Representative Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) along with 72 members of Congress today sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson requesting the finalization and release of the long delayed health assessment of dioxin.
“Almost 40 years ago we called a code red on Agent Orange and dioxin. Despite worldwide agreement about the toxicity of these chemicals and their persistence in the environment, EPA still has yet to release its findings on how dangerous these chemicals are to public health,” said Rep. Markey. “This much-needed assessment should not languish at the EPA as long as this dangerous chemical lasts in our food chain. The EPA should release its report without further delay.”
The EPA completed its first health assessment of dioxin in 1985, finding that the cancer risk to humans from dioxin exposure is by far the highest defined for any man-made chemical. This finding was challenged by the industries whose operations would be affected by any limits on dioxin releases into the environment.
EPA subsequently began a review of the health impacts of dioxins that has been in process for more than 20 years.
During this time both the World Health Organization and the National Toxicology Program have classified dioxin as a human carcinogen.