Environmental Protection Agency Manipulations
Environmental Protection Agency Reassessment
1985, following a risk assessment, the US Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) classified dioxin as a "probable, highly potent human
carcinogen" based on animal data. According to EPA scientists: "When
the current data do not resolve the issue, EPA assessments employ
the assumption basic to all toxicological evaluation that effects
observed in animals may occur in humans and that effects observed
at high doses may occur at low doses, albeit to a lesser extent"
(Quoted in Fumento 1993, p. 53). Because the action of dioxin in
the human body was not understood the EPA assumed that there was
no safe level of exposure to dioxin and that its carcinogeneity
was directly proportional to the dose a person was exposed to. Standards
were set on this basis and resulted in extremely small levels of
dioxin being deemed to be unsafe. Other countries such as Canada
and some European countries took a less cautious approach and allowed
standards to be less stringent by 170 to 1700 times (Roberts 1991,
Michael, 1993, Science Under Siege: Balancing Technology
and the Environment (New York: William Morrow).
Leslie, 1991, 'Dioxin Risks Revisited', Science,
Vol. 251 (8 February), pp. 624-6.
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© 2003 Sharon