17 Feb 2012:
EPA Releases Long-Awaited
Health Assessment of Dioxin Risks
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday released its long-awaited assessment of the toxic hazards of dioxins, a group of persistent contaminants emitted by chemical plants, waste incinerators, and other industrial facilities. While concluding that current exposure to dioxins “generally” does not pose a “significant health risk
” over the course of a person’s lifetime, the EPA set a daily safe exposure rate of 0.7 picograms of dioxins per kilogram of body weight
— a level that had been opposed by industry groups that contend it would stoke public concerns about food safety. Assistant EPA Administrator Paul Anastas called the assessment a “starting point” for future federal, state, and industry activities. The new standards could result in more stringent cleanup standards
at contamination sites and stricter limits on allowed dioxin levels in water and air. On Thursday, Michigan officials announced they had reached a deal with Dow Chemical Co. to clean as many as 1,400 dioxin-tainted properties near its Midland headquarters
. Dioxins — which accumulate in animals and fish and ultimately can be consumed by humans — have been linked to problems with immune and reproductive systems, skin rashes, and liver damage.
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Accepting entries through June 15, 2015.
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
Photographer Robert Wintner documents the exquisite beauty and biodiversity of Cuba’s coral reefs, which are largely intact thanks to stifled coastal development in the communist nation. View the gallery.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video, chronicles a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant. It was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Watch the video.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
. © Google & TerraMetrics.
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.