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Understanding risk: the case of dioxin

Ellen K. Silbergeld
From: Science & Medicine: Volume 2 Number 6: Page 48 (December 1995)

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Abstract: Certain chlorinated dioxins, which are by-products of industrial processes or pollutants from waste incineration, are known to persist in the environment. At high enough doses, these and similar chemicals are carcinogenic in laboratory animals. In applying the results of animal experiments to ordinary human exposure levels, general assumptions must be made about the mechanism of action in order to choose among mathematical models for extrapolating high-dose to low-dose effects. Teh uncertainties clouding these assumptions leave the risk of dioxin exposure difficult to evaluate, on either an individual or a population basis.

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