Dioxins

The most toxic dioxin: 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin or TCDD
The most toxic dioxin: 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin or TCDD
The term “dioxins” refers to the family of 210 compounds of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and polychlorinated dibenzofurans, including the most toxic, namely, 2,3,7,8-tetrachloro-dibenzo-p-dioxin or 2,3,7,8-TCDD.  Dioxins are persistent organic pollutants covered under Annex C of the Stockholm Convention[JE1] .

 

Distribution and Persistence of Dioxins

Dioxins are capable of being transported thousands of kilometers away across national boundaries. When incinerators release dioxins into the air or water, dioxins are removed from the atmosphere via wet or dry deposition onto surface water, soil or vegetation. Dioxins in soil tend to adsorb strongly to organic matter. Estimates of the environmental half-life of TCDD on soil range from 9 to 15 years on the soil surface, and 25...read more

Bioaccumulation of Dioxins

Dioxins are readily bioaccumulated and move up the food chain. For example, dioxins are absorbed by algae which are eaten by sediment-dwelling organisms such as midges and stonefly nymphs, which in turn are eaten by fish. The bioconcentration factor (BCF) is the ratio of the concentration in an organism over the concentration in water. For example, the BCF of 2,3,7,8-TCDD in fish exposed for 71 days has been measured at 128,000 for fathea...read more

Health Effects of Dioxins

Animal studies indicate that toxicological effects of dioxins take place at extremely low concentrations. For example, the lowest observable adverse effect levels for increase abortions, endometriosis, decreased off-spring survival, and other adverse effects on Rhesus monkeys are in the order of 0.00065 microgram per kilogram body weight per day. 

TCDD has been classified a carcinogen by the International Agency for the Re...read more

Dioxins and Medical Waste Incineration


Dioxins are unintentionally produced during incineration of medical waste.  In 1995, medical waste incinerators were the third largest source of dioxins in the country. Medical waste incineration was one of four processes that accounted for 62% of dioxin emissions in Europe.  It is generally believed that dioxins are formed in ...read more

The UNDP GEF Global Healthcare Waste Project developed presentations on Dioxins and Incineration, and on Incineration Requirements Under the Stockholm Convention.  The Project demonstrated non-incineration treatment technologies  that do not generate dioxins.