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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: firstname.lastname@example.org (McLibel Support Campaign)
> Jon Campbell <email@example.com>
> Mike Ewall <firstname.lastname@example.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
>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...
>From: Mike Ewall <email@example.com>
>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
>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
> 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
> 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
> 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
>PO Box 62 Phone/Fax 802-586-9628
>Craftsbury VT 05826-0062 http://www.mcspotlight.org/