To the Editor:
In an article titled, “Proposed Dioxin Limit Draws Farm Concerns” (accessed via the URL found below) it is stated that the agriculture and food processing industries have written to President Obama expressing concern that the draft US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) dioxin reassessment sets forth a dioxin exposure standard that would cause consumers to avoid foods containing significant quantities of animal fat.
The proposed EPA reference dose certainly would cause consumers to consider reducing their intake of animal fats.
This is exactly what is needed to reduce the unacceptably high level of disease risk imposed by current levels of food supply contamination.
The reference dose published in the dioxin reassessment applies to non-cancer endpoints.
A cancer protective reference dose would be lower than the proposed reference dose.
Our organization supports the publication of a cancer protective reference dose. EPA scientists have reviewed the state of knowledge scientific literature on the subject of dioxin exposure disease outcome. The EPA’s Science Advisory Board Dioxin Review Panel has also reviewed this literature.
As an expert in the subject area of quantitative cancer risk assessment, I concur with these scientists.
The reference dose set forth in the draft dioxin reassessment provides a reasonable standard for human dioxin exposure in so far as non-cancer endpoints are concerned.
Current levels of dioxin in the US food supply are not safe.
People need to reduce their dioxin exposure to reduce risk of developing a series of diseases and conditions associated with dioxin exposure, including: cancer, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, immune system dysfunction and abnormal sexual development.
The food industry is seeking to derail the use of scientific knowledge to protect public health. Industry’s motivation for complaining about losses in sales of animal fat foods is solely monetary.
The federal government must not allow corporate fears of lost profits to hinder the use of scientific knowledge to reduce disease burden in the American population. Public health decision makers must take into account the fact that dioxins are a subgroup of the POPs.
Considering the quantity of disease risk imposed by dioxin exposure, it is clear that total POPs exposure resultant from consumption of animal fats imposes far more than an acceptable quantity of disease risk.
Informed consumers will choose to reduce their consumption of animal fats because of their desire to reduce dioxin exposure. Reducing animal fat consumption will reduce exposure to the entire array of POPs, including dioxins.
Thus, consumers will be protected from dioxin exposures as well as total POPs exposures when they act on the EPA reference dose.
Cancer Action NY has written to the President encouraging him to utilize all of the powers of his office to insure that the American public is provided with a final dioxin reassessment, which sets forth reference doses for both non-cancer and cancer endpoints.
We are very hopeful that President Obama will take action to bring about immediate finalization of this critical public health protection document.
Donald Hassig, Colton