Dioxin, PCB, Furan

Persistent organic pollutants, or POPs, are chemicals very resistant to decomposition (some remain in the soil for up to twenty years before they are reduced by half) and have some toxic properties.
Due to their characteristics of persistence and toxicity they are very harmful to human health (they are classified as poisons, others as carcinogens) and the environment. They accumulate in living organisms, they are present in the atmosphere, air and water and their transmission is also due to migratory species. Their danger lies in their growing concentration in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

Pollutants Typologies

Twelve priority POPs are:

  • Aldrin
  • Chlordane
  • Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT)
  • Dieldrin
  • Endrin
  • Heptachlor
  • Mirex
  • Toxaphen
  • Polychlorobiphenyls (PCB)
  • Hexachlorobenzene
  • Dioxins
  • Furan

The Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants, agreed at a conference held in Stockolm from 22nd to 23rd May 2001, aims at their elimination and reduction in usage.
In May 2009, the following nine commercial products listed below have been added to Stockholm Convention:

  • Perfluoroctane sulfonate (PFOS)
  • Pentabromodiphenyl ether (PBDE)
  • Octabromodiphenyl ether (OBDE)
  • Chlordecone
  • Hexabromobiphenyl
  • Lindane
  • Alpha-hexachlorocyclohexane
  • Beta-hexachlorocyclohexane
  • Pentachlorobenzene


Phthalates are a family of chemical compounds used in the plastics industry as plasticisers, that is as substances added to polymers in order to improve its flexibility and moldability that we can see in everyday objects, such as food packaging, toys, medical appliances, pipes, cables, wallpaper, baby products. PVC is the main plastic material (in terms of production volumes) were they are used.


Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) include a wide range (about 500) of chemical substances with two or more condensed benzene rings. Because of their lower volatility they are not considered as VOCs, with some exceptions (naphthalene) and they are classified as semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOC). PAH consisting in three to five rings may occur in the atmosphere both as gas and as particles, while those characterized by five or more rings tend to occur mainly in solid form. They are characterized by their low degree of water solubility, high capacity to adhere to organic matter and good solubility in lipids and in many organic solvents. Several PAHs were classified by IARC (1987) as “probable” or “possible carcinogens to humans” while benzo(a)pyrene was recently (2008) re-classified in category 1 as “carcinogenic to humans”. Among those commonly found in environmental matrices, are bezo(a)pyrene, benzo(b)fluoranthene, benzo(k)fluoranthene, indeno(1,2,3-c,d)pyrene, benzo(a)anthracene, benzo(j)fluoranthene and dibenzo(a,h)anthracene.

Analytical Techniques

The laboratory’s advanced equipment allows to follow and develop highly sensitive and selective analytical techniques for the determination of organic micropollutants at ultra trace-level:

High Resolution Mass Spectrometer (HRGC/HRMS);
Triple-Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer for GC-MS/MS applications
Power-Prep clean-up system;
Rapid extractor for solids with low solvent use ( ASE200, ASE300).
Freeze dryer


Accreditation by Accredia (Italian Accreditation Body) according to UNI CEI EN ISO/IEC 17025:2005 standard.
[Accreditation number: 0026, Certificate first emission: 14/11/1991]

NEOTRON is a QS (Quality system – Germany) approved laboratory.

Legislative References

Commission Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 of 19 December 2006 setting maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 February 2005 on maximum residue levels of pesticides in or on food and feed of plant and animal origin and amending Council Directive 91/414/EECText with EEA relevance.


To request the last P-Tests results, please contact Quality Assurance.

Latest update: 09/11/2018 15:30:56