Dioxin (2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-para-dioxin)

EPA Maximum
Contaminant Level (MCL)
0.00000003 mg/L

Dioxin (2,3,7,8-TCDD) is an organic chemical with no commercial uses that occurs as a contaminant during the production of chlorinated organic compounds, including some herbicides. Dioxin (2,3,7,8-TCDD) was the contaminant found in the most toxic half of Agent Orange (2,4,5-T), the controversial defoliant used in the Vietnam War.

Dioxin typically arrives in water through waste incineration and discharge from factories.

Health Effects of Dioxin

The EPA reports that TCDD is highly toxic with acute exposure, causing “liver damage, weight loss, atrophy of [the] thymus gland and immunosuppression.”

The agency also warns that it is a potential carcinogen and can lead to reproductive difficulties with long term exposure:

Some people who drink water containing dioxin in excess of the maximum contaminant level [0.00000003 milligrams per Liter] over many years could experience reproductive difficulties and may have an increased risk of getting cancer.

Water Treatment for Dioxin

The EPA recommends granular activated carbon (GAC) for the treatment of dioxin.

Source: EPA, EPA (2), IARC, CDC, Photo: WikiMedia, author: Secl

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