damage and kidney damage.

AGAT Laboratories offers CALA accredited HRMS analysis on a suite of PAHs which includes:

  • Naphthalene
  • Acenaphthylene
  • Acenaphthene
  • Fluorene
  • Anthracene
  • Fluoroanthene
  • Pyrene
  • Benzo[a] Anthracene
  • Chrysene
  • Benzo[b] Fluoranthene
  • Benzo[k] Fluoranthene
  • Benzo[a] Pyrene
  • Indeno[1,2,3, c-d] Pyrene
  • Benzo[g,h,i]
  • Perylene
  • Dibenzo[a,h]
  • Anthracene

2,3,7,8 TCDD

This has been tagged as the most toxic chemical ever identified. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), it is a known human carcinogen and can cause a host of medical problems. 

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