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Oakland City Council passes resolution on dioxin reduction

Date sent:          Wed, 3 Feb 1999 03:26:16 -0800
Send reply to:      Hormone Mimics Discussion

2 February 1999

Oakland's City Council unanimously passed a resolution tonight entitled,
"Establishing a Regional Task Force and Policy on Dioxin, Public Health,
and the Environment."  Oakland becomes the first city in the country to
pass a resolution whose intent is the elimination of dioxin emissions
wherever possible.  The resolution was introduced and skillfully
shepherded to passage by Councilmember Nancy Nadel.

Davis Baltz



Whereas, the term dioxin represents a group of chemicals which includes
furan and biphenyl Compounds1 with the most well-known dioxin,
2,3,7,8-TCDD, believed to be the single most carcinogenic chemical known
to science2;

Whereas, dioxin is a toxic waste byproduct that occurs when chlorinated
waste is burned and when other organic chemicals that contain chlorine are
manufactured and which in itself has no commercial or industrial use1;

Whereas, dioxin is dangerous to human health, is ubiquitous in the
worldwide environment1 and is a known human carcinogen3;

Whereas, the U.S.  EPA estimates that the lifetime risk of getting cancer
from dioxin exposure is above generally accepted safe levels4, and the
U.S. EPA's Dioxin Reassessment has found dioxin 300,000 times more potent
as a carcinogen than DDT (the use of which was restricted in the U.S. in

Whereas, dioxin is an endocrine disrupting chemical affecting thyroid and
steroid hormones and almost every hormone system examined has been shown
to be altered by dioxin in some cell-type, tissue or developmental

Whereas,  dioxin has been linked to endometriosis7,  immune system
impairment, diabetes, neurotoxicity, birth defects (including fetal
death), decreased fertility, testicular atrophy and reproductive
dysfunction in both women and men6,8;

Whereas, dioxin exposure is significant and universal; over 90% of human
exposure to dioxin occurs through diet9,10 and every person in the world
now carries a "body burden" of dioxin5,8;

Whereas, Americans ingest a daily amount of dioxin that is already 300-600
times higher than the EPA's so-called "safe" dose5,8 and the U.S. EPA
estimates that eating just a quarter pound of Bay fish daily causes cancer
risks to increase to a level of nearly one in 1,00011;

Whereas, Oakland residents who consume fish from the Bay are at additional
risk12; dioxin contamination in fish reaches health advisory levels
throughout the San Francisco Bay13; and, San Francisco Bay fish consumers
are predominantly low income and people of color12;

Whereas, dioxin is found in the breast milk of woman worldwide with the
highest concentrations found in women from industrialized countries14 ,
and nursing infants take in 50-100 times more dioxin than adults due to
drinking contaminated breast milk15;

Whereas, workers often face disproportionately high exposures to toxic
and/or hazardous substances found in their work places, and often there
are alternative technologies that can reduce or eliminate the exposure;

Whereas, pollution prevention programs are good for the economy because
they result in a net increase in employment, facilitating the just
transition of displaced workers from jobs in dioxin-creating industries to
jobs in pollution prevention and recycling industries;

Whereas, respected expert associations and agencies including the
California Medical Association16, the American Public Health
Association17, the Chicago Medical Society18 and the International Joint
Commission19, comprised of the governments of Canada and the U.S., have
agreed upon the need to reduce or eliminate dioxin in the environment;

Whereas, dioxin has been detected in measurements of treated waste water
discharged from pollution sources in the Bay Area20 and the San Francisco
Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board has resolved that dioxin is a
high priority for immediate action to restore water quality and protect
public health21;

Whereas, major sources of dioxin pollution include medical and hazardous
waste incineration, the production of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics,
biomass combustion, diesel exhaust, pesticide manufacturing, paper
production, oil refineries22, and urban street runoff23, municipal waste
incineration, secondary copper smelting, sewage sludge incineration,
residential wood burning, forest fires, industrial wood burning, cement

Whereas, the healthcare industry is one of the largest producers of dioxin
in the United States24, and Bay Area and out-of-state public health care
institutions generate significant amounts of medical waste that threatens
or harms public health, fishing and aquatic life throughout San Francisco

Whereas no regulatory authority considers the additive effect of all the
dioxin sources on the surrounding community,

Whereas, a strategy which eliminates the production of dioxin is the only
viable course in protecting public health since once dioxin is produced,
it is very difficult to destroy or degrade19,25;

Whereas, adverse health effects from dioxin exposure can be reduced
through purchasing decisions that reduce or eliminate products that
produce dioxin (such as PVC-free plastic or chlorine-free paper); and
alternative, less toxic options exist for many products that create

Whereas, pollution prevention is recognized as the most effective waste
management strategy26;

Whereas, careful waste segregation has been proven to reduce dramatically
the medical waste requiring incinceration27 and cost-effective
technologies which are alternatives to incineration exist for almost all
the waste that does need special handling28;

Whereas, dioxin is a clear threat to public health and the environment,
zero exposure is the only strategy that truly protects public health29,
local dioxin contamination has a disproportionate impact on low-income and
minority communities30,31; and dioxin exposure affects all residents of
Oakland and the Bay Area32;

Whereas,  that the City of Oakland has sent a letter to the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency supporting its proposal to require
community right to know reporting of dioxin releases and supporting the
National Environmental Justice Advisory Committee's advice to make dioxin
pollution of San Francisco Bay a high priority under Clean Water Act
section 303(d).

Therefore, be it:

Resolved, that the City of Oakland intends by this resolution to encourage
elimination of dioxin emissions wherever possible; and be it

Further Resolved, that the City of Oakland designates dioxin pollution as
a high priority for immediate action to restore water, air, soil, and food
quality and protect public health; and be it

Further Resolved, that the City of Oakland will work with other local
governments to convene a regional task force to identify and quantify the
sources of regional dioxin pollution, including sources from all municipal
practices; this task force would also develop dioxin pollution prevention
strategies along with any associated cost implications, and make any
further recommendations to implement the intent of this resolution (the
elimination of dioxin); and be it

Further Resolved, that the City of Oakland intends to implement dioxin
pollution prevention practices in all waste management and recycling
programs by City departments, and encourage such pollution prevention
practices in all hospitals and businesses that operate in the City; and be

Further Resolved, that the City of Oakland promotes less-toxic,
non-chlorinated, sustainable alternative products and processes, such as
chlorine-free paper and PVC-free plastics, to the extent possible;  and be

Further Resolved, that the City of Oakland urges Oakland health care
institutions to reduce PVC use and eventually become PVC-free; and be it

Further Resolved, that the City of Oakland forwards this resolution, and
encourages the Port of Oakland to adopt a similar resolution; and be it

Further Resolved, that city staff will recommend to council ways the city
can prevent dioxin pollution; and be it

Further Resolved, that the City of Oakland is committed to protecting
Oakland jobs and therefore will pursue dioxin reduction practices that do
not cause workers to become unemployed; and be it

Further Resolved, that the City of Oakland will send a letter to
Oakland-based health care institutions, to encourage them to phase out the
use of PVC products; and be it

Further Resolved,  that the City of Oakland send a letter to the Bay Area
Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) supporting zero dioxin emissions
and zero dioxin exposure and urging the BAAQMD to eliminate dioxin
pollution into the air; and be it

Further Resolved,  that the City of Oakland send a letter encouraging the
Regional Water Quality Board to exercise its full power and jurisdiction,
as intended by the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Act and the federal Clean
Water Act, to protect the quality of water from degradation and to
implement a plan to phase out dioxin at its sources.

Dioxin Resolution Citations:

1. Courture, L. et al., 1990.  A Critical Review of the Developmental
Toxicity and Teratogenicity of 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-Dioxin: Recent
Advances Toward Understanding the Mechanism. Teratology 4l:619-627, 1990.
2. Healing the Harm:  Eliminating the Pollution from Health Care
Practices, Health Care Without Harm Campaign Report, 1997; and Huff, 1994.
3. International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health
Organizations, United Nations, 1997. National Toxicology Program Board of
Scientific Counselors of the National Institute of Environmental Health
Sciences, 1997. 4. Mariani, Jay.  Dioxin Fact Sheet, Environmental Law and
Justice Clinic, Golden Gate University, San Francisco, 1998. 5. US EPA. 
Risk Characterization of  Dioxin and Related Compounds; Draft Scientific
Reassessment of Dioxin.  Washington, D.C.: Bureau of National Affairs. 
May 3, 1994. 6. Birnbaum, Linda et al.  Developmental Effects of Dioxins
and Related Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals.  Experimental Toxicology
Division, US EPA. Toxicology Letters, p. 743-750, 1995. 7. Rier, S.E. et
al. Endometrosis in Rhesus Monkeys (Macaca Mulatta) Following Chronic
Exposure to 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin. Fundamental and Applied
Toxicology, Vol. 21, pp.433-441, 1983. 8. DeVito, Michael et al. 
Comparisons of Estimated Human Body Burdens of Dioxin-like Chemicals and
TCDD Body Burdens in Experimentally Exposed Animals, pp. 820-831, 1995.
Economic Analysis of the Proposed California Water Quality Toxics Rule, US
EPA, 1997. 9. Schecter, A., 1991.  Levels of Dioxins, Dibenzofurans, PCB
and DDE Congeners in Pool Food Samples Collected in 1995 at Supermarkets
Across the United States.  Chemosphere, Vol. 34, Nos 5-7, pp. 1437-1447,
1994; and Congener-Specific Levels of Dioxin and Dibenofurans in U.S. Food
and Estimated Daily Dioxin Toxic Equivalent Intake, Environmental Health
Perspectives, 1994. 10. Testimony of Dr. William Farland in the dioxin
science workshop heard by the RWQCB May 7, 1998. 11. U.S. EPA.  Economic
Analysis of the Proposed California Water Quality Toxics Rule, pp. 8-11,
1997. 12. RWQCB et al.  Contaminant Levels in Fish Tissue from San
Francisco Bay, 1995. 13. OEHHA. "Health Hazard: Catching Fish and Easting
Sport Fish in California", Interim Sport Fish Advisory for San Francisco
Bay.  California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment,
California, EPA. December, 1994. 14. Schechter, A.  Dioxins in Humans and
the Environment.  Biological Basis for Risk Assessment of Dioxins and
Related Compounds, Banbry Report 35: 169-214. 1991. 15. Linstrom, Gunilla,
et al.  Workshop on Perinatal Exposure to Dioxin-like Compounds I.
Summary, Environmental Health Perspectives, Volume 103, Supplement 2,
March 1995. 16. California Medical Association, Resolution, 1998. 17.
American Public Health Association, Resolution 9607, 1996. 18. Chicago
Medical Society, Resolution, 1998. 19. Sixth Biennial Report on Great
Lakes Water Quality, Washington, D.C. and Ottawa, Ontario: International
Joint Commission, 1992. 20. Self-monitoring Reports Submitted to to the
RWQCB by the Tosco, Unocal, and Pacific Refining Oil Refineries and the
San Francisco Southeast, San Jose/Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Union Sanitary
District, and West County Agency Sewage Treatment Plants. 21. Regional
Water Quality Control Board, Policy Statement on Dioxin, February 18,
1998. 22. Thomas, V. et al.  An Estimation of Dioxin Emissions in the
United States. Department of Chemistry and Center for Energy and
Environmental Studies, Princeton University.  Toxicological and
Environmental Chemistry, Vol. 50, pp. 1-37.  1995. 23. Maher, D. et al.,
1997.  PCDD/PCDFS Levels in the Environment: In Storm Water Outfalls
Adjacent to Urban Areas and Petroleum Refineries in San Francisco Bay, CA,
USA.   Organohalogen Compounds, Vol. 32. 24. California Technical Support
Document for Medical Waste Incinerators, California Air Resources Board,
1990.  Dioxin Sources, US EPA, 1996. 25. California Zero Dioxin Exposure
Alliance Letter to Loretta Barsamian, Executive Director, Regional Water
Quality Board, San Francisco Bay Region, February 6, 1998. 26. Pollution
Prevention Act of 1990, U.S. Congress. 27. American Hospital Association. 
"An Ounce of Prevention:  Waste Reduction Strategies for Health Care
Facilities".  1993. 28. California Technical Support Document for Medical
Waste Incinerators, California Air Resources Board, 1990. 29. Seventh
Biennial Report on Great Lakes Water Quality, International Joint
Commission, 1994. 30. Moffat,S. "Minorities Are More Likely To Live Near
Toxic Sites".  Los Angeles Times, p. B1.  August, 1995. 31. National
Environmental Justice Advisory Committee to the U.S. EPA, June 3, 1998.
32. Schecter, A.,  Dioxins in U.S. Food and Estimated Daily Intake.
Chemosphere, Vol. 29, Nos. 9-11, pp.2261-2265, 1994.


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