chemical information


Chemical Class:

Chlorinated furan

Chemical SubClass

Pentachlorinated furan

Manufacturing/Use Status

there are no restrictions on the production/use in the U.S.

Found in these people:

Baby #5, Anonymous Adult 1, Kathy Fowler, U.S. Representative Louise Slaughter, Cord Blood Sample 18

Found in these locations:

Rockville, MD; Upstate New York, NY


Laboratory animals. CDFs cause toxicity to many organ systems including the liver, kidney, adrenal, gastrointestinal tract, urinary tract, reproductive tract and neurological system. Specific reproductive effect includes testicular toxicity, decreased testicular testosterone levels and inhibition of ovulation. Neurological effects include decreased activity and tremors at high doses. CDFs also cause anemia, altered lipid metabolism, reduced muscle mass ("wasting syndrome") and altered immunological effect. One of the most visible effects of CDF exposure are skin and nail abnormalities, including nail loss, nail hemorrhage, skin lesions, absent or atrophied sebaceous glands, loss of eyelashes and fingernails. Fetal exposure to CDFs cause placental lesions, kidney toxicity, fetal mortality, low birth weight, cleft palate, decreased thymus and lung weight, altered bone development and liver enzyme activity (ATSDR 1994b).

Humans. Most of what we know about CDF toxicity in humans comes from the poisoning of rice oil with PCBs in Japan (Yusho) in 1968 and Taiwan (Yu-Cheng) in 1978. The CDFs were produced when the PCB contaminated rice oil was heated before contamination and during cooking. The "Yusho and Yu-Cheng" patients developed a variety of symptoms, including: headaches; vomiting; diarrhea; anemia; skin anomalies (such as acne and increased pigmentation and inflammation); numbness; weakness; limb pain associated with nerve damage; decreased sensitivity to pain; decreased sensory nerve conduction velocity; irregular menstrual cycles; increased incidence of respiratory infections; decreased resistance to illness; increased triglyceride levels; liver toxicity and eye inflammation or discharge. Developmental effects include low birth weight, premature birth, hyperpigmentation of the skin and nails, deformed nails, eye inflammation, acne, pneumonia and bronchitis in newborns, delayed development and decreased IQ (ATSDR 1994b). A relatively recent study suggests that prenatal exposure to the toxic rice oil is associated with increased abnormal sperm morphology and reduced sperm motility (Guo, et al. 2000), although effects on fertility resulting from prenatal exposure is still unknown.

1,2,3,7,8-PeCDF (pentafuran)

In chlorinated furan family of chemicals - pollutants from PVC production, industrial bleaching, incineration; cause cancer, may harm hormone system.

1,2,3,7,8-PeCDF (pentafuran) has been found in 7 of the 34 people tested in EWG/Commonweal studies. It has also been found in 15 of the 4,821 people tested in CDC biomonitoring studies.

Top health concerns for 1,2,3,7,8-PeCDF (pentafuran) (References)

health concern or target organ weight of evidence
Immune system (including sensitization and allergies)limited
Birth defects and developmental delaysunknown

Results for 1,2,3,7,8-PeCDF (pentafuran)

in blood serum (lipid weight)

Showing results from EWG/Commonweal Study #1, industrial chemicals and pesticides in adults, Pollution in Minority Newborns, EWG/Commonweal Study #4, industrial chemicals and pesticides in cord blood, San Francisco Reporter, EWG Study #3, industrial chemicals and pesticides in adults

EWG/Commonweal results

  • geometric mean: 0.215 pg/g (lipid weight) in blood serum
  • found in 7 of 34 people in the group

CDC biomonitoring results

  • geometric mean: 1.87 pg/g (lipid weight) in blood serum
  • found in 15 of 4821 people in the group
pg/g (lipid weight) in blood serum 15.8

1,2,3,7,8-PeCDF (pentafuran) results

Detailed toxicity classifications (References)

classification governing entity/references
Limited evidence in humans - immune system toxicityATSDR (1998). Toxicological profile for chlorinated dibenzo-o-dioxins (CDDs): Health effects chapter.
Birth defects - weight of evidence unknown/unassessedATSDR (1998). Toxicological profile for chlorinated dibenzo-o-dioxins (CDDs): Health effects chapter.