February 15, 2012
US environmental agency fails to launch January dioxin update
The US Environmental Protection Agency was not able to introduce new recommendations for the regulation of dioxins on January 31, according to local news.
The reassessment comes on the back the agency's involvement with assessing and advising US consumers and the public policy makers since 1985.
Dioxin is a catchall term for the 30 or so chemicals, including the notorious Agent Orange herbicide, that disrupt hormonal pathways, creating embryological disorders and potentially leading to cancer.
Dioxin emissions, despite having been driven back since the 1980s, continue to contaminate meat and dairy products, being principally emitted from waste incinerators, paper pulp producers, and copper smelters.
At issue in the reassessments, is the lower limits of dioxin exposure, and what constitutes a toxic does.
The WHO places the threshold at 2.3 picogrammes per kilogramme body weight daily; EPA's 2010 assessment calls for 0.7 picogrammes. A pictogramme is 10-15 kilogramme.
The EPA has yet to announce a new deadline for publishing its new assessment.