The results of the new EPA report Dioxin Levels in the Irish Environment showed a 16% reduction in the levels recorded in the last survey in 1995, which according to Noel Dempsey, Minister for the Environment and Local Government, are in line with reductions across Europe.

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were also analysed in milk for the first time in Ireland as part of the study. These account for around half of the dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs. Sources of both include steel production, smelting and scrap metal recovery, burning of fuels including coal, wood and petroleum products, cement kilns, waste incineration, forest fires and chlorine bleaching of wood pulp. The Agency has also commissioned a 12-month study to attempt to quantify significant dioxin sources in Ireland.

“The results of this report provide welcome reassurance on the low level of dioxins in the Irish environment. All levels recorded were considerably below those taken from a random selection of studies in other EU countries,” Dempsey commented.

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