​This factsheet provides information on the Rhodes serum dioxin study - First Stage Report, on monitoring of dioxin level in people living in Sydney.

Last updated: 05 October 2017
NSW Health is conducting a study to monitor dioxin level in people living in Sydney over time.

Why are we studying dioxin levels?

Dioxin is formed as a by-product of some industrial processes e.g. pesticide manufacturing.

Exposure is chiefly through eating contaminated meat and dairy produce. Dioxin at very high levels is associated with a number of adverse health effects. However, no health effects have been demonstrated at the levels found in the average Australian population.

In this study, we hope to derive an estimate of the background level of dioxin among people living in Sydney to compare with a community that may be exposed to higher levels of dioxin (the “index community”).

We will repeat these measures in approximately two years time and in approximately five years time.

Who is in the study?

Participants will be over 30 years of age, and be willing to be contacted to have blood taken again in two years and in five years time.

People who have worked at the Union Carbide plant, or who work or have worked with pesticides, are not eligible for participation.

If you have been invited to participate in the study, it is because your age and gender match one of the participants from the index community.

What do participants need to do?

If you agree to participate, the phlebotomist taking your blood will simply take an extra 5ml on top of your blood donation.

We will then combine the extra 5ml blood sample from you with samples collected from other participants and test for the dioxin level in this pooled blood sample.

We also need to get contact details from you so that we can take another sample of your blood in two years and five years time. This sample will also be taken at a regular blood donation.

If you agree to participate in the study, we need your written consent before collecting the blood sample. You only need to sign the consent form and complete a short questionnaire.

Your consent to allow us to collect and analyse your blood sample is voluntary, and you are able to withdraw your consent at any time. You will not be asked why you want to withdraw.

What about confidentiality?

All information about you will be kept confidential. No details identifying you or your blood result will be released as a result of participating in this study. We are happy to provide you a copy of the written report of the whole study but individual blood results will not be available as the blood samples are combined before they are sent for analysis.

For more information

If you have any questions regarding the study, please call the Environmental Health Branch on (02) 9816 0234.

Any person with concerns or complaints about the conduct of the research study can contact the Secretary, Human Research Ethics Committee, ARCBS, on (03) 9412 1900.

Contact page owner: Environmental Health