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(fwd) INFO: Dioxin In Beef

  >Date:     Tue, 4 Nov 1997 07:30:42 -0500
  >Reply-To: Health and  Environment Resource Center <HEALTHE@HOME.EASE.LSOFT.COM>
  >Sender:   Health and  Environment Resource Center <HEALTHE@HOME.EASE.LSOFT.COM>
  >From:     Automatic digest processor <LISTSERV@HOME.EASE.LSOFT.COM>
  >Subject:  HEALTHE Digest - 3 Nov 1997 to 4 Nov 1997 - Special issue (#1997-13)
  >To:       Recipients of HEALTHE digests <HEALTHE@HOME.EASE.LSOFT.COM>
  >Date:    Tue, 4 Nov 1997 07:25:11 -0500
  >From:    "Andi DesJardins (fka Hosler)" <Enviroknow@AOL.COM>
  >Subject: INFO: Dioxin In Beef
  >Subject: Dioxin In Beef
  >Date: Nov 3, 1997
  >From: mclibel@globalnet.co.uk (McLibel Support Campaign)
  >      Jon Campbell <jon@cqs.com>
  >      Mike Ewall <catalyst@envirolink.org>
  >  Letter from Jon
  >  Comments by Mike
  >  Mike's site
  >  John's site
  >I met Dave at the CCHW convention in Arlington, VA
  >several weeks ago. You might recall that
  >I promised I'd send some
  >info about dioxin in beef. Sorry for the delay.
  >Basic information about dioxin, and recommendations
  >regarding dioxin in diet can be found at:
  > http://www.cqs.com/edioxin.htm  (see below)
  >More detailed information can be found in the book
  >Dying From Dioxin by Lois Gibbs. The long and the
  >short of it is:
  >1. The EPA, in 1994, re-assessed the toxicity of
  >dioxin, and confirmed the finding that it was the
  >most toxic organic chemical known, with measurable
  >health effects in our bodies at levels of as little
  >as 10-15 ppt, cumulative over a lifetime. Based
  >on this, the EPA set the "acceptable" dose of
  >dioxin to be .006 picograms (six million millionths
  >of a gram) per kilogram of body weight, or about
  >0.40 picograms for an adult (proportional to
  >body weight - much less for a child).
  >2. Beef is about the most dioxin-contaminated food,
  >at about 1part per million million (or 1 picogram per
  >gram of food). That means that a single
  >McDonald's hamburger in the U.S. has
  >about 100 picograms of dioxin (assuming
  >a 100-gram patty). (I don't know whether
  >food testing for dioxin has been done by
  >the British govt; I assume it has...). That is
  >250 TIMES the EPA "acceptable daily
  >dose" for an adult (and double that for
  >a child).
  >If people knew that by eating at McDonalds that
  >threatening their health and the health of their
  >children, rather dramatically, they might be
  >less inclined to eat there...
  >You might, if you have a chance, check out
  >the rest of my website (www.cqs.com) and let
  >me know what you think...
  >Jon Campbell
  >From: Mike Ewall <catalyst@envirolink.org>
  >To: D Briars
  >I trust that Jon Campbell knows his stuff on this.   He's working on
  >a book, actually.  It's about personal ways to reduce your exposure to
  >dioxin and similar problems.  Yes, 90% of the dioxin you're exposed to is
  >through meat and dairy products.  Sadly, while the main anti-toxics groups
  >will admit this, they all but refuse to recommend a vegan diet.  Beef is
  >the most dioxin-contaminated food according to EPA.  There is a wonderful
  >chart from their 94 report that I scanned and put on my dioxin website at
  >http://www.envirolink.org/issues/dioxin/  (see below)
  >From Mike's page <http://www.envirolink.org/issues/dioxin/>
  >What is dioxin?
  >Dioxin is one of the most toxic chemicals known. A report released for public
  >comment in September 1994 by the US Environmental Protection Agency clearly
  >describes dioxin as a serious public health threat. The public health impact
  >dioxin may rival the impact that DDT had on public health in the 1960's.
  >According to the EPA report, not only does there appear to be no "safe" level
  >of exposure to dioxin, but levels of dioxin and dioxin-like chemicals have
  >found in the general US population that are "at or near levels associated
  >adverse health effects." The EPA report confirmed that dioxin is a cancer
  >hazard to people; that exposure to dioxin can also cause severe reproductive
  >and developmental problems (at levels 100 times lower than those associated
  >with its cancer causing effects); and that dioxin can cause immune system
  >damage and interfere with regulatory hormones.
  >Dioxin is a general term that describes a group of hundreds of chemicals that
  >are highly persistent in the environment. The most toxic compound is
  >2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin or TCDD. The toxicity of other dioxins
  >chemicals like PCBs that act like dioxin are measured in relation to TCDD.
  >Dioxin is formed as an unintentional by-product of many industrial processes
  >involving chlorine such as waste incineration, chemical and pesticide
  >manufacturing and pulp and paper bleaching. Dioxin was the primary toxic
  >component of Agent Orange, was found at Love Canal in Niagara Falls, NY and
  >the basis for evacuations at Times Beach, MO and Seveso Italy.
  >Where does dioxin come from?
  >Dioxin is formed by burning chlorine-based chemical compounds with
  >hydrocarbons. The major source of dioxin in the environment (95%) comes from
  >incinerators burning chlorinated wastes. Dioxin pollution is also affiliated
  >with paper mills which use chlorine bleaching in their process and with the
  >production of Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) plastics.
  >What health effects are related to exposure to dioxin and dioxin-like
  >   Sperm count in men worldwide has dropped to 50% of what it was 50 years
  >   The incidence of testicular cancer has tripled in the last 50 years, and
  >       prostate cancer has doubled.
  >    Endometriosis - the painful growth outside the uterus of cells that
  >       normally line the uterus - -which was formerly a rare condition, now
  >       afflicts 5 million American women.
  >    In 1960, a woman's chance of developing breast cancer during her lifetime
  >       was one in 20. Today the chances are one in eight.
  >How are we exposed to dioxin?
  >The major sources of dioxin are in our diet. Since dioxin is fat-soluble, it
  >bioaccumulates up the food chain and it is mainly (97.5%) found in meat and
  >dairy products (beef, dairy products, milk, chicken, pork, fish and eggs in
  >that order... see chart below). In fish alone, these toxins bioaccumulate up
  >the food chain so that dioxin levels in fish are 100,000 times that of the
  >surrounding environment.
  >In EPA's dioxin report, they refer to dioxin as hydrophobic. This means that
  >dioxin, when it settles on water bodies, will avoid the water and find a fish
  >to go in to. The same goes for other wildlife. Dioxin will find animals to go
  >in to, working its way to the top of the food chain.
  >Men have no ways to get rid of dioxin other than letting it break down
  >according to its chemical half-lives. Women, on the other hand, have two ways
  >which it can exit their bodies:
  >    It crosses the placenta... into the growing infant;
  >    It is present in the fatty breast milk, which is also a route of exposure
  >    which doses the infant, making breast-feeding for non-vegetarian mothers
  >    quite hazardous.
  >         This is where you get dioxin from
  >         Total exposure/injestion = 119 pg/day
  >         Beef        38.0
  >         Dairy       24.1
  >         Milk        17.6
  >         Chicken     12.9
  >         Pork        12.2
  >         Fish         7.8
  >         Eggs         4.1
  >         Inhalation   2.2
  >         Soil          .8
  >         Water       Negligible
  >         Chart from EPA Dioxin Reassessment Summary 4/94 - Vol. 1, p. 37
  >         (Figure II-5. Background TEQ exposures for North America by pathway)
  >EPA's reports on dioxin.
  >Much of this new research into the health effects of dioxin was undertaken in
  >response to industry challenges to EPA's findings on the toxicity of dioxin
  >1991.  Now, 3 years later, dioxin was found to be more dangerous than ever.
  >Copies of the EPA Health Assessment report may be obtained by contacting:
  >    CERI/ORD Publications Center
  >    USEPA
  >    26 W. Martin Luther King Drive
  >    Cincinnati, OH 45268
  >    (513) 569-7562; fax (513) 569-7566.
  >EPA's Scientific Advisory Board has completed its reassessment of dioxin.
  >To get copies of the dioxin report, contact Sam Rondberg at the EPA at (202)
  >The final final report issued by the Health and Exposures Panels of the
  >Advisory Board regarding the dioxin reassessment is now available. Get your
  >copy by calling the SAB at: 202-260-8414, or fax: 202-260-1889.
  >                       Environmental Research Foundation's
  >                       RACHEL's Environment & Health Weekly Issues
  >(many links follow)
  >Jon's site <http://www.cqs.com/edioxin.htm>
  >What Is Dioxin?
  > Dioxin is the name generally given to a class of super-toxic chemicals, the
  >chlorinated dioxins and furans, formed as a by-product of the manufacture,
  >molding, or burning of organic chemicals and plastics that contain chlorine.
  >is the nastiest, most toxic man-made organic chemical; its toxicity is second
  >only to radioactive waste. Dioxin made headlines several years ago at places
  >such as Love Canal, where hundreds of families needed to abandon their homes
  >due to dioxin contamination, and Times Beach,  Missouri, a town that was
  >abandoned as a result of dioxin.
  >                     Dioxin - An Unprecedented Threat
  >We now know that dioxin exhibits serious health effects when it reaches as
  >little as a few parts per trillion in your body fat. Dioxin is a powerful
  >hormone disrupting chemical. By binding to a cell's hormone receptor, it
  >literally modifies the functioning and genetic mechanism of the cell, causing
  >wide range of effects, from cancer to reduced immunity to nervous system
  >disorders to  miscarriages and birth deformity. Because it literally changes
  >the functioning of your cells, the effects can be very obvious or very
  >Because it changes gene functions, it can cause so-called genetic diseases to
  >appear, and can interfere with child development. There is no "threshold"
  >- the tiniest amount can cause damage, and our bodies have no defense against
  >Unfortunately, according to the EPA, much of the population of the U.S. is at
  >the dose at which there can be serious health effects. How did this happen?
  >about 40 years we have seen a dramatic increase in the manufacture and use of
  >chlorinated organic chemicals and plastics. For chemicals, it was
  >and herbicides (weed killers). For plastics, it was primarily polyvinyl
  >chloride (PVC). From phonograph records to automobile seat covers to wire
  >insulation to shampoo bottles to handbags to house siding to plumbing pipes
  >wallpaper, we are literally surrounded by PVC. When these chemicals and
  >plastics are manufactured or burned, dioxin is produced as an unwanted (but
  >inevitable) by-product. Dioxin had been a little-known threat for many years
  >near factories that produce PVC plastic or chlorinated pesticides and
  > herbicides, and where those pesticides and herbicides have been heavily
  >such as on farms, near electric and railway lines, apple orchards, paper
  >company forests. It became better known when Vietnam War veterans and
  >Vietnamese civilians, exposed to dioxin-contaminated Agent Orange, became
  >It has been a hazard downstream of paper mills (where chlorine bleach
  >combines with natural organics in wood pulp and produces dioxin).
  > Several towns and cities have become contaminated as a result of chemical
  >spills or manufacturing emissions, some that needed to be evacuated. Love
  >(Niagara Falls, N.Y), Seveso (Italy), Times Beach (Missouri), Pensacola
  >(Florida), and the entire city of Midland, Michigan have high concentrations
  >dioxin. Bizarre health effects, such as cancer, spina bifida (split spine)
  >other birth defects, autism, liver disease, endometriosis, reduced immunity,
  >chronic fatigue syndrome, and other nerve and blood
  > disorders have been noted.
  > But in the last 20 years we have begun to burn household and industrial
  >and medical waste in mass-burn incinerators. The result - given that we have
  >disposable vinyl plastic all around us - has been a dramatic increase in
  >contamination everywhere in the U.S. Dioxin, formed during burning, is
  >for hundreds of miles on tiny specks of fly-ash from the incinerators. It
  >settles on crops, which then get eaten by cows, steers, pigs, and chickens.
  >contaminates lakes, streams, and the ocean. Like the pesticides such as DDT,
  >dioxin accumulates in the fat cells of the animals, and re-appears in meat
  >milk. Dioxin is virtually indestructible in most environments, and is
  >by the body extremely slowly.
  >                     How To Avoid Dioxin
  > Do not eat beef or pork, which have some of the largest concentrations of
  >dioxin of all food sources. Limit your intake of ocean fish; do not eat any
  >freshwater fish. Chicken has the lowest dioxin content of all meats, but is
  >still significant. Vegetarian meat substitutes such as tofu, beans, and rice
  >have essentially no contamination.
  >If your family drinks milk, drink only skim milk, since dioxin is carried in
  >the butterfat. Avoid all full-fat dairy products, such as butter, cheese and
  >ice cream. Use non-fat skim-milk products or non-dairy substitutes. Do not
  >breast-feed infants, as human milk contains more dioxin than any other food
  >relation to an infant s body weight), unless you have eaten a non-dairy,
  >low-fat vegetarian diet for several years.
  >Avoid all organic chemicals that have "chloro" as part of their names (such
  >the wood preservative pentachlorophenol, which is probably the most
  >dioxin-contaminated household chemical). Avoid chlorine bleach (sodium
  >hypochlorite) and products containing it. (Use oxygen bleach instead). Use
  >unbleached paper products.
  >Do not use weed killers or insecticides that contain chlorine. Especially
  >the chlorophenol weed killers, such as 2,4-D, found in most fertilizer/weed
  >killers and used by commercial lawn services. Avoid "Permethrin" flea sprays
  >for pets.
  > Avoid household or personal products and toys made of or packaged in
  >chloride - PVC - labeled V or #3 plastic. (For example, Beanie Babies are
  >filled with PVC beads, which often produce cancer-causing vinyl chloride
  >and are often contaminated with dioxin.) Avoid using Saran Wrap and similar
  >"cling-type" plastic wraps (unless they are clearly identified as
  >non-chlorinated plastic.).
  > Wash all fruits and vegetables carefully to remove chlorophenol pesticide
  >residue. Avoid grapes and raisins unless they are clearly  labeled as organic
  >(grown without pesticides).
  > Avoid all products which have cottonseed oil as an ingredient (such as
  >chips), since cotton is often sprayed with chlorophenol insecticides. Do not
  >use soaps containing tallow (most soaps), as it is made from animal fat.
  >"deodorant" soaps and deodorants containing "triclosan," a chlorophenol.
  >                     What You Can Do
  >The way to reduce the dioxin threat is to stop burning trash and to stop
  >producing PVC and other chlorinated chemicals. If your town sends its trash
  >an incinerator, tell your town officials to institute comprehensive
  >Write to companies that use vinyl and ask them to use the known safe
  >substitutes. Ask your supermarket and office supply stores to sell Totally
  >Chlorine Free (TCF) products. Learn more about the dioxin threat. Read the
  >books Dying From Dioxin by Lois Gibbs, and Our Stolen Future by Theo Colborn.
  >Talk to your friends and neighbors about dioxin and what you can do to reduce
  >the threat. Join a community environmental organization, or form one if there
  >are none in your town. Call a state or national organization to get help.
  > Download a copy of a Microsoft Word Version 6-compatible version of this
  >document for a community information leaflet.
  >U.S. McLibel Support Campaign               Email dbriars@world.std.com
  >PO Box 62                                        Phone/Fax 802-586-9628
  >Craftsbury VT 05826-0062                    http://www.mcspotlight.org/