More Dioxin Clean-Ups Might Result from New EPA Guidelines

Scores of sites around the nation could be targeted for environmental clean-up if the federal government adopts new dioxin regulations.

The government has already spent millions removing the threat of dioxin in sites around the country, even physically moving an entire community, Times Beach, Mo., in extreme cases. But officials at the Environmental Protection Agency feel that the even at levels previously deemed safe, dioxin can be hazardous. As a result, the agency has proposed stricter limits on dioxin levels, which would likely result in a further round of clean-up efforts of sites long-ago declared safe, The Associated Press reports.

“We’re driven by the need to protect against excessive risk of both cancer and non-cancer health concerns,” said Mathy Stanislaus, who works on solid waste and emergency response for the EPA. “We believe [the current standards] are not sufficiently protective and more stringent numbers are needed.”

Dioxins are a group of chemical wastes created during the manufacture of certain chemicals and in combustion processes, such as  waste incineration and smelting. The most hazardous form of dioxin was a contaminant in Agent Orange, the notorious defoliant used by the U.S. to clear jungles during the Vietnam war.

The EPA will issue a final decision on the proposal later this fall.

While many safety advocates applaud the proposed guidelines, some politicians and chemical industry representatives argue that the new rules are unnecessary and harmful.

“It could mean a great deal of cost and disruption to communities and municipalities who thought their issues had been resolved,” said David Fischer, a spokesman with the American Chemistry Council, an industry trade group. “And there will be little if any public health benefit.”

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One comment to “More Dioxin Clean-Ups Might Result from New EPA Guidelines”

  1. Barron

    The last morbidity/mortality study (2008) on 46,000 Australian Vietnam Army Veterans shows that they have a 7% better mortality rate than non vets. New Zealand veterans are also showing alarmingly good health.
    Strangely, they also have significantly less of the “accepted” Agent Orange cancers than the non veterans. It is time the Agent Orange myth was filed alongside the Y2K bug, Avian flu, Swine flu and other media generated alarmist stories.

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