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Public Health Perspectives on Dioxin Risks: Two Decades of Evaluations

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The paper provides an overview of approaches to dioxin risk assessment employed by different agencies worldwide over the past 20 years. Our insights regarding understanding of the toxicity of dioxins have advanced tremendously in recent years; however, important data gaps still exist. More information on topics such as mechanism of interaction, effects at low levels of exposure, interspecies differences, and sensitive populations is needed. Some differences exist between USEPA's approach to dioxin assessment and that of other health organizations around the world. The authors conclude that USEPA's reassessment of dioxin and related compounds may place too much confidence in the ability to accurately predict cancer risks at low doses. Further, it is important to derive health-based guidance values for noncancer end points especially in accordance with emerging reports that reproductive and developmental end points are very sensitive to dioxins. A worldwide convergence on the health assessment value being around 1 to 4 pg/kg/day is noted.

Keywords: 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo- p -dioxin; dioxins; health guidance values; risk assessment

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/20028091056872

Affiliations: Division of Toxicology, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, USA

Publication date: April 1, 2002

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