Dioxins: What is the Cancer Risk?

Dioxin Less Dangerous? ‘Low doses of dioxin may not be as carcinogenic as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states in its draft risk assessment, according to a panel of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). In an analysis released today, the panel called on EPA to clarify uncertainties and better justify some assumptions about the danger of dioxin. Historically found in herbicides and industrial waste, today dioxins come mainly from incineration of municipal trash. Emissions have dropped by about 90% since 1987, yet the compounds have contaminated soils and water worldwide and have made their way through the food chain by accumulating in animal fat. In lab animals, dioxins cause tumors, birth defects, and many other problems. But the risks to the general public from long-term, low-dose exposure are difficult to establish.’

Questions and Answers about Dioxins. ‘The following questions and answers provide general information about dioxins, a subject that can be complex and confusing. The materials presented here provide information about the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) draft risk assessment on dioxins (also called the dioxin reassessment). In addition to background information, these materials discuss possible effects of dioxin exposure in humans, include advice about consumption of food that might contain dioxins and explain the process for reviewing the report before it is finalized.’

Tags: Dioxins, Environment, EPA

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