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Dioxin in Japanese mother's milk, US chickens, eggs and catfish
Asahi News Service JULY 8, 1997, FEAR SPREADS OF DIOXIN IN
TOKYO Japanese mothers are concerned about how much dioxin, a
cancer-causing substance, could be finding its way into their
babies through breast milk, despite reassurances from a recent
health ministry study that said there is little to worry about.
About 70 civic environmentalists, some pushing babies in
strollers, demonstrated on July 7 in front of the Health and
Welfare Ministry in Tokyo to call for swift countermeasures
against dioxin pollution.
The protesters, some
representing Greenpeace Japan, presented a petition addressed
to the health and welfare minister and the director of
environmental agency, asking for stronger measures to protect
babies from dioxin.
The group wants stricter standards on allowable dioxin levels
in humans because, when the minister revised the dioxin standard
last year, it took only adults into account and did not consider
the effects on babies.
The demonstrators also demanded that the health ministry pay
for mothers to have their breast milk tested for dioxin levels.
A survey by the health ministry at the end of last year
showed the average dioxin density in breast milk amounted to
seven times as much as the daily maximum permissible level for
The ministry said it plans to conduct a survey on dioxin
content in human milk in the near future.
More than 10 municipal authorities have urged the ministry to
include mothers with babies and expectant mothers in their areas
in the planned survey.
Ministry researchers have
pointed out that more than 90 percent of human dioxin intake is
through food, while only 1 percent or less is taken in through
Breast milk is likely to contain much more dioxin than other
foods because the toxic substance accumulates more easily in
In June last year, the ministry revised down its maximum
permissible dioxin intake level per adult to 10 picograms per
kilogram, from 100 picograms, to fall in line with stricter
standards in other countries. The ministry also studied dioxin
intake via mothers' milk for three years starting in 1994. The
study found an average intake of 72.1 picograms of dioxin in
babies who drank 130 cubic centimeters of human milk daily, more
than seven times the permissible amount for adults. LANGUAGE:
ENGLISH LOAD-DATE: July
[Entered Greenbase July 8, 1997 ]
07/08 Dioxin-Chickens GINA HOLLAND JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- A
dioxin-tainted chicken feed has apparently been traced to a
north Mississippi clay mine, officials said Tuesday. The
federal Environmental Protection Agency has been trying to
pinpoint the source of elevated dioxin levels found last fall in
a pair of Tyson Foods Inc. chickens.
Tyson, of Springdale, Ark., earlier said the dioxin came from
an anti-caking agent used in soybean meal obtained from Riceland
Foods Inc. Soybean meal is added to corn and vitamins to make
Jerry Banks, chief of the hazardous waste division of the
state Department of Environmental Quality, said his office was
notified by the EPA late Monday that the apparent source was a
clay mine near Sledge in Quitman County. "It's got everybody
kind of scratching their heads because it doesn't make a lot of
sense," Banks said.
He said the EPA was handling the investigation. An EPA
spokeswoman in Atlanta was not immediately available for
No health risks are suspected because of the low levels --
below one part per trillion, Banks said. But he said dioxin is
worrisome because low concentrations have been found to cause
Dioxin occurs at low levels throughout the environment, and
the EPA sets health standards for dioxin levels in air, water,
and land but not in food. The dioxin was found in chickens
tested last September by the EPA. The elevated levels were found
in two chickens in slaughterhouses in Pine Bluff and Seguin,
Bentonite, a porous clay, is added to soybean meal to reduce
caking and improve flow during pouring, feed officials have
Tyson had tracked the soybean meal fed the chickens to a
Riceland plant in Stuttgart, Ark.
Riceland spokesman Bill J. Reed said last month the agent
bentonite was added to soybean meal to reduce caking and improve
flow during pouring. He declined to name the supplier of the
bentonite. Riceland eliminated the agent from its soybean meal
production and is testing potential replacements.
[Entered Greenbase July 8, 1997 ]
U.S. court overturns EPA rule on import of chemicals Adrian
SAN FRANCISCO, July 7 (Reuter) - A federal appeals court on
Monday overturned a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
regulation that allowed a toxic chemical to be imported into the
United States for disposal. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals in San Francisco ruled that the EPA's March 1996
regulation, allowing the importation of polychlorinated
biphenyls (PCBs) for destruction in U.S. incinerators, violated
the Toxic Substances Control Act.
The act banned the manufacture of PCBs in the United States
after Jan. 1, 1979, and the court said that included an absolute
ban on their importation. The EPA's "Import for Disposal
Rule" was "contrary to the clear intent of Congress", the court
said in a written ruling.
"EPA lacked the statutory authority to promulgate the Import
for Disposal Rule ... The rule is, therefore, overturned ...,"
the court said. "It's a great victory for the environment,
for kids' health, for the health of the American public in
general," said Rebecca Bernard, a staff attorney with the Sierra
Club environmental group, which had asked the court to review
the EPA regulation. She said the court ruling would stop the
import of PCBs for disposal in U.S. incinerators.
EPA officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
They have the right to appeal the decision.
EPA officials said when the new rule was issued that
allowing PCBs to be imported for destruction at five commercial
U.S. incinerators was safer than allowing stockpiles to
accumulate in Canada, Mexico and elsewhere. PCBs, developed
as industrial lubricants, have been linked to cancer. When
burned, PCBs produce dioxins which get into the food chain and
can cause birth defects and cancer in humans, environmentalists
An Ohio company, S.D. Myers Inc., had pushed for years to be
allowed to import PCBs from Canada to destroy at the company's
incinerator because the U.S. flow was waning, according to news
[Entered Greenbase July 8, 1997 ]
US FDA stops catfish, egg shipments over dioxin WASHINGTON,
July 7 (Reuter)
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration told commercial catfish
and egg producers on Monday not to ship certain human food
products it said may contain the deadly chemical dioxin. The
action is the latest step the FDA has taken in response to its
increased concern over the presence of the dangerous chemical
compound in some animal feed.
In its statement, the FDA said USDA's Food Safety and
Inspection Service is also taking similar action in regards to
poultry that may contain dioxin. Last week, the FDA
announced that it had told manufacturers of some animal feeds
known to be contaminated with dioxin to stop the further
distribution and use of this feed.
An investigation by FDA and other federal and state
officials disclosed that the source of the dioxin in the feed
was "ball clay," which is commonly added to soybean meal as a
"flowing" or anti-caking agent.
The ball clay was traced to a single clay mine in
Mississippi, which at the request of FDA has stopped shipping
clay for feed use.
The FDA's ban on new shipments of egg and catfish that might
contain elevated dioxin levels does not affect products already
in commercial distribution or purchased by consumers.
The FDA emphasized that dioxin levels found so far in eggs
and catfish present no immediate public health hazard.
The agency decided to halt the egg and catfish shipments "as
a prudent public health measure to reduce human exposure to an
avoidable contaminant," the FDA said.
"Consumers should not hestitate to consume eggs and catfish
they have at home or purchase on the retail market," FDA said.
Affected egg and poultry manufacturers will be able to ship
products for human consumption once they can demonstrate such
food contains only "background levels of dioxin," FDA said.
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