BONIOR TO EPA: FINISH DIOXIN REPORT
Congressman says delay in health risk assessment threatens families
June 17, 2002 Contact: Bob Allison, (586) 469-3232
U.S. Rep. David Bonior said it is time for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to finish and release a long-delayed report on the health effects of dioxin and begin developing policies that will protect the public's health.
In a letter this month to EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman, Bonior and other lawmakers expressed concern about the more than 10 year lag in releasing the report.
"The public release of the dioxin assessment is long overdue," Bonior said. "It is time to finish it and let it see the light of day. We already know dioxin is used to kill bugs as a pesticide. It doesn't take a decade to figure out that we need tough, aggressive measures to crack down on it."
Dioxin is a group of highly toxic chemicals that are formed primarily as an industrial waste byproduct. Dioxin is known to cause numerous non-cancer health problems, including reproductive, immunological and developmental effects.
Dioxin contamination in the Tittabawassee floodplain in the Midland and Saginaw area has raised serious health risk concerns. TCDD, the compound found in Agent Orange and at Love Canal, New York, is one of the toxic members of the dioxin family.
The EPA has been studying the sources and health effects of dioxin for nearly 20 years, completing its first health assessment of dioxin and related chemical compounds in 1985. However, facing pressure to review its findings, which showed considerable risks to human health, EPA announced it would conduct a reassessment of the health effects of dioxin.
The dioxin reassessment has been underway since 1991. A full year ago, the EPA's Science Advisory Board recommended the agency complete and release the report by the end of the summer of 2001. Yet at this time, it still has not been finished and released.