A dioxin is a group of compounds that are chemically related. They are highly toxic—and unintentional—environmental pollutants. More often than not, they enter the environment through improper e-waste disposal.

Within humans, they cause developmental and reproductive damage to the bodily systems when present for periods of time. 

Dioxins also cause problems within the immune system because they interfere with the body’s hormones and could be a cancer risk when exposed to high volumes or long-term.

Understanding Dioxins

The level of toxicity varies based on the positioning and the number of chlorine atoms present. Since the term dioxins speak to a wide range of compounds that can be drastically different from one another, the TEF, or toxic equivalency factor, was created to orchestrate regulatory control and risk assessment.

Pure dioxins appear as white, crystalline needles. They typically get attached to dust and soil particles that someone can’t see with the naked eye. Once they get dispersed into the air, they don’t break down easily.

Where Do Dioxins Come From?

Dioxins are often a product of industrial chlorination processes, a product of specific herbicides, or derived from incinerated municipal waste. The level of toxicity of chemicals like PCBs or other dioxins happens to be measured in comparison to TCDD.

The main source of dioxins is that they accumulate as an unintended by-product of many industrial processes that have to do with chlorine. Something many people don’t think about when disposing of electronics and other e-waste is that improper disposal of these items can cause dioxins to release into the surrounding environment.

The proper recycling or disposal of e-waste will help prevent people from being exposed to dioxins. Working with a recycling company that knows how to handle this waste properly can prevent health issues related to these toxins.

Human Exposure

Humans exposed to high levels of dioxins in the short term may experience skin lesions. These lesions can appear as patchy, darkened sections of the skin or as chloracne. Alarmingly, even short-term exposure to high levels of dioxins can alter liver function.

Monitoring the proper disposal of e-waste is the best way to limit exposure to the environment, and thus the surrounding population. When handled safely and securely, dioxin waste won’t enter the human food chain and negatively impact health.

After all, long-term exposure to high levels of dioxin can impair a person’s immune system, as mentioned above.

In particular, the long-term effects of dioxins on the human body can be seen via the endocrine system, but there hasn’t been enough study done to know how dioxins impact the rest of the human body. The complex composition makes it hard to determine how these toxins affect most of the body, so proper disposal of e-waste will prevent people from suffering.

There is no denying that dioxins are harmful to the body from long-term exposure, and even short-term exposure can negatively impact an individual’s health. Properly disposing of e-waste is crucial to preventing negative health effects from this toxin.

Newtech Recycling can help with that. We dispose of old electronics the right way. Get in touch with us now for a quote on your recycling project.

Related Terms: Carcinogens, Zero Waste, ITAD

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