Serum Dioxin Levels in a Subset of Participants of the East Palestine, Ohio Train Derailment Health Tracking Study

Erin N. Haynes, Brenda Eskenazi, Timothy J. Hilbert, Candace Brancato, Nina Holland, Christine Kim, Antonia M. Calafat, Richard Jones, Mark Davis, Linda S. Birnbaum, Andreas Sjodin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A February 3, 2023 train derailment and subsequent burn released hazardous chemicals into East Palestine, Ohio. One potential exposure was polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins, dibenzofurans, and coplanar polychlorinated biphenyls (cPCBs), collectively referred to as dioxins. Many studies have linked dioxins to numerous health effects. A pilot study was conducted July 17-18, 2023 to assess residents’ serum dioxin levels. Eighteen persons who were White, nonsmokers with a mean age of 55, and 56% female, provided serum for analysis. Measurement of 20 dioxins, furans, and cPCBs congeners was conducted using gas chromatography, isotope dilution, and high-resolution mass spectrometry. A toxic equivalency (TEQ) value for each participant was calculated by multiplying the reported concentration of each congener by its toxic equivalency factor and summing the results. TEQs were compared to 2011-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data by race/ethnicity, sex, and age group. All participants had serum TEQ values either below or within the range of NHANES values. Mean TEQ values were lower in younger age groups; we observed no sex-specific differences. These pilot data demonstrate that although dioxins may have formed during the derailment, exposures to participants did not increase their TEQ values compared with 2011-2012 NHANES.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology Letters
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 American Chemical Society.


  • community-engaged research
  • disaster response research
  • exposure
  • report-back
  • rural

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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