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The Hamilton Plastimet Fire

  My name is Lynda Lukasik - from Hamilton, Ontario.  I am new to this list
  and was prompted to join for a number of reasons.  I've been reading Lois
  Gibbs' book 'Dying From Dioxin' and, at the same time, struggling to deal
  with the aftermath of the 'Plastimet Fire' here in Hamilton.  If you
  haven't heard, this was a large scale fire that burned at a plastics (PVC)
  recycling facility in Hamilton from July 9 till the 11, 1997.  A huge black
  toxic plume of smoke showered its debris over most of the city.  Now we are
  all left wondering whether it's safe to eat our garden produce this year,
  how long any dioxins will remain in the soil, what the potential short and
  long term health effects of the fire will be, etc. 
  Right now, I guess my major concern is over the garden produce.  A week
  after the fire, our Regional Health Department, after receiving results of
  dioxin monitoring from the Provincial Ministry of the Environment and
  Energy, imposed a city-wide ban on eating any garden produce.  A week after
  that, they decided to lift the ban - even for residents in the immediate
  vicinity of the fire, stating that rainfall had washed the dioxins away. 
  Now we are being told to wash produce well and peel off any skins.  
  Does anyone have any info/advice on this issue?  Is washing and peelind
  enough to reduce/eliminate possible exposure to dioxins?  How long will any
  dioxins remain in the soil?  I do have some numbers - dioxin monitoring
  results from the Ministry of Environment if they will help in this
  Lynda Lukasik