Dioxin’s got game. He’s been using the same cheesy pick up line since the ‘70’s. He debuted his deadly shtick as Agent Orange in Vietnam then made a splash at Love Canal! Dioxin sneaks up on you and then makes his move just as you turn away from your drink. He’s the seemingly normal guy at the bar, but beware, this gigolo is full of byproducts of the industrial process that will stay with you long after you have been exposed to them.
That’s right, Dioxin is a legacy chemical. He travels through the food chain entering the air through the burning of waste or disposal of PVC (vinyl) plastics. He seeps into the animal food supply. Then we unwitting humans get a taste of it in our dairy and meat. The saddest part about Dioxin is that once you’ve been exposed, your experience with Dioxin stays with you for a very long time. No visit to a doctor is going to fix that. With his incredible staying power, you may be at risk for carcinogenic, reproductive, developmental, immunological, and endocrine side effects.
- Download Dioxin’s resume/fact sheet: English (pdf) | Spanish (pdf)
- Learn more at the Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ)
- Also see the National Library of Medicine Tox Town: Dioxin
- Recent headlines at Environmental Health News
Class of organic compounds — most toxic form is 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin or TCDD.
- Dioxin is a prolific bad actor — every American gets a dose when consuming fatty foods, and as a result almost all Americans have measurable levels of this chemical in their bodies. Babies are exposed in the womb, and infants are exposed in breast milk.
Dioxin is the name given to a group of persistent, very toxic chemicals that are not deliberately manufactured but are byproducts of industrial processes, such as the manufacture and disposal of PVC (vinyl) plastic.
Dioxin is not intentionally manufactured. A major source of dioxin is the manufacture and disposal of PVC (vinyl) plastic in municipal waste incinerators, backyard burn barrels, medical waste incinerators, and accidental landfill, building, and vehicle fires.
- According to the WHO (World Health Organization) Dioxin is a carcinogen. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Toxicology Program agrees.
Dioxin also causes a wide range of non-cancer effects including reproductive, developmental, immunological, and endocrine effects in both animals and humans. Dioxins can cause developmental and immune effects at levels close to those currently found in the general population.
- A thorough review is showing Dioxin’s performances to be truly penetrating — EPA’s draft report on Dioxin found that the cancer risk to humans from Dioxin exposure was by far the highest defined for any chemical by any government agency anywhere in the world.
Levels of Dioxin-like compounds found in the general population may cause a lifetime cancer risk that is 1,000 times higher than EPA’s generally acceptable risk level.
Analyses by the Environmental Working Group show that consuming EPA’s proposed reference dose for Dioxin over time would result in an incremental dose of the carcinogen that would be 270 times greater than what EPA considers acceptable for the general population.
RECENT CAREER HIGHLIGHTS
- Dioxin’s infamy on the international scene is growing – it’s been targeted for global phase out by the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, an international treaty signed by 170 nations around the world. In California, San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley have all passed resolutions to enact public health policies on Dioxin.
In April 2011, Edward Markey (D-MA) and 72 other members of Congress sent a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson about EPA’s dioxin report expressing concern that “EPA has missed this self imposed deadline to finalize and release the report by the end of 2010.”
In January 2011 Animal feed containing high levels of Dioxin forced the closure of more than 1,000 farms in Germany and the slaughter of at least 8,000 egg-laying chickens in Europe’s largest Dioxin food scare.
- Dioxin has some of the most sophisticated agents in the industry – the chlorine-based chemical industry.
Dow Chemical, the Chlorine Chemistry Council of the American Chemistry Council, the PVC plastics industry, Georgia Pacific, and other companies and trade associations have been effectively working to delay EPA’s study on dioxin, the Dioxin Reassessment, for over 20 years.