Destruction and formation of dioxin-like PCBs in full scale waste incinerators is studied by analysing input waste streams and boiler and fly ash of a grate furnace incinerator (GFI) incinerating MSW, of a Fluidised Bed Combustor (FBC) incinerating a mix of 50% sludge, 25% refuse derived fuel (RDF) and 25% automotive shredder residue (ASR) and of a rotary kiln incinerator (RKI) incinerating hazardous waste. The dioxin-like PCB fingerprints of the waste inputs show that PCB oils Aroclor 1242 and Aroclor 1254 late are the major dioxin-like PCB contamination source of sludge, RDF and ASR. The dioxin-like PCB fingerprints of the waste inputs are clearly different from the fingerprints of the outputs i.e. boiler and fly ash, indicating that in full scale waste incinerators dioxin-like PCBs in the input waste are destroyed and other dioxin-like PCBs are newly formed in the post combustion zone. The dioxin-like PCB fingerprint of boiler and fly ash of all three incinerators corresponds well to the fly ash fingerprint obtained in lab scale de novo synthesis experiments, indicating that dioxin-like PCBs are mainly formed through this mechanism. The high PCB concentration in the input waste mix of the RKI does not promote the formation of dioxin-like PCBs through precursor condensation.