Health effects of exposure to Dioxin.
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The most common effects of dioxin are summarised below:
The most clearly established health effect of dioxin in humans is a skin eruption called Chloracne. The Seveso incident in 1976 contaminated the vicinity with dioxin and caused many cases of chloracne.
Dioxin can cause burning, blurring and more seriously blindness in those who suffer exposure to it. Below is a photo of 2 victims.
Dioxin has caused both the Vietnamese and Veterans to father a greater percentage of children with birth defects.
A study in 1987 of Vietnam ground troops who served in sprayed areas revealed that they averaged 4 parts per trillion (ppt) of dioxin in their blood. The half-life of dioxin in the body is 6-10 years so assuming that these men got all their dioxin exposure in Vietnam, they would have had some 20 ppt (the maximum permissible amount in U.S. civilians) at that time. However, this assumption is almost certainly false, as Dioxins are produced whenever organic matter is burned (backyard barbecues, municipal incinerators, wood-burning stoves). Furthermore, 4 ppt of dioxin was also found in the blood of an otherwise matched group of veterans who did not serve in Vietnam. Civilians with no known exposure to TCDD should not have serum levels of TCDD exceeding 20 ppt. The highest level found in persons living near Seveso was 1,800 ppt.
The health of Vietnam veterans is still being monitored. Those that were directly involved in the spraying itself (called "Operation Ranch Hand") are now developing diabetes at a significantly higher rate than the others.
Above is a veteran who has been confined to a wheelchair.
A summary of the reported health effects of exposure to Dioxin can be found at: