Dioxin Developments

April 27, 2017 | Commercial Litigation | Complex Torts & Product Liability

Report Cites Elevated Dioxin in Some People Who Ate Detroit River Fish

A study by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services found that some people who ate fish from the Detroit River two or more times per month had elevated levels of dioxin as well as mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (“PCBs”) in their bodies, according to a recent article in the Detroit Free Press.

In 2013 and 2014, the department studied nearly 300 adults and led it to emphasize the state’s “Eat Safe Fish” guide, which states that “[s]ome fish contain chemicals that can harm your health.” The guide explains that the department tests filets of fish taken from Michigan’s lakes and rivers “to learn which fish are safer to eat” and lists the fish that have been tested “and how much is safe to eat.”

For instance, because of dioxins and PCBs, the department suggests eating walleye from the Detroit River only once per month (if prepared according to the department’s guidelines) and yellow perch only eight times per year (also if prepared according to the department’s guidelines). The department does not recommend eating any carp from the Detroit River and only eating a limited amount of catfish and silver bass from the river, also because of dioxins and PCBs.

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Voluntary Recall in Canada of Feed Ingredient Over Dioxin

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (“CFIA”) is monitoring the effectiveness of a voluntary recall of Red Lake Earth R.L.E. – Diatomaceous Earth Diatomite, an inert carrier or anti-caking agent used in livestock feeds.

The CFIA recommended to the manufacturer, Absorbent Products Ltd., that this product be recalled from the Canadian marketplace due to what it characterized as “unacceptable levels of dioxins” in the product. The recall included all lots of the product used as a feed ingredient. The product also can be used in other applications, such as ammonia control agents, stall and barn deodorizers, cat litter and pet care products, pest control agents, and soil amendments.

The CFIA said in a statement that, at this time, the recall did not include complete feeds, supplements, or premixes made with the product.

According to the CFIA, the objective of the recall was “to support the production of safe food by removing the contaminated feed source, limiting animal exposure and preventing these contaminants from accumulating in the food chain.” The CFIA stated that the concentrations of dioxins in the feed source and the potential transfer to foods of animal origin (for example, milk) were “not considered an immediate animal or human health concern.”

The CFIA pointed out that dioxins are released into the environment “through natural and industrial processes” and are “commonly found in low levels throughout the food chain around the world.”

For further information, please contact James V. Aiosa, Paul V. Majkowski, Lawrence S. Han, or your regular Rivkin Radler attorney.

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