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Daily News Archive
From January 26, 2001

National Toxicology Program Adds Dioxin to the List of Know Carcinogens

The National Toxicology Program announced last week the publication of an addendum to its Ninth Report on Carcinogens that adds 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin, also known as TCDD or Dioxin, to the list of substances "known to be human carcinogens." The Report on Carcinogens is a Congressionally mandated listing of known and reasonably anticipated human carcinogens. Its preparation is delegated to the National Toxicology Program, which is headquartered at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, by the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services. To read the NIH press release, visit their website at http://www.niehs.nih.gov/oc/news/dioxadd.htm.

This news also represents an important breakthrough in Beyond Pesticides' efforts to curtail or eliminate the use of the chemical wood preservative pentachlorophenol (penta). Penta, one of the most toxic chemicals known, is contaminated with dioxins, as well as furans and hexachlorobenzene. EPA is currently reevaluating the safety of the three major wood preservatives penta, creosote and copper chromium arsenic (CCA). The agency has linked all of three of these with health effects including cancer.

Beyond Pesticides reported on the Environmental Protection Agency's preliminary science chapter on penta in Pole Pollution, published in 1999. EPA found that children exposed to soil contaminated with penta leaching out of utility poles face a risk of cancer 220 times higher than EPA's acceptable level. EPA later admitted to Beyond Pesticides that the cancer risks would have to be adjusted because they failed to factor in the contaminants, including dioxins. Given that dioxin is a now a known carcinogen, those risks can only go up. For more information check out our reports Poison Poles, and Pole Pollution, both available on our website.