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Extensive literature search, selection for relevance and data extraction of studies related to the toxicity of PCDD/Fs and DL‐PCBs in humans

on the Wiley Online Library


The present document has been produced and adopted by the bodies identified above as author(s). This task has been carried out exclusively by the author(s) in the context of a contract between the European Food Safety Authority and the author(s), awarded following a tender procedure. The present document is published complying with the transparency principle to which the Authority is subject. It may not be considered as an output adopted by the Authority. The European Food Safety Authority reserves its rights, view and position as regards the issues addressed and the conclusions reached in the present document, without prejudice to the rights of the authors.


To enable the hazard identification and characterisation in the risk assessment for humans related to the seventeen 2,3,7,8‐substituted dioxins (PCCDs) and furans (PCDFs) and the twelve dioxin‐like polychlorinated biphenyls (DL‐PCBs), EFSA outsourced an extensive literature search (ELS), followed by selection for relevance and extraction of relevant data for consideration in the risk assessment. Two tailored search strategies for Web of Science (WoS) and PubMed for identifying relevant human studies were developed in discussion with EFSA and used to carry out two ELSs. The outcome of the ELSs were exported into EndNote files, with a total of 4,549 studies identified in WoS and a total of 3,677 studies identified in PubMed. The EndNote files were combined and duplicates were removed, which left 6,699 studies in total. The combined EndNote file was imported into DistillerSR®, the duplication detection tool in DistillerSR® was used and additional 598 duplicates were identified and moved to quarantine in DistillerSR®. Level 1 and Level 2 relevance templates were created in DistillerSR® using the eligibility criteria (inclusion/exclusion criteria) provided by EFSA in the Technical Specifications and these were discussed with EFSA. Following the discussions and a relevance pilot test the remaining 6,101 studies were checked for relevance. When the selection for relevance had been complete, 257 studies proceeded to Level 3 data extraction. The data extraction templates were created in DistillerSR® using the criteria provided by EFSA. Following discussions with EFSA and a data extraction pilot test, the project team performed the data extraction on these studies with the relevant information added to the data extraction forms in DistillerSR