Background: The goal of the present study was to quantify the population-based background serum concentrations of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) by using data from the reference population of the 2005 University of Michigan Dioxin Exposure Study (UMDES) and the 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).
Methods: Multiple imputation was used to impute the serum TCDD concentrations below the limit of detection by combining the 2 data sources. The background mean, quartiles, and 95th percentile serum TCDD concentrations were estimated by age and sex by using linear and quantile regressions for complex survey data.
Results: Any age- and sex-specific mean, quartiles, and 95th percentiles of background serum TCDD concentrations of study participants between ages 18 and 85 years can be estimated from the regressions for the UMDES reference population and the NHANES non-Hispanic white population. For example, for a 50-year-old man in the reference population of UMDES, the mean, quartiles, and 95th percentile serum TCDD concentrations are estimated to be 1.1, 0.6, 1.1, 1.8, and 3.3 parts per trillion, respectively. The study also shows that the UMDES reference population is a valid reference population for serum TCDD concentrations for other predominantly white populations in Michigan.
Conclusion: The serum TCDD concentrations increased with age and increased more over age in women than in men, and hence estimation of background concentrations must be adjusted for age and sex. The methods and results discussed in this article have wide application in studies of the concentrations of chemicals in human serum and in environmental samples.