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CHEMICAL RISKS/
DIOXINS


source: www.who.int/mediacentre/
factsheets/fs225/en/


http://www.fsai.ie/news
/newsletter/nl_02/nl_404_02.
asp#dioxins


www.greenpeace.org.nz/
toxics-map/deadly.htm


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dioxins

Dioxins are environmental ‘repeat offenders’. They have the dubious distinction of belonging to ‘dirty dozen club’ - a special group of dangerous chemicals known as persistent organic pollutants…
  • dioxins are found throughout the world in practically all media, including air, soil, water, sediment, and food, especially dairy products, meat, fish and shellfish. Dioxins are a family of 210 compounds of which 17 are considered toxic and virtually non-biodegradable;


  • based on human epidemiology data, dioxin was categorised by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a ‘known human carcinogen’;


  • it is estimated that 90% of human exposure to dioxins is through the food supply. Consequently, protecting the food supply is critical. Contamination of the food can occur at any point from ‘farm to table’;


  • a case of dioxin contamination of food occurred in the southern part of the United States of America in 1997. Chickens, eggs, and catfish were contaminated with dioxin when a contaminated ingredient (bentonite clay or sometimes called ‘ball clay’) was used in the manufacture of animal feed;


  • in the US population of 260 million, a maximum range of 7,800 to 78,000 excess cancers over a lifetime (70 years) or 111 to 1,114 cases/year might be directly linked to dioxin exposure from food (these calculations are based on conservative approaches, assuming dioxins intakes have remained constant over a lifetime);


  • in June 1999, high levels of dioxins were reported to have been found in poultry and eggs from 416 farms in Belgium: dioxins levels were about 100 times higher than those found in previous surveys. The cause of the contamination is thought to have been animal feed. The cost to Belgium and the European Union (EU) as a result of the global import restrictions has been estimated at US$3 billion;


  • in March 1998, the discovery of dioxin contamination of milk in Germany led to a ban on importing Brazilian citrus pulp into the EU. Britain and other EU countries had significant stocks of citrus pulp pellets, used in cattle feed, which had to be destroyed;


  • In September 1997, leaked French agriculture ministry statistics showed alarming levels of dioxin in Brie, Camembert and butter from northern France;


  • In June 1997, the UK Ministry of Agriculture Fishery and Food reported "relatively high concentrations" of dioxin and dioxin-like PCBs in fish oil dietary supplements such as cod liver oil;


  • In November 1996, a severe fire in the production hall of a metals processing plant in Lingen, north west Germany led to animal and vegetable products grown up to 2.5km away being contaminated;


  • earlier incidents of food contamination reported in other parts of the world. Although all countries could be affected, most contamination cases have been reported in industrialised countries where adequate food contamination monitoring, greater awareness of the hazard and better regulatory controls are available for the detection of dioxin problems;


  • the analysis of dioxins requires sophisticated methods that are available only in a limited number of laboratories around the world. About 100 laboratories are able to analyse dioxins in environmental samples (e.g. ashes, soil, or water) and in food but about 20 laboratories in the world are able to reliably measure dioxins in biological materials (e.g. human blood or mother's milk). These are mostly in industrialised countries. Costs vary according to the type of sample, but range from US$1,200 for the analysis of a single biological sample to US$10,000 or more for the comprehensive assessment of release from a waste incinerator.
harmful eating | microbiological risks | anti microbial resistance | chemical risks | dioxins | mercury | hormones | avian influenza | BSE syndrome | BSE/ the bill | food irradiation | allergies & intolerances | consumers concerns
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