Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for screening dioxin soil contamination by uncontrolled combustion during informal recycling in slums

Mirta Trindade, Malin Nording, Mikaela Nichkova, Erik Spinnel, Peter Haglund, Michael S. Last, Shirley Gee, Bruce Hammock, Jerold A Last, Gualberto González-Sapienza, Beatriz M. Brena

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Uncontrolled combustion due to garbage recycling is a widespread activity among slum dwellers in distressed economy countries and has been indicated as a major source of dioxin contamination. However, because of the high cost and complexity of gas chromatography/high-resolution mass spectrometry (GC-HRMS) analysis, the magnitude of the problem remains largely unknown. The present study describes a first approach toward the use of a dioxin antibody-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) as the basis for a sustainable, simple, and low-cost monitoring program to assess the toxicological impact of uncontrolled combustion in slums. A panel of 16 samples was analyzed by GC-HRMS and ELISA on split extracts. Close to 20% of the analyzed samples showed dioxin concentrations up to almost twice the guidance level for residential soil in several countries, pointing out the need for performing a large-scale monitoring program. Despite the potential for variations in dioxin congener distribution due to the mixed nature of the incinerated material, there was a good correlation between the toxic equivalents as determined by GC-HRMS and ELISA. Furthermore, an interlaboratory ELISA validation showed that the capacity to perform the dioxin ELISA was successfully transferred between laboratories. It was concluded that the ELISA method performed very well as a screening tool to prioritize samples for instrumental analysis, which allows cutting down costs significantly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2224-2232
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2008


  • Developing countries
  • Dioxin
  • Immunoassays
  • Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins
  • Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-furans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Environmental Chemistry


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