What Would Rachel Carson’s #1 Toxic Chemical be Today? Dioxin
Rachel Carson’s concerns were that toxins “break the connections of life.” Her 1962 book, Silent Spring, began the Environmental Movement in the U.S. Rachel Carson’s warnings were about Chlorinated Hydrocarbons such as DDT, the most dangerous chemical of her time. Today, those same dangerous chlorinated hydrocarbons appear in industrial solvents, pesticides, and our nonstick pans and cookware, patented as Teflon, but now manufactured by many brands.
Today’s #1 toxic chemicals — besides nuclear — are Organochlorides called Dioxins. They are mutagenic, carcinogenic, and have deleterious effects on the environment, and on human reproductive, immune, and nervous systems. Dioxins are the DDT of today!
Dioxins are the by-products of a wide range of manufacturing processes that include smelting, chlorine bleaching of paper pulp, and the manufacturing of some herbicides, germicides and pesticides.
Dioxins are some of the most toxic chemicals known on earth. They commonly appear in our lakes and rivers, in breastmilk, and in our tampons, facial and toilet paper, disposable diapers, and paper towels. Once dioxins enter the body, they last a long time because of their chemical stability and their ability to be absorbed by fat tissue, where they are then stored in the body. More than 90% of human exposure is through food, mainly meat and dairy products, fish and shellfish. Contaminated animal feed is often the root-cause of food contamination. Babies can be exposed through breast milk.
Dioxins are highly toxic and can cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and also cause cancer. The complications that these products cause may not become evident for years or decades.
“In the early 1990’s, the Endometriosis Association found that 79% of a group of monkeys developed endometriosis after exposure to dioxin in their food during a research study over ten years earlier. The severity of endometriosis found in the monkeys was directly related to the amount of T.C.D.D. (2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin — the most toxic dioxin) to which they had been exposed. Monkeys that were fed dioxin in amounts as small as five parts per trillion developed endometriosis. In addition, the dioxin-exposed monkeys showed immune abnormalities similar to those observed in women with endometriosis.” The Endometriosis Association
Due to the omnipresence of dioxins, all people have background exposure and a certain level of dioxins in their body. Due to the high toxic potential of this class of compounds, the World Health Organization (WHO) says that efforts need to be undertaken to reduce current background exposure.
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