DIOXIN: Alliance Hosts ‘People’s Hearing’ to Discuss Chemical’s Effects
Stepping up its efforts to reduce dioxin at facilities where it is produced, the California Zero Dioxin Exposure Alliance is conducting the "People's Hearing on Dioxin, Health and Environmental Justice" in the Oakland City Hall tonight, the Contra Costa Times reports. Dioxin is a family of chemicals that is produced during burning, as well as industrial processes, and can cause cancer, learning disabilities, immune system disorders and reproductive problems. The alliance aims to present facts to a panel of federal, state and regional officials about dioxin's impact on health, review the Bay Area's dioxin problems and reveal strategies for protecting residents and chemical workers, as well as for holding government agencies and industries accountable. This hearing is the second sponsored by the alliance, which began calling for regulations in 1997. Cancer survivors, individuals who fish in the San Francisco Bay and others from Richmond to San Francisco's Bay View-Hunter's Point neighborhood will testify before the panel. Residents are expected to speak about the ill effects they fear from living near refineries that produce dioxin. Regional and federal authorities have not pinpointed the exact sources of dioxin pollution, which can come from oil refineries, incinerators, motor vehicles, fireplaces, municipal sewage and storm water runoff. Some scientists have called dioxin "the most dangerous known chemical, with minute doses capable of harming people." Industry officials counter, saying that those fears are "overblown," as "small concentrations of dioxin are found in air, water and food around the globe" (Masten, 2/23).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.