thought you were being resourceful by burning scrap plywood, treated
lumber or even cardboard and newspaper in your campfire, woodstove
or fireplace? Have you ever burned your household trash in a burn
barrel or pit?
If you answered "yes" to any of the
above, you are not alone. These practices are widespread, especially
the burning of garbage in rural areas. In fact, it is practically
tradition to have a burn barrel if you live in the country and has
been for many decades.
Unfortunately, burning like this produces a
variety of harmful compounds. Most notably are dioxins. Being persistent,
highly toxic and bioaccumulative, dioxins are very serious endocrine
disrupting chemicals causing a host of health problems including
cancer. These chemicals settle in water, soils and on vegetation
ultimately getting into our systems and those of unborn childern
via the placenta. Dioxins are also passed on to children through
the mothers breast milk.
According to the World
Health Organization: "Once dioxins have entered
the environment or body, they are there to stay due to their uncanny
ability to dissolve in fats and to their rock-solid chemical stability."
Not only is it dangerous to burn garbage, it
produces foul odors and is illegal in most areas. Inform those you
know to partake in this or call your regional DEQ office.
Additional information can be found here:
For a more detailed look at dioxins, visit the
For a look at how far dioxins
can travel and how they move up the food chain, click here.