What is 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin?
2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzodioxine is a polychlorinated dibenzodioxine.
It’s chemical formula is C4H4O2.
It can be known dioxin, TCDD, 2,3,7,8-TCDD and many time is referred to as Agent Orange.
TCDD is a very important constituent for the dioxins class compounds.
It appears as colorless-to-white needles at room temperature.
It is insoluble in water and very slightly soluble in o-dichlorobenzene, chlorobenzene, benzene, chloroform, acetone, n-octanol, methanol, and lard oil
Where is TCDD found?
It mainly comes from unintentional production, it occurs from waste incineration, especially metal.
Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (CDDs), including TCDD, are inadvertently produced by paper and pulp bleaching, by incineration of municipal, toxic, and hospital wastes, in PCB-filled electrical transformer fires, in smelters, and during the production of chlorophenoxy herbicides.
What is TCDD used for?
TCDD has no known commercial applications it was mainly used as a research chemical.
It was tested to be commercialized but it never really went to market.
It was meant to be used as a flameproofing agent and as a pesticide against insects and wood-destroying fungi.
TCDD occurred as a contaminant in chlorophenoxy herbicides, including 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5‑T), that were widely used in the 1960s and 1970s to control weeds and as a defoliant during the Vietnam War, the famous Agent Orange.
Is TCDD harmful?
Yes, TCDD is an extremely toxic substance.
Studies done on laboratory animals have proven that dioxin is highly toxic even in smaller doses.
Even short-term exposure to dioxin can cause darkening of the skin, liver problems and a severe acne-like skin disease called chloracne. Additionally, dioxin is linked to type 2 diabetes, immune system dysfunction, nerve disorders, muscular dysfunction, hormone disruption, and heart disease.
Sufficient evidence of its carcinogenicity came from several studies in humans.
Those studies have shown that TCDD causes a wide spectrum of biological responses considered important to the carcinogenic process, including changes in gene expression, altered metabolism, altered cell growth and differentiation, and disruption of steroid-hormone and growth-factor signal-transduction pathways.
How does dioxin get into food?
TCDD is a highly persistent chemical compound that lasts for many years in the environment, particularly in soil, lake and river sediments and in the food chain.
The general population may be exposed to CDDs by inhalation, ingestion, and dermal contact.
Dioxin accumulates in fatty tissue in the bodies of fish, birds and other animals. Most human exposure is through foods such as meats, poultry, dairy products, eggs, shellfish and fish.
Those contaminants have been detected in air, water, soil, sediments, and animal and human tissues.
They are known to bioaccumulate throughout the food chain because of their lipophilic character and slow metabolism in vivo.
Other pathways of exposure for the general population include inhalation of TCDD from municipal, medical, and industrial waste incinerators or other combustion processes.
What is Agent Orange?
Agent Orange was a powerful herbicide used by U.S. military forces during the Vietnam War to eliminate forest cover and crops for North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops.
In addition to Agent Orange’s active ingredients, which caused plants to “defoliate” or lose their leaves, Agent Orange contained significant amounts of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin, often called TCDD.
Dioxin was not intentionally added to Agent Orange.
It was a byproduct that’s produced during the manufacturing of herbicides.
The TCDD found in Agent Orange was the most dangerous of all dioxins.