According to a recent article posted at Greek newspaper Kathimerini, huge amounts of dioxines were produced during the summer fires in Peloponnese and Eboea. Although there is no official research conducted yet, some initial but conservative estimations claim the amount to be in the range of 100 grams.
This is more than the total ALL German industries produce in a whole year!
Dioxins are usually adsorbed onto soot particles and can therefore be transferred by the wind in very long distances. The toxic cloud formed in Greek summer fires has spread all over Peloponisos and has reached even Libya!
Dioxines are usually produced by PVC incinerated during fires. This only occurs because chlorine is present in PVC. Dioxins are produced in small concentrations when organic material is burned in the presence of chlorine. However, other non-PVC and common materials (including timber) may produce dioxins.
According to the most recent US EPA report the major sources of dioxin are:
These sources together account for nearly 80% of dioxin emissions.
Incineration of municipal solid waste, medical waste, sewage sludge and hazardous waste together now produce less than 3% of all dioxin emissions. The situation was quite different back in 1987, before strick emission’s regulation, when it represented over 80% of known dioxin sources!
Apparently, huge fires in the Greek peninscula charred away all PVC and other industrially produced trash stored in landfills, but also scattered all around Greek forests. It is estimated that more than 3.000 open landfills exist in the Greek teritory!
This aspect of our nation’s bad waste habits has not been thought before the recent fires in Peloponnese …!
Concentrations of dioxins in nature prior to industrialization, due to natural combustion and geological processes, were generally about three times lower than today. Concentrations of dioxins are found in all humans, with higher levels commonly found in persons living in more industrialized countries.
The most toxic dioxin, TCDD, became well known during the Vietnam War.
Dioxin enters the general population almost exclusively from ingestion of food, specifically through the consumption of fish, meat and dairy products since dioxins are fat-soluble and readily climb the food chain. Dioxines’ danger for humans, stems from the fact they are stored in fatty tissues over time (bioaccumulate) and are neither readily metabolized nor excretedare. This means that even small exposures may eventually reach dangerous levels.
The same applies to animals. Studies in animals has shown that dioxines cause a wide variety of toxic effects such as teratogenic, mutagenic and carcinogenic. A recent example took place in Tagarades - Greece after summer fire that resulted after a few months teratogenesis in domestic animals. The issue of dioxines production in Tagarades has been even discussed in the Euoropean Parliament.