Dioxins Program - Health Effects
This page last reviewed November 1, 2010
|Dioxins in California
|What are the Health Effects Associated with Exposure to Dioxins?|
|Studies have shown that exposure to dioxins can cause cancer or other non-cancer
health effects. Probable routes of exposure to dioxins are inhalation, ingestion, and skin exposure.
A nursing baby may also be exposed to dioxins through its mother's milk. Studies have shown that exposure
to dioxins has caused chloracne, liver toxicity, skin rashes, nausea, vomiting, and muscular aches and pains. The
immune system also appears to be very sensitive to dioxin toxicity. The Office of Environmental Health
Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has listed dioxin as a compound in which infants and children may be especially
susceptible to illness. Additional information on dioxin health effects for children can be found on OEHAA's
website at http://www.oehha.ca.gov/air/toxic_contaminants/pdf_zip/dioxin_Final.pdf.
In addition to the toxicity of dioxins there is concern about dioxins because of the long persistence in the environment
and in the body. Emissions into the air can result in deposition onto crops, grass, and feed. These deposited
dioxins are either eaten by humans directly or eaten by livestock and become a source of contamination for humans
in beef, poultry and dairy products. In addition, subsistence fisherman can have unusually high levels of dioxin.
Generally with dioxins, the potential health risk from what you breathe is relatively insignificant compared to
the potential risk from the food we eat or soil we incidentally ingest. For this reason, it is appropriate to conduct
a multipathway health risk assessment rather than just an inhalation-only health risk assessment. Information on
how to conduct health risk assessments can be found on OEHHA's website at: http://www.oehha.ca.gov/air/hot_spots/HRAguidefinal.html.
Dioxins Program | Air Toxics Program