I was watching Modern Marvels the other day and saw a story about Times Beach, Missouri. Times Beach was a small resort town started in the 1920's. They never had money to pave the roads, so they used waste oil from nearby manufacturing plants to control dust. Unknown to the town, this oil contained dioxin, a toxic chemical found in agent orange. The toxic levels were so bad the federal government's super fund bought out the town in the 1980's and cleaned the site at a cost of over $110 million. During one of the commercial breaks a quick fact stated that most dioxin emissions come from the burning of trash. After some research I found that bleached paper contains small amounts of dioxin and burning these releases it into the air. The most common uses for bleached paper in households is paper towels and coffee filters. The EPA reported that using bleached coffee filters over a lifetime can expose you to dioxin that "exceeds acceptable levels". The EPA states that dioxin levels over 1 part per billion are dangerous. You can help control your exposure by using non-bleached paper towels and coffee filters.
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