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Let’s Understand How Dioxins and Furans are Harmful to Human Health

1. Overview about Dioxins and Furans

Dioxins and Furans are chemically known as polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs) and dibenzofurans (PCDFs). They are two of the most lethal families of chemicals known to scientists. Their extreme toxicity is harmful to humans, animals and the environment making dioxins and furans testing, regulation and mitigation a grave concern for our planet. Dioxins and furans do not occur naturally but are created by both human and natural processes. They are capable of being transferred through water, air and soil and are present throughout the world-wide environment.

2. Causes of Dioxins and Furans

There are numerous sources of dioxins and furans across the globe. A smaller percentage of the overall amounts of the toxic chemicals are created during volcanic eruptions and forest fires and are carried hundreds and even thousands of miles through the air. However, the most lethal levels of these compounds are human made.

Improper incineration of waste and other products, the decolorization of wood pulp in the paper production process, metal smelting and the production of pesticides and herbicides are the most common causes of mass quantities through human industrial formation. The combustion engine creates these toxins meaning that automobiles and trucks on our roads are also major sources of dioxins and furans.

3. How Dioxins and Furans are Harmful to Human Health

Besides their tremendous toxicity, dioxins and furans are also very stable compounds and therefore very long lasting.  In fact they fall into a notorious category known as Persistent Organic Pollutants. Because of their persistence in the environment they have the bad habit of building up over time.  They get into our food and water supplies, we breathe them in, they are carried by air and water into our soil and build up – especially in our livestock.  As we ingest these toxins through our lungs and digestive system they have a tendency to build up in our adipose tissue creating a number of dioxin side effects.  

Humans ingest about 90% of our dioxins and furans through contaminated food because these toxins collect in the fats and fatty byproducts of animals we eat.  Dioxins and furans health effects on humans are many and varied but include:

  • Issues with liver function 
  • Weakened immune system
  • Weakened endocrine system
  • Changes in hormone levels
  • Skin lesions
  • The development of cancer
  • Decreased reproductive system functions
  • Problems with nervous system development 

These and other dioxin side effects are serious threats to our health and our lives.  It is also important to remember that these chemicals are everywhere in our environment.  We all have exposure to a variety of sources of dioxins and furans and therefore these toxins already reside in us and create stress on our bodies.  

4. What is the solution for this?

The leading sources of dioxins and furans exposure in humans are from eating meats, dairy products, drinking milk and eating eggs. Therefore a vegetarian diet would likely be a preventative measure against dioxin and furans poisoning for most of us. While there are steps we can take individually to reduce our ingestion of these chemicals, we must also advocate for the sources and concentrations of these chemicals to be identified and mitigated and future production to be eliminated.

Prevention of exposure is vital which requires that anything contaminated with these chemicals be properly incinerated to remove further exposure. Governmental regulations to reduce the development of these chemicals should be implemented around the world. And as for how to identify and mitigate concentrations of these chemicals we must continue to test for them in our soils, waters, indoor air and use mitigation strategies to remove them from our environments.

These processes are highly technical and require the most up to date knowledge and laboratory equipment for dioxins and furans testing to assess exposures. This is where Torrent Laboratory can provide you with the expertise and know how to discern possible exposure and mitigate potential contamination.

5. Torrent Laboratory’s Dioxins and Furans Testing

Dioxins and Furans are considered persistent pollutants. 2,3,7,8 TCDD is one of the most toxic substances on the planet. Dioxins and furans are not easy to remediate and can persist in the environment for a substantial length of time. As a result, there is a heightened focus on these substances for environmental site assessment and clean up. Dioxins and furans are also increasingly being included in the evaluation for real estate development and purchases.

Marine sediments and seafood products exposed to dioxin and furan streams can contain very high concentrations of PCDD/PCDF. Consequently, we’re seeing a significant increase in required monitoring of marine environments and seafood.

Torrent Lab offers a full list of dioxin and furan testing with the fastest turnaround time in North America.  Torrent Laboratory provides the most advanced capabilities in the region. Our full-service lab offers a host of advantages including: 

  • Highest certifications 
  • Fastest possible TAT in the industry
  • Unrivaled technical and customer support
  • Unparalleled on-time performance
  • Impeccable quality 
  • Competitive pricing 
  • Convenient geographic location

Trust Torrent as your premier environmental testing laboratory for California, Hawaii and beyond.