July 21, 2005


Tiffany Harrington
(703) 741-5583

CDC Report Confirms Very Low Levels of Dioxins in Human Tissue

C. T. "Kip" Howlett, Jr., Executive Director of the Chlorine Chemistry Division of the American Chemistry Council®, released the following statement today:

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its Third National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals today, and the data confirm that dioxin levels in human tissue remain low. This news, in conjunction with evidence of significant dioxin declines in U.S. industrial emissions, sediments, foods and human tissue, should reassure the public. CDC affirms the new data support the observation that human blood levels of dioxins have decreased by more than eighty percent since the 1980s. In short, the dioxin challenge has been met, and success can been attributed to the triad of government regulations, industry voluntary efforts and environmental activism.

We note, with approval, that by collecting larger blood samples for the current study, the CDC was able to detect lower levels of dioxin than were possible in the agency's 2003 study. And while the CDC national exposure report is the first to give us a statistically representative glimpse of dioxin levels in the American population, many smaller studies already have demonstrated low and declining levels of dioxins in humans.

The CDC findings and those of other investigators show generational differences in dioxin levels. Older Americans have higher dioxin body levels than younger ones because they have lived through periods of higher environmental exposure. Importantly, levels in people of all ages are declining, and due to vastly lower current exposures, children born today will likely never attain the dioxin levels of their grandparents.

The CDC is careful to point out that the measurement of an environmental chemical in a person's blood or urine does not by itself mean that the chemical causes disease.

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) panel of experts is in the process of reviewing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) dioxin reassessment. According to the CDC, its new dioxin exposure information, "...will substantively improve risk assessments currently in progress to determine health risks to the U.S. population from exposure to this family of chemicals." The Chlorine Chemistry Division of the American Chemistry Council supports the NAS review, and believes it is crucial to harmonizing EPA's dioxin risk characterization with those of respected public health agencies worldwide. Overly conservative assumptions and selective use of the available data on dioxin have resulted in an EPA dioxin risk analysis that is inconsistent with the conclusions of other agencies.

The new CDC data are consistent with the EPA's recently released draft 2000 Dioxin Source Inventory that preliminarily shows an 89 percent decline in dioxin emissions since 1987. The Food and Drug Administration estimates our intake of dioxins has been cut in half since the mid-1990s, and is 90 percent lower than in 1970. With these and other examples of significant decline, it is not surprising that the new CDC data show that human body levels of dioxin continue to be low."

# # #

The Chlorine Chemistry Division of the American Chemistry Council is a national trade association based in Arlington, VA representing the manufacturers and users of chlorine and chlorine-related products. Chlorine is widely used as a disease-fighting disinfection agent, as a basic component in pharmaceuticals and myriad other products that are essential to modern life.

home | Dioxin TRI Data - Cl2 Sector | sources & trends | dioxin & health | q & a | links | contact us

Copyright © 1996 to Chlorine Chemistry Division of the American Chemistry Council. All Rights Reserved.
Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy

Back to Index