“Because we don't think about future generations, they will never forget us.” - Henrick Tikkanen

Aquinas College

Dioxin (polychlorinated dibenzodioxins)

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Dioxin is one of the most toxic substances known to man. "Dioxin" is a general category containing 17 compounds used in herbicides, as well as pulp and paper bleaching. Incinerators of waste are the largest source of Dioxin today, when waste containing chlorinated compounds is not completely combusted (Greenpeace). Dioxin is now classified as a known human carcinogen and was the primary toxic component of Agent Orange. It was also found at Love Canal (in New York) and lead to the evacuations at Times Beach, MO and Seveso, Italy.

Dioxin is also a powerful endocrine disruptor, or "a manmade synthetic chemical that has been proven to have many deleterious effects on the endocrine system of animals [and arguably humans] by mimicking, blocking, and/or disturbing in some other way, the messages of hormones that guide the complex processes of the endocrine system" (Paul Goettlich). The number one avenue for dioxins to enter the human body comes from ingesting dairy products, especially beef. As Dioxin settles on the landscape after combustion, cattle (and other animals) ingest it as they graze, or as they feed on other crops that have been contaminated. Dioxin will bio-accumulate in cow's milk, especially in their tissue. Because of the immediate dangers of dioxin, government and industry has been working to minimize or eliminate its use, and thus eliminate the risk of bio-accumulation up the food chain.

Links

Chlorine Chemistry Council

This web page was designed to offer information about dioxins: what they are, where they are produced, why they are of concern and where levels are heading.

EJ Net

EJ Net was started to provide web resources for environmental justice activists. This site holds excellent basic information on dioxin, including its connection to cancer and other health problems, the sources of dioxin, and links to other resources.

Greenpeace

Greenpeace is a nonprofit organization, with a presence in 40 countries across Europe, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific. As a global organization, Greenpeace focuses on the most crucial worldwide threats to our planet's biodiversity and environment. The site is a great resource for a multitude of information on dioxin, including resources discussing dioxin in the environment and in humans, toxicity, risk assessment, formation and sources, and the methods and implications of phasing out dioxins.

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