Full ab initio optimizations were performed on the molecular structures of 24 fluorinated and chlorinated dibenzodioxines (PFDD/PCDD ) and dibenzofurans (PFDF/PCDF). Reasonable agreement was found by comparing the geometries of four calculated structures with known X-ray data from the literature. For the fluorine substituent, calculated electron densities (Mulliken total charges and π-electron charges) clearly demonstrate the opposite influence of the inductive (I) and mesomeric (M) effect. The changes in π-densities at carbons in ortho-, meta- and para-position are constant for each fluorine substituent (independent of degree, pattern, and position of substitution). It is thus possible to calculate the π-densities of the substituted dioxines by increments starting from dibenzodioxine. π-Charges from quantum mechanical calculations and the increment system show good agreement even for OctaFDD (O 8 FDD ), where eight substituent effects are acting additively. Compared with fluorine, the chlorine substituent exercises a smaller -I-effect and a clearly weaker +M-effect. The HOMO coefficients of the unsubstituted dibenzodioxine and dibenzofuran, extracted from ab initio calculations, yield a good explanation for the observed regioselective metabolic attack at the 2,3,7,8-positions. The squares of the HOMO-coefficients of the 2,3,7,8-positions in dibenzodioxine (DD ) are about ten times greater than those of the 1,4,6,9-positions. These HOMO coefficients are practically unaffected by halide substitution. But halogen substitution reduces strongly the electron density at the halogen-bound carbon, which, however, is a necessary prerequisite for the electrophilic oxygen transfer during metabolism. One would therefore expect halogen substitution of dibenzodioxine and dibenzofuran (DF) at the 2,3,7,8-position to hinder metabolism, as is indeed found. This provides a plausible explanation for the highly selective tissue retention of 2,3,7,8-substituted PCDDs and PCDFs. Our ab initio calculations of five tetra CDDs (T 4 CDDs) confirm the postulate of Kobayashi et al. [1 ] who, using semiempirical calculations, found a correlation between the toxicity of a dioxine congener and its absolute molecular hardness. The 2,3,7,8-T 4 CDD also exhibits the smallest absolute hardness (derived from the HOMO-LUMO energy gap) in our calculations.