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Environmental Assessment

Dioxin

The Issue
"Dioxins" refers to a group of toxic chemical compounds that share certain chemical structures and biological characteristics.  Dioxins can be released into the environment through forest fires, backyard burning of trash, certain industrial activities, and residue from past commercial burning of waste.  Dioxins break down very slowly and past releases of dioxins from both man-made and natural sources still exist in the environment.

Almost every living creature has been exposed to dioxins.  Studies have shown that exposure to dioxins at high enough levels may cause a number of adverse health effects, including cancer. The health effects associated with dioxins depend on a variety of factors including: the level of exposure, when someone was exposed, and for how long and how often someone is exposed.

Over the past several years, EPA, state governments and industry have worked together to dramatically reduce known and measurable industrial dioxin emissions.  These efforts have reduced air emissions of dioxins by 90 percent so that today, most Americans have only low-level exposure to dioxins.

EPA Action
On February 17, 2012, EPA finalized its final Reanalysis of Key Issues Related to Dioxin Toxicity and Response to NAS Comments, Volume 1.  This document provides hazard identification and dose-response information on 2,3,7,8- tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) and the most up-to-date analysis of non-cancer health effects from TCDD exposure. The report also include an oral reference dose (RfD) and a detailed and transparent description of the underlying data and analyses.

Dioxin and Related Compounds

    2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin
    2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin

    2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzofuran
    2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzofuran

    3,3',4,4',5,5'-Hexachlorobiphenyl
    3,3',4,4',5,5'-Hexachlorobiphenyl
History Related Links

Best Resources

U.S. EPA. An Inventory of Sources and Environmental Releases of Dioxin-Like Compounds in the U.S. for the Years 1987, 1995, and 2000 (Final, Nov 2006). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/P-03/002F.

U.S. EPA. National Dioxin Air Monitoring Network (NDAMN) Report of the Results of Atmospheric Measurements of PCDDs, PCDFs, and Dioxin-Like PCBs in Rural and Remote Areas of the U.S. from June 1998 Through November 2004. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-12/060F, 2013.

U.S. EPA. Update to An Inventory of Sources and Environmental Releases of Dioxin-Like Compounds in the United States for the Years 1987, 1995, and 2000 (External Review Draft). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-11/005A, 2013.

U.S. EPA. An Exploratory Study: Assessment of Modeled Dioxin Exposure in Ceramic Art Studios (2008 Final). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-06/044F, 2008.

U.S. EPA. Pilot Survey of Levels of Polychlorinated Dibenzo-P-Dioxins (PCDDs), Polychlorinated Dibenzofurans (PCDFs), Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCB) and Mercury in Rural Soils of the U.S. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-05/043F, 2007.

U.S. EPA. Health Effects Assessment for 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-P-Dioxin (1984). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C., EPA/540/1-86/044 (NTIS PB86134558), 1984.

U.S. EPA. Health Assessment Document for Polychlorinated Dibenzo-P-Dioxins (1985). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C., EPA/600/8-84/014F (NTIS PB86122546), 1985.

MUKERJEE, D., C. RIS, AND J. SCHAUM. Health Risk Assessment Approach for 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-P-Dioxin (1985). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/8-85/013 (NTIS PB86-122546/AS), 1985.

U.S. EPA. EPA Regulations Related to Dioxin. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, 2003.



Additional Resources

Ferrario, J. B., C. J. Byrne, AND D. H. Cleverly . 2,3,7,8-Dibenzo-P-Dioxins in Mined Clay Products from the U.S.: Evidence for Possible Natural Origin. , ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY. American Chemical Society, Washington, DC, 34(21):4524-4532, (2000).

Pinsky, P. AND M. Lorber. A Model to Evaluate Past Exposure to 2,3,7,8-TCDD. , JOURNAL OF EXPOSURE ANALYSIS AND ENVIRONMENTAL EPIDEMIOLOGY. Nature Publishing Group, London, Uk, 8(2):187-206, (1998).

Lorber, M., D. Winters, J. Griggs, R. Cook, S. Baker, J. Ferrario, C. Byrne, A. Dupuy, AND J. Schaum. A National Survey of Dioxin-Like Compounds in the U.S. Milk Supply. , Organohalogen Compounds 38:125-129, (1998).

Lorber, M. A Pharmacokinetic Model for Estimating Exposure of Americans to Dioxin-Like Compounds in the Past, Present, and Future. , SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT. Elsevier BV, AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, 288(1-2):81-95, (2002).

Lorber, M., D. Cleverly, AND J. Schaum. A Screening Level Risk Assessment of the Indirect Impacts from the Columbus Waste to Energy Facility in Columbus, Ohio. Air & Waste Management Association, Pittsburgh, PA, 1996.

Winters, D., D. Cleverly, K. Meier, A. Dupuy, C. Byrne, C. Deyrup, R. Ellis, J. Ferrario, R. Harless, W. Leese, M. Lorber, D. McDaniel, J. Schaum, AND J. Walcott. A Statistical Survey of Dioxin-Like Compounds in U.S. Beef: A Progress Report. , CHEMOSPHERE. Elsevier Science Ltd, New York, NY, 32(3):469-478, (1996).

Lorber, M., P. Saunders, J. Ferrario, W. Leese, D. Winters, D. Cleverly, J. Schaum, C. Deyrup, R. Ellis, J. Walcott, A. Dupuy, C. Byrne, AND D. McDaniel. A Statistical Survey of Dioxin-Like Compounds in U.S. Pork Fat. , Organohalogen Compounds 32:238-244, (1997).

Ferrario, J., C. Byrne, M. Lorber, P. Saunders, W. Leese, A. Dupuy, D. Winters, D. Cleverly, J. Schaum, P. Pinsky, C. Deyrup, R. Ellis, AND J. Walcott. A Statistical Survey of Dioxin-Like Compounds in U.S. Poultry Fat. , Organohalogen Compounds 32:245-251, (1997).

Cleverly, D., D. L. Winters, G. Schweer, S. McCarthy, J. Ferrario, J. Buchert, C. Greene, C. Byrne, AND A. Dupuy. A Study of the Diurnal and Nocturnal Measurement of Polychlorinated Dibenzo-P-Dioxins (CDDs) and Polychlorinated Dibenzofurans (CDFs) in Ambient Air. Ecoinforma Press, Bayreuth, Germany, 1999.

Lorber, M., G. Fries, D. Winters, J. Ferrario, AND C. Byrne. A Study of the Mass Balance of Dioxins and Furans in Lactating Cows in Background Conditions. , Organohalogen Compounds 46:236-239 and 534-537, (2000).

LORBER, M., J. Ferrario, C. Byrne, C. Greene, AND A. Cyrus. A Study to Evaluate the Levels of Dioxin-Like Compounds in Dairy Feeds in the U.S. , ORGANOHALOGEN COMPOUNDS 66:1958-1965, (2004).

Cleverly, D., M. Monetti, L. Phillips, P. Cramer, M. Hait, S. McCarthy, K. O'Rourke, J. Stanley, AND D. Winters. A Time-Trends Study of the Occurrences and Levels of CDDs, CDFs and Dioxin-Like PCBs in Sediment Cores from 11 Geographically Distributed Lakes in the U.S. , ORGANOHALOGEN COMPOUNDS 28:77-82, (1996).

U.S. EPA. Ambient Air Sampling for Dioxins, Furans and Coplanar PCBs in An Urban Industrialized Corridor in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana..

Ferrario, J., C. Byrne, AND J. SCHAUM. An Assessment of Dioxin Levels in Processed Ball Clay from the U.S. ORGANOHALOGEN COMPOUNDS 66:1639-1644, (2004).

Lorber, M. AND P. Pinsky. An Evaluation of Three Empirical Air-to-Leaf Models for Polychlorinated Dibenzo-P-Dioxins and Dibenzofurans. , CHEMOSPHERE. Elsevier Science Ltd, New York, NY, 41(6):931-941, (2000).

U.S. EPA. Analyses of Laboratory and Field Studies of Reproductive Toxicity in Birds Exposed to Dioxin-Like Compounds for Use in Ecological Risk Assessment. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-03/114F.

Ferrario, J., R. Lovell, P. Gardner, M. Lorber, D. Winters, AND C. Byrne. Analysis of Animal-and Plant-Derived Feed Ingredients for Dioxin-Like Compounds. , ORGANOHALOGEN COMPOUNDS 57:85-88, (2002).

LORBER, M. Assessment of Dioxin Inhalation Exposures and Potential Health Impacts Following the Collapse of the World Trade Center Towers. , ORGANOHALOGEN COMPOUNDS 63, (2003).

Ferrario, J., C. Byrne, AND A. Dupuy. Background Contamination By Coplanar Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBS) in Trace Level High Resolution Gas Chromatography/High Resolution Mass Spectrometry (HRGC/HRMS) Analytical Procedures. , CHEMOSPHERE. Elsevier Science Ltd, New York, NY, 34(11):2451-2465, (1997).

U.S. EPA. Bioaccumulation Factors and Intake of 2,3,7,8-Polychlorinated Dibenzo-P-Dioxins in the Domestic Chicken. ,.

U.S. EPA. Chlorinated Dioxins and Furans from Kelp and Copper Sulfate: Initial Investigations of Dioxin Formation in Mineral Feed Supplements..

U.S. EPA. Chlorobenzenes, Chlorophenols, PAHs and Low Chlorinated Dioxin/Furan as Post-Boiler Toxicity Indicators in Municipal Solid Waste Incinerators..

U.S. EPA. Dermal Exposure Assessment: A Summary of EPA Approaches. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-07/040F.

Ferrario, J., C. Byrne, D. McDaniel, AND A. Dupuy. Determination of 2,3,7,8 Chlorine-Substituted Dibenzo-P-Dioxins and Furans at the Part Per Trillion Level in United States Beef Fat Using High-Resolution Gas Chromatography/High-Resolution Mass Spectrometry. , Analytical Chemistry. American Chemical Society, Washington, DC, 68(4):647-652, (1996).

Canter, D., M. Lorber, C. Braverman, R. Warwick, J. Walsh, AND S. Washburn. Determining the "MARGIN of Incremental Exposure": An Approach to Assessing Non-Cancer Health Effects of Dioxins. , Organohalogen Compounds 38:313-319, (1998).

Lorber, M., D. Cleverly, J. Schaum, L. Phillips, G. Schweer, AND T. Leighton. Development and Validation of An Air-to-Beef Food Chain Model for Dioxin-Like Compounds. , SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT. Elsevier BV, AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, 156(1):39-65, (1994).

Lorber, M. Development of An Air-to-Leaf Vapor Phase Transfer Factor for Dioxins and Furans. , Organohalogen Compounds 24:179-186, (1995).

U.S. EPA. Dioxin Exposure Initiative (DEI). 1994.

U.S. EPA. Dioxin Exposure Initiative Ongoing Projects..

U.S. EPA. Dioxin Exposure Initiative Publications..

Lorber, M., V. Feil, D. Winters, AND J. Ferrario. Distribution of Dioxins, Furans, and Coplanar PCBs in Different Fat Matrices in Cattle. Organohalogen Compounds 32:337-344, (1997).

Basu, D., P. Durkin, AND D. Tullis. Drinking Water Criteria Document for 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-P-Dioxin (Final Draft). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C., EPA/600/X-84/194-1 (NTIS PB86117983).

EPA’s Science Plan for Activities Related to Dioxins in the Environment..

Lorber, M., D. Canter, AND D. Layland. Evaluating Terrestrial Food Chain Impacts Near Sources of Dioxin Release in U.S. EPA Risk Assessments. Organohalogen Compounds 48:264-268, (2000).

U.S. EPA. Evaluation of Dioxin in U.S. Cow's Milk. ,.

Lorber, M., J. Ferrario, G. Fries, AND D. Winters. Evidence of Feed Contamination Due to Sample Handling and Preparation During a Mass Balance Study of Dioxins in Lactating Cows in Background Conditions. Organohalogen Compounds 57:125-128, (2002).

U.S. EPA. Exposure and Human Health Evaluation of Airborne Pollution from the World Trade Center Disaster. ,.

U.S. EPA. Exposure and Human Health Reassessment of 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-P-Dioxin (TCDD) and Related Compounds National Academy Sciences (External Review Draft) (2004). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C., EPA/600/P-00/001Cb.

U.S. EPA. Framework for Application of the Toxicity Equivalence Methodology for Polychlorinated Dioxins, Furans, and Biphenyls in Ecological Risk Assessment. 2008.

Lorber, M., V. Wang, Y. Walker, AND P. Gillooly. Impacts of Dioxin Emissions from the Shinkampo Incinerator to the U.S. Naval Air Facility at Atsugi, Japan..

Lorber, M. Indirect Exposure Assessment at the U.S. EPA. Toxicology and Industrial Health 17(5): 145-156, (2001).

LORBER, M. Indirect Exposure Assessment at the United States Enronmental Protection Agency. , TOXICOLOGY AND INDUSTRIAL HEALTH. Princeton Scientific Publishers, Princeton, NJ, 17(5):145-156, (2001).

Lorber, M., R. G. Barton, D. L. Winters, K. M. Bauer, M. Davis, AND J. Palausky. Investigation of the Potential Release of Polychlorinated Dioxins and Furans from PCP-Treated Utility Poles. , Science of the Total Environment 290:15-39, (2002).

U.S. EPA. Journal Article: Anomalous Results from National Dioxin Air Monitoring Network..

U.S. EPA. Journal Article: Atmospheric Measurements of CDDs, CDFs, and Coplanar PCBs in Rural and Remote Locations of the U.S. for the Years 1998-2001 from the National Dioxin Air Monitoring Network (NDAMN). Cleverly, D.; Ferrario, J.;Byrne, C; Riggs, K.; Hartford, P. (ed.), Submitted to: ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY. American Chemical Society, Washington, DC, 41(5):1537-1544, (2007).

Byrne, C., J. Ferrario, D. Cleverly, D. Winters, AND A. Dupuy. Journal Article: Average Method Blank Quantities of Dioxin-Like Congeners and Their Relationship to the Detection Limits of the U.S. EPA's National Dioxin Air Monitoring Network (NDAMN). , Organohalogen Compounds 59:411-413, (2002).

LORBER, M., J. FERRARIO, AND C. BYRNE. Journal Article: EPA's National Dioxin Air Monitoring Network (NDAMN): Design, Implementation, and Final Results. , ATMOSPHERIC ENVIRONMENT. Elsevier Science Ltd, New York, NY, 77:311-317, (2013).

Lorber, M. AND L. Phillips. Journal Article: Infant Exposure to Dioxin-Like Compounds in Breast Milk. , ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH PERSPECTIVES 110:A325-A332, (2002).

Riggs, K., D. Cleverly, J. Ferrario, P. Hartford, AND D. Joseph. Journal Article: Quality Assurance Considerations for An Ambient Dioxin Monitoring Network. , Organohalogen Compounds 59:419-422, (2002).

U.S. EPA. Methodology for Assessing Health Risks Associated with Multiple Pathways of Exposure to Combustor Emissions. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-98/137, 1998.

U.S. EPA. National Cow Milk Survey for Persistent, Bioaccumulative and Toxic (PBT) Pollutants..

Gullett, B. AND J. Ryan. On-Road Sampling of Diesel Engine Emissions of Polychlorinated Dibenzo-P-Dioxin and Polychlorinated Dibenzofuran. Ecoinforma Press, Bayreuth, Germany, 1997.

Gullett, B. AND A. Touati. PCDD/F Emissions from Forest Fire Simulations. , Atmospheric Environment 37:803-813, (2003).

Oh, J. PCDD/F TEQ Indicators and Their Mechanistic Implications. Ecoinforma Press, Bayreuth, Germany, 2003.

COOPER, G. AND S. J. JONES. Pentachlorophenol and Cancer Risk: Focusing the Lens on Specific Chlorophenols and Contaminants. , ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH PERSPECTIVES. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), Research Triangle Park, NC, 116(8):1001-1008, (2008).

Roy, T. A., K. A. HAMMERSTROM, AND J. SCHAUM. Percutaneous Absorption of 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-P-Dioxin (Tcdd) from Soil (Journal Article). , JOURNAL OF TOXICOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH. Taylor & Francis, Inc., Philadelphia, PA, 71(23):1509-1515, (2008).

Lorber, M., P. Pinsky, P. Gehring, C. Braverman, D. Winters, AND W. Sovocool. Relationships Between Dioxins in Soil, Air, Ash, and Emissions from a Municipal Solid Waste Incinerator Emitting Large Amounts of Dioxins. , Chemosphere 37:2173-2197, (1998).

U.S. EPA. Relative Congener Scaling of Polychlorinated Dibenzo-P-Dioxins and Dibenzofurans to Estimate Building Fire Contributions in Air, Surface Wipes, and Dust Samples. , Joachim D. Pleil and Matthew N. Lorber (ed.), Submitted to: ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., Indianapolis, IN, 41(21): 7286 -7293, (2007).

U.S. EPA. Review of State Soil Cleanup Levels for Dioxin (December 2009). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-09/156, 2009.

Schrock, M., M. Armbruster, K. Riggs, J. Tabor, A. Doherty, AND M. Lorber. Simultaneous Determination of PCDD/PCDF and Dioxin-Like PCBs in Edible Vegetable Oils. , Organohalogen Compounds 27:386-390, (1996).

U.S. EPA. Summary of U.S. EPA Dioxin Workshop − Feb 2009. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-09/027, 2009.

Lorber, M., A. Eschenroeder, AND R. Robinson. Testing U.S. EPA's ISCST-Version 3 Model on Dioxins: A Comparison of Predicted and Observed Air and Soil Concentrations. , Atmospheric Environment 34:3995-4010, (2000).

U.S. EPA. The Development of a Quality Assurance Project Plan for the U.S. EPA Dioxin Exposure Initiative Program. ,.

Winters, D., S. Anderson, M. Lorber, J. Ferrario, AND C. Byrne. Trends in Dioxin and PCB Concentrations in Meat Samples from Several Decades of the 20th Century. Organohalogen Compounds 38:75-78, (1998).

Ferrario, J., C. Byrne, D. Cleverly, D. Winters, A. Dupuy, AND J. Schaum. U.S. EPA's National Dioxin Air Monitoring Network: Analytical Issues. , Organohalogen Compounds 50:35-39, (2001).

U.S. EPA. Urban Air Transect Study to Investigate Urban Areas as Sources of PCDDs and PCDFs to the Environment..

U.S. EPA. Volume I of the Estimating Exposure to Dioxin-Like Compounds (Executive Summary)..
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