Dioxin Internet Rumors Debunked

September 2004

Two rumors concerning dioxin are circulating in cyberspace. Some of the e-mails, sent by well-meaning individuals as warnings to family and friends, cite Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Walter Reed Army Medical Center as sources of information. What are these dioxin rumors and what is "the real deal?"

Dioxin Rumor #1: Freezing water in plastic bottles causes dioxin to migrate into the water.

Dioxin Fact: According to the American Plastics Council®, freezing water in plastic bottles does not cause dioxin to migrate into water. There is no reason to suspect that dioxins are present in plastic bottles in the first place. Dioxins are a family of compounds that are largely produced by combustion at extremely high temperatures-well above 700 degrees Fahrenheit-a far cry from water's freezing temperature of 32 degrees Fahrenheit. According to Professor Rolf Halden of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, "Freezing actually works against the release of chemicals. Chemicals do not diffuse as readily in cold temperatures, which would limit chemical release if there were dioxins in plastic, and we don't think there are."

Dioxin Rumor #2: Microwaving foods in plastic causes dioxins to migrate into the foods.

Dioxin Fact: There is no scientific evidence that dioxins are present in plastic wrap or containers, so there should be no leaching of these compounds into microwaved foods. Nevertheless as a matter of food safety, it is important to use only microwave-safe plastics in microwave ovens. The U.S. Department of Agriculture invites the public to learn about microwaving food safely at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OA/pubs/fact_microwave.htm.

For Additional Information:

American Plastics Council [On-Line] Available:

Mangialetti, Nadia (June 27, 2002). "Perilous Plastic?" American Council on Science and Health. [On-Line] Available: http://www.acsh.org/healthissues/newsID.127/healthissue_detail.asp

S.C. Johnson Response to Internet Rumor on Plastics in Microwave

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