EPA finalizes dioxin emissions assessment

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized its non-cancer science assessment for dioxins, which was last reviewed in the 1980s. The findings show that generally, over a person’s lifetime, current exposure to dioxins does not pose a significant health risk.

The non-cancer health assessment for dioxin released could be considered in a range of agency activities, from establishing cleanup levels at Superfund sites to evaluating whether additional Clean Air Act limits on dioxin emissions are warranted.

Known and measurable air emissions of dioxins in the United States have been reduced by 90 percent from 1987 levels. The largest remaining source of dioxin emissions is backyard burning of household trash.

Dioxins are toxic chemicals that naturally exist in the environment and can be released into the environment through forest fires, backyard burning of trash, certain industrial activities, and residue from past commercial burning of waste.

EPA has identified many known sources of dioxins and has taken steps to address them, including supporting research on dioxin exposure and effects; assessing dioxin human health risks; measuring dioxin levels in the environment, diet; and reducing exposure to dioxin.

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