Toxic. Released by burning.
What are dioxins?
Dioxins are chemicals that are unintentionally created as a byproduct of certain industrial processes, including smelting, pesticide manufacturing, municipal and medical waste incineration, and paper pulp bleaching. Dioxins are persistent and break down slowly. Some dioxins are similar to PCBs at the chemical level.
How do dioxins enter our environment?
Dioxins can enter the Great Lakes environment directly through an industry's discharge pipe. They can leach from improper storage of PCB-based industrial oils. Dioxins can also be released into the air, to then settle out onto land and into the water. Further, dioxin can enter our environment from natural events such as volcanic eruptions and forest fires.
How are people exposed to dioxins?
An overwhelming majority of human exposure to dioxins is through our food supply, mainly in meat, dairy products, fish, and shellfish. Because dioxins bioaccumulate, a diet of fish caught in polluted waters makes us vulnerable to dioxin exposure.
Can dioxins harm my health?
Dioxins are one of the most toxic pollutants, and low doses can harm your health. Short-term exposure to high levels of dioxin can result in skin irritation and affect liver function. Long-term exposure causes cancer and impacts the immune system, the nervous system, the endocrine system, and reproductive functions. Although all ages are sensitive to dioxin, developing fetuses and newborns are most vulnerable.