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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
  the air.
     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:
  [Entered Greenbase July 8, 1997 ]
   07/08 Dioxin-Chickens GINA HOLLAND JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- A
   component in
  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
  chicken feed.
     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.
  Pat Costner
  P.O. Box 548, or 512 CR 2663
  Eureka Springs, Arkansas 72632 USA
  ph:  501-253-8440
  fx:  501-253-5540
  em:  pat.costner@dialb.greenpeace.org