Introduction. Taranto Province (Puglia Region, Southern Italy) is of particular Public
Health relevance due to the presence of industrial sources of dioxins and PCBs. The aim
of this study was to analyze the spatio-temporal distribution of these pollutants in milk
and cheese produced from 2013 to 2018.
Materials and methods. Raw milk and dairy products were sampled in the farms located
within 20 km from the industrial area.
Results. 1005 milk samples were collected. Median (IQR) concentrations were: dioxins
0.21 (0.21) pg WHO-TEQ/g fat; dioxins+DL-PCBs 0.83 (0.71) pg WHO-TEQ/g fat;
NDL-PCBs 1.92 (1.56) ng/g fat. Overall, only 6 (0.6%) samples were found to be noncompliant
for at least one pollutants group. Temporal analysis showed a decreasing trend
in dioxins and PCBs concentrations over the observed years and higher values in the first
trimester. Spatial analysis showed higher levels of PCBs in areas closest to the industrial
pole. 70 dairy products samples were collected. Median pollutants concentrations were
far below the EU limits and no exceedances were observed.
Conclusions. The extremely low number of exceedances appeared as an encouraging
result and supported the validity of the Public Health measures adopted by the Department
of Prevention of Taranto.