EPA report thrusts dioxins back into the spotlight

A long-awaited draft reassessment of the health risks posed by dioxins by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has left little room for complacency. The EPA has strengthened its characterisation of dioxins as probable human carcinogens, and warns that they may have adverse effects on development, reproduction and immune suppression at levels close to those to which the population is currently exposed. The reassessment contrasts strongly with the reassuring picture painted five years ago in the UK by the Departments of Environment and Health - and may cast a shadow over the Government's hopes to increase reliance on incineration as a waste disposal route.

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