EPA releases Non-Cancerous Half of Dioxin Report

by jim on February 22, 2012

After 21 years, four Presidents, countless political battles and lots of pollution, the EPA finally released its health reassessment of Dioxin this past Friday. Like so many environmental decisions from this Administration, the report splits important hairs. While
confirming that ultra-low exposures (we’re talking 1 millionth of a
gram or less) to Dioxin can cause damage to a person’s immune and
reproductive systems, cause skin rashes and liver damage
, EPA says
that levels of exposure for most Americans have declined so much over
the last two decades that there should be no significant risk. To at
least one expert, that was an      “very odd statement.” Arnold Schecter of University of Texas School of Public Health, noted that EPA’s assurances really didn’t jibe “because some people
are more highly exposed than average and some groups, such as fetuses
and nursing babies, are more sensitive to the effects.”
What
other populations are more highly exposed to Dioxin? People who live
downwind of facilities where its emitted – power plants, cement plants,
and lead smelters, to name a few. DFW residents live downwind from all
three. Exide’s lead smelter in Frisco was the 9th largest dioxin polluter in Texas in 2009, releasing more of the poison than industrial facilities many times its size. 
While
most exposures come through eating or drinking animal products that
contain dioxin because the animals themselves were contaminated and
store it in their fat, breathing in dioxins directly is also a pathway
of exposure when you live near a place that burns hazardous wastes,
smelts metals, or deals with a lot of chlorinated materials. Like
millions of DFW residents. While there was a lot of disappointment by
environmentalists at the lack of follow-through on the report, the food
industry is sweating bullets
over its conclusions. Last year, food industry groups wrote the EPA,
stating that  most Americans could “easily exceed the
daily [0.7 picogram limit] after consuming a single meal or heavy
snack.” Now they’re afraid safer food advocates will use the report to
push for new restrictions on how much of one of the most poisonous
substances ever discovered can be included in their food products.
Indeed. How unreasonable to expect less human-made poison dreck in your
food. No release date for the part of the reassessment dealing with
cancer risks

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