EPA Health Report on Toxic Dioxin Released After Twenty-Seven Years of Delays

I posted on the Riverkeeper Facebook page in mid February about the EPA releasing a report confirming that it only takes a trace amount of dioxin to put people at risk of ailments of the skin, immune system or other areas, but just recently I stumbled across a quote that I felt I needed to share.

The quote comes from Lois Marie Gibbs, Executive Director of the Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ):

“After twenty seven years of delays, I quite honestly never thought this report would ever see the light of day. Today the American people won a major victory against the chemical industry, who has been working behind closed doors for decades to hide and distort the truth about the dangers of dioxin. The science is clear: dioxin is toxic to our children’s health and development. We strongly urge the EPA to now finish the job by finishing their review on dioxin and cancer, and to develop a comprehensive action plan to further reduce dioxin emissions and exposures. To start, the EPA should finalize the EPA’s proposed cleanup standards for dioxin at toxic sites, which have been languishing at the White House OMB since 2010. We call on the Obama Administration to dust off the prestigious National Academy of Sciences report on dioxin in food to explore innovative policies to reduce the levels of dioxin in the food supply.”

I post this quote, and a link to the release in February because of the significance of the new,s and because the Spokane River is impaired by dioxins.

Here’s what our Toxics, Metals and the Spokane River page says about dioxins:


Description and Use
Dioxins/furans refer to a group of toxic substances that share a chemical structure. They are mostly produced as a by-product of burning items such as municipal waste, sludge, medical waste, wood, and cement kilns. They can also be produced as part of manufacturing herbicides and pulp/paper products.

Sources and Pathways to the Spokane River
Dioxins/furans can be released into the air, soil, and water. As part of statewide monitoring of persistent bioaccumulative toxins, fish tissue sampling in the Spokane River showed elevated levels of dioxins/furans. Specific pathways to the Spokane River are not known at this time.

Possible Human Health Effects
Dioxins/furans are a probable human carcinogen. Non-cancer effects include neurological, immune, and reproductive issues. No state or federal standards currently exist to determine safe levels in fish for consumption.

Cleanup and Restoration
Stormwater drain testing in 2007 includes dioxins/furans. Additionally, future fish tissue sampling will monitor levels of dioxins/furans in fish.

Here are some Ecology links with more information on dioxins. 
PBDE and Dioxin/Furans in Spokane Stormwater
Spokane River PCB TMDL Stormwater Loading Analysis: Final Technical Report
Ecology FAQ about chemicals in the Spokane River, including dioxins 

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