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Not an egg problem

“It is not an egg problem”

One must realise that no safe level of exposure to dioxin exists for human health and the environment. Every level of dioxin and dioxin-like chemicals is associated with adverse human health effects. All opportunities should be undertaken to eliminate persistent organic pollutants such as dioxins. Incinerating waste always results in dioxin production. Measurements have been taken in general in this industry to reduce dioxin emissions; however total elimination is not possible for these Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC). The industry claimed to have diminished dioxin emissions, instead, emissions and deposition of dioxins are increasingly found in the environment, as reported in TW biomonitoring research in Europe.

 

For TW biomonitoring research on emissions related to waste incineration, eggs of backyard chickens are used as biomarkers to obtain an indication of the environmental contamination of dioxins (PCDD/F/dl-PCB), PFAS and PAH of a specific area. TW biomonitoring results in 2021 and 2022 indicate an environment under stress, presented by high analyse values of dioxins in - besides eggs of backyard chicken - other biomatrices, like vegetation such as pine needles and mosses. To summarise these high results of dioxins as “only an egg problem”, is just a one-sided focus that distracts from what the conclusion is in the overall perspective of a contaminated environment by persistent organic pollutants (POPs).  These TW analyse results of 2021 and 2022 should have bells ringing for serious local dioxin pollution. Banning the consumption of backyard chicken eggs, as an answer to the biomonitoring studies on environmental dioxin contamination, is not addressing the real problem at the source of dioxin pollution. An EFSA study[1], on page 189, shows clearly that the sharing part in a total of dioxins in meat, fish, milk, butter, and cheese all is a much bigger threat to our health than focusing only on dioxins in eggs. A backyard chicken egg is a sensitive tool for measuring dioxin pollution in the environment. Backyard chickens feed most of the time on seeds, insects, worms, snails, vegetation, natural soil and breaching the outdoor air. In ideal circumstances, the eggs of backyard chickens should be healthier than chicken eggs from the semi-indoor bioindustry. Just because their feed contains natural biodiversity, without the toxic compounds of agro-industry farming and/or frequent veterinary pharmacy. If toxic compounds are found in backyard chicken eggs, the real cause of the presence of dioxins should be addressed and measurements should be undertaken to achieve a reduction/elimination of the level of dioxins in the environment.

 

[1] Knutsen HK et al. (2018) Scientific Opinion on the risk for animal and human health related to the presence of dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs in feed and food. EFSA Journal 2018;16(11):5333, 331, p. 189

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