are by-products of many industrial processes including waste incineration,
chemical manufacturing, chlorine bleaching of pulp and paper, and
smelting. In fact any process in which chlorine and organic matter
are brought together at high temperatures can create dioxin. It
is for this reason that Greenpeace and other environmental groups
have called for phasing out of the chlorine industry.
health and environmental effects of dioxin have been the subject
of fierce debate for more than 20 years. Dioxin earned a reputation
as "one of the most toxic substances know to humans" as a result
of tests on animals which found that one form of dioxin, 2,3,7,8-TCDD,
was "the most potent carcinogen ever tested." There are 75 other
dioxin compounds, apart from 2,3,7,8-TCDD, of varying toxicity.
the 1950s, when dioxin was discovered to be a contaminant in herbicides,
and 1995, when the EPA concluded that the general population may
be exposed to unacceptably high levels of dioxins, corporations
have set out to confuse the public and influence government regulation
of dioxin. They have used all the mechanisms described in this book
to achieve this: corporate front groups, grassroots organising,
strategic lawsuits against public participation, conservative think
tanks, public relations firms, 'educational' materials and the media.
This chapter describes how they have done this.
their introduction to Dying from Dioxin Lois Marie Gibbs
and Stephen Lester describe the dioxin story as one that "includes
coverups, lies, and deception; data manipulation by corporations
and government as well as fraudulent claims and faked studies...It's
a story of money and power; of how corporations influence government
actions and how this collusion affects the public."
...back to top
EPA Regulations for Dioxin
Lois Marie and The Citizens Clearinghouse for Hazardous Waste, 1995,
Dying from Dioxin (Boston, MA: South End Press).
Jack, 1995, Dow
Brand Dioxin: Dow Makes You Poison Great Things,