March 25, 2008
Image of 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin 3D Image of 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin

In the 1970s and 1980s, you could hardly open an issue of Chemical & Engineering News without finding an article on 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin, usually abbreviated as “dioxin” or “TCDD”. This compound and similar polychlorinated dibenzodioxins, are contaminants of the defoliant Agent Orange, which was used by U.S. forces to combat guerilla warfare during the Vietnam War. Over the years, environmental contamination by these compounds also turned up in Times Beach, MO; Love Canal, NY; and Seveso, Italy. They are probable carcinogens, but their other threats to human health may pose an even greater risk. See, for example, a recent article in Chemical Research in Toxicology

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