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Dioxins Print E-mail

Dioxin is a general term that describes a group of hundreds of chemicals that are highly persistent in the environment. 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.

Dioxins are absorbed primarily through dietary intake of fat in humans and animals. It builds up over time (bioaccumulates), so even small exposures may eventually reach dangerous levels as it climbs the food chain. Dioxin levels are higher in animals that are ingesting them from other animals (such as fish, lobsters, any animal eating other animal by-products) and can in turn be ingested by humans eating these animals. 

In humans, the highly chlorinated dioxins are neither readily metabolized nor excreted. The estimated elimination half-life (the time required for the quantity to decay to half of its initial value) for highly chlorinated dioxins in humans ranges from 7.8 to 132 years.

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. The first being that is crosses the placenta into the growing infant and the second is through breast milk to the infant.

Dioxin exposure has been linked to birth defects, inability to maintain pregnancy, decreased fertility, reduced sperm counts, endometriosis, diabetes, learning disabilities, immune system suppression, lung problems, skin disorders, lowered testosterone levels,   developmental abnormalities in the enamel of children's teeth, central and peripheral nervous system pathology and much more.

See also: PCB - Polychlorinated biphenyls

 

 
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