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Government Will Not Protect You From Toxic Fertilizer

Dioxins, highly toxic chemical compounds generated by manufacturing or burning, are known to cause cancer and damage to the neurological and immune systems of humans and animals, according to government and private experts. Dioxin is the airborne byproduct of burning plastics and medical wastes containing chlorine. These compounds infiltrate the food chain through grass and feed and then settle into the fat of livestock and poultry. The most toxic form of the chemical, known as TCDD, was the contaminant in Agent Orange, a defoliant used during the Vietnam War. Land-applied sewage is a major source of dioxin exposure in the United States, second only to backyard burning of plastics and other refuse that causes a chemical reaction and sends the toxic substance into the air.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, one in 100,000 Americans run the risk of contracting cancer each year because of exposure to dioxins. The EPA announced yesterday that it will not protect the public from these toxins. Environmentalists and academics have questioned the government's research methodology and said there is no excuse for not regulating dioxins in sewage sludge and monitoring their effects over a longer time period.

Washington Post October 18, 2003 Page A1

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