Dioxins and Furans

Polychlorinated dibenzodioxins (dioxins) and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (furans) are highly persistent compounds with a strong affinity for sediments and a high potential for accumulating in biological tissues. They enter the environment mainly through the incineration of waste, and pulp and paper processing, and have been found in very small amounts in all compartments of the environment including air, water, soil, sediments, animals and foods. All animals and humans in Canada are exposed to some level of these substances. Large exposures can lead to a variety of serious health problems.

Health Canada participates with other Government of Canada Departments and Agencies, along with the Provinces and Territories, to develop Canada-wide standards and guidelines to monitor and eliminate the release of dioxins and furans into the environment from industrial sources.

In this section, you will find information relating to the sources and effects of dioxins and furans as well as Health Canada's role in protecting Canadians from health risks posed by these substances.

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