Dioxins are chlorinated organic compounds that include a family of 75 molecular types that are similar (co-genus) but have varying toxicity levels. The 2, 3, 7, 8 tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) is the most toxic. They are present in the environment in a colourless, insoluble crystal form that is extremely stable in the ecosystem. Thus, it easily enters the food chain, with the consequent bio-accumulation in higher life forms. They are thought to be cancer-causing in humans.
Dioxins are present virtually at every level of the ecosystem, given the myriad sources that produce them, including:
The iron metallurgy industry,
Combustion of fossil fuels,
Production of pesticides, pharmaceuticals, solvents, etc.,
Incineration of municipal and industrial wastes,
The paper industry (certain paper-whitening processes)
The field of dioxins formation is between 300°C and 400°C. At temperatures higher than 800°C, in the presence of oxygen, dioxins can be completely destroyed.
Source: Courtesy of Ambiente, an Eni Group Company