The term "dioxin" refers to a group of chemical compounds that share certain similar chemical structures and biological characteristics. Several hundred of these toxic compounds exist and are members of three closely related families: the chlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (CDDs), chlorinated dibenzofurans (CDFs) and certain polychlorinated biphenyls
Dioxins are released into the air from combustion processes such as commercial or municipal waste incineration and from burning fuels (like wood, coal or oil). Dioxins can also be formed when household trash is burned and during forest fires. Chlorine bleaching of pulp and paper, certain types of chemical manufacturing and processing, and other industrial processes all can create small quantities of dioxins. Cigarette
smoke also contains small amounts of dioxins.
Scientists and health experts are concerned about dioxins because studies have shown that exposure to them may cause a number of adverse health effects. The health effects associated with dioxins depend on a variety of factors including: the level of exposure, when someone was exposed, and how long and how often. The most noted health effect in people exposed to large amounts of dioxin is chloracne. Chloracne is a severe skin disease
-like lesions that occur mainly on the face and upper body. Other effects of exposure to large amounts of dioxin include skin rashes, skin discoloration, excessive body hair, and possibly mild liver damage
. One of the main health effects of concern for dioxins is cancer
in adults. Several studies suggest that workers who were exposed to high levels of dioxins at their workplace
over many years have an increased risk of cancer.
Dioxin was one of the primary chemicals contained in the infamous military defoliant Agent Orange
. Agent Orange was used extensively in the Vietnam War and has been shown to cause leukemia
, spina bifida
, lung cancer
and other diseases in the children of Vietnam War veterans.
See your doctor if you have experienced serious health problems because of dioxin exposure. In addition, it may be important to contact an attorney
who can help you protect your legal rights. Please keep in mind that there may be time limits
within which you must commence suit.
- Toxic & Hazardous Substances
- Acne: Overview
- Emotional Problems
- Immune Disorders
- Liver Problems
- Spina Bifida: Overview
- Dioxin Exposure: Overview