The Environmental Protection Agency has missed its own deadline to release a major report on the health effects of dioxins. Dioxins are a class of toxic chemicals.
The EPA says dioxins are likely to cause cancer in humans. Since the mid-1980’s, the EPA has been working to define just how toxic dioxins are. Over the years, the agency has released drafts of the report. These drafts have been picked apart by scientists and industry. Then, the EPA goes back to working on it.
Last year, the EPA decided to split its dioxin assessment into two parts. One part will look at cancer risks; the other part will look at non-cancer health risks. The agency had promised to release the report on non-cancer effects by the end of January. But they missed that deadline.
The EPA did not want to be recorded for this story. They would only say they’re “working to finalize the non-cancer health assessment for dioxin as expeditiously as possible.”
Living with dioxin pollution
People in central Michigan have lived with dioxin pollution for more than three decades. The pollution is largely from a Dow Chemical plant in Midland. We’ve previously reported that EPA’s dioxin assessment could affect how much dioxin Dow might have to clean up.
Michelle Hurd Riddick is with the Lone Tree Council. It’s an environmental advocacy group based in Saginaw.
“We need our government to issue a clear scientific statement and report on the toxicity of this chemical. But unfortunately, it appears it’s probably politics as usual. And the monied interests, the lobbyists, they have the access, they have the influence and you know, public health be damned.”
The EPA has been under pressure from industry groups.