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Open barrel burning of trash is now the primary source of dioxin released through human agency, while modern incinerators make a comparatively negligible contribution.
Certain metal refining processes also lead to dioxin generation.
Alternatives to the bleaching of paper with free chlorine have further reduced or eliminated dioxin production.
The dioxin contribution of municipal and medical waste incineration has decreased by over 90 percent because of technological advances in waste disposal.
We will never know exactly what level of dioxins Price’s healthy primitives or other premodern societies were exposed to.
However, since natural sources of dioxins like volcanoes and, more significantly, forest fires, are now primary sources of dioxins, and since pre-modern populations would be expected to have additional exposure through the direct inhalation of fumes from the incineration of heating and cooking materials (living, for example, in thatched houses without chimneys, as Price described the primitive Gaelics), as well as the use of incinerated materials as soil fertilizer (such as slash-and-burn techniques or the use of smoke-impregnated thatch as a fertilizer, both described by Dr.
This argument focuses on a class of chemicals called dioxins, and suggests that in the modern world, overburdened by pollutants, these fat-soluble chemicals accumulate specifically in the fatty tissue of animal products, making a vegetarian–even vegan–diet a necessity for those living in the modern world.
A “toxicity equivalency factor” (TEF) relates the degree of toxicity of a specific PCDD, PCDF or PCB to the toxicity of the prototypical TCDD, and the TEF is then multiplied by the number of molecules of that particular dioxin compound in a food to yield a “toxicity equivalent quantity” (TEQ).
The sum of TEQs from all dioxin compounds within a given foodstuff estimates the presumed degree of toxicity contained within that foodstuff.
A higher amount of TEQs doesn’t necessarily mean that there is a greater absolute quantity of dioxins in the food, since the TEQ gives greater weight to the more potent dioxins.
Price), it is not unreasonable to conclude that we are now approaching a level of dioxin exposure similar to that of pre-industrial populations.
Even by conservative estimates, no one in the US is currently consuming a level of dioxins that would be expected to exert physiological harm.