Chlorine, Pollution and the Parents of Tomorrow

by Ann Link

Burning organochlorines, as in incineration, spreads dioxins and similar compounds efficiently into the air. They fall on pastures and hence enter our food chain through farms. Dioxins enter our river systems through contamination and seepage from processes like timber treatment with the organochlorine wood preservation, PCP. They end up in sediments where fish feed, and the toxic waste returns to us in our food.

The levels of dioxin-like compounds now present in human bodyfat in industrialized countries appear to be unprecedented in human history. In the UK, our total levels of these compounds are comparable with those found in the USA. In addition, our levels of dioxins and furans alone, expressed in terms of the most toxic dioxin, 2,3,7,8 - TCDD, are similar to levels of TCDD which actually cause behavioural changes in rhesus monkey babies.

Effects like those seen in the USA are almost certainly occuring here in a small percentage of the child population, especially where there is high fish intake and raised levels of dioxins and furans in milk. If even 1% of UK children are affected, this represents thousands of children with what the USA researchers refer to as "diminished potential".


Published in 1988 by:

The Women's Environmental Network

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