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Dioxins and dibenzofurans

Dioxins and dibenzofurans are chlorinated environmental toxins which are sometimes referred to jointly as "dioxins". The complete names are polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDD) and polchlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDF).

Dioxins and dibenzofurans are formed in the combustion of organic matter together with materials that contain chlorine, e.g. PVC plastic. They do not have any areas of use but are formed as contaminants in the manufacturing of other chlorinated organic substances. The number of imaginable substances that can be formed is 210, and 17 of them are regarded as particularly toxic. The most toxic is 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD). Dioxins and dibenzofurans have been detected in large parts of the environment, in fish and in mammals and in human breastmilk. Some of the contaminants may also be formed naturally in the environment, but the quantities are far smaller than from industrial processes.

Dioxins and dibenzofurans are among the substances included in the Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants (POPs).

A specified interim target within the Swedish Environmental Quality Objective "A Non Toxic environment" has been established for dioxins. The aim of this interim target is to reduce the dioxin concentration in food.

Further information:
Swedish Environmental Protection Agency
Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)