The first two persistent organic
pollutants that we considered, PCBs/PBDEs and Aldrin/Dieldrin,
were intentionally manufactured to meet specific consumer needs.
This is not the case with dioxins and furans. Among the most toxic
chemicals known, these compounds are not intentionally produced,
but rather are byproducts of chemical and combustion processes.
The primary path by which dioxins/furans enter the environment
is through the air, where forest fires and incineration of hazardous,
medical and municipal wastes are major sources. Dioxins/furans
are discharged to water by pulp and paper mills that use chlorine
to make the paper whiter.
Like many other toxic substances, dioxins and furans,
are persistent and have a tendency to bioaccumulate, making them
of particular environmental significance. Studies of health impacts
on humans are limited. Dioxins/furans are known to cause cancer and
to disrupt reproduction and development in animals. One of the major
dioxin issues in the State of Michigan relates to contamination in
the flood plain of the Tittabawassee River downstream of Dow Chemical
Company. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and Dow
have recently reached an agreement which will lead to cleanup of
dioxin contamination in Midland, along the Tittabawassee River, the
Saginaw River, and Saginaw Bay (see Explore).
Dioxin and the Tittabawassee - an industry perspective
and the Tittabawassee – a government
Dioxin and the Tittabawassee - a property owner's