The history of the dioxin issue in Brazil: from citrus pulp crisis to food monitoring (review)


Dioxins and furans are ubiquitous, anthropogenic environmental contaminants which can be found even in isolated places. Exposition to these chemicals poses several risks to humans such as thyroid dysfunction, cardiovascular diseases, and even cancer. In this review, the dioxin issue is analyzed in the light of the events that brought the World’s attention to these pollutants, and the evolution of Brazilian scientific data on this matter since the citrus pulp crisis in 1998. Soil and air have been the main environmental matrices studied in Brazil. However, most of the research focuses on contaminated areas, with few or no data available on background levels. With the ratification of the Stockholm Convention in 2010, Brazil started to implement some measures to monitor the release of dioxins to the environment, such as the national inventory of sources. Still, the country lacks specific legislation stating acceptable limits for some industrial processes known to be source of dioxins emissions. Likewise, food monitoring has grown in recent years with the expansion of food groups monitored in the National Control Plan for Residues and Contaminants, but the available data do not allow affirming whether Brazilian residents are safe, as regard to exposure via food consumption. The implementation of a systemic survey such as a Total Diet Study would be a good strategy for a long-term monitoring not only for dioxins but also for other contaminants. Unfortunately, progressive cuts in science funds are holding back the scientific production in Brazil, whereas worldwide new emerging contaminants are being monitored and included in National Monitoring Plans both on food and environment matrices.

LACERDA, João Paulo Amorim de. The history of the dioxin issue in Brazil: from citrus pulp crisis to food monitoring (review). Environment International, v.122, p.11-20, jan., 2019

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