Department of Environmental Conservation

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Dioxin - Otto The Oxman


Air Villain: Otto "The Oxman"

Status: At Large

Description: Dioxin is a name for a group of compounds called chlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins. The most toxic dioxin is 2,3,7,8-TCDD.

Crime: 2,3,7,8-TCDD can cause cancer, liver damage, metabolic and hormonal changes and severe skin disease. Dioxins break down slowly and accumulate in the food chain. Eating less animal fat reduces exposure to dioxins.

Cause: Dioxins are released during chlorine bleaching of paper or when plastics and other material containing chlorines are burned. Industrial emissions have decreased 90% since 1987. Burning of household waste, such as in a burn barrel, is one of the country's largest sources of dioxin.