Regarding the Aug. 24 article “Okinawa vet blames cancer on defoliant”: Dioxin is recognized, medically, as a toxic carcinogen. What is not so clear, particularly to the public, is how we are exposed to dioxin on a regular basis — in ways that do not involve Agent Orange. The primary source of dioxin in most residential communities, and a growing concern, is wood smoke.
In his acclaimed book, “The Emperor of All Maladies — a Biography of Cancer,” Siddhartha Mukherjee, lists three cancer “initiators: radiation, soot and cigarette smoke.”
Soot from wood smoke contains high levels of dioxin. Time magazine stated a few years ago: “More dioxin is emitted from a backyard burn than from a state-of-the-art incinerator serving several communities.”
Camp fires, fire pits, fireplaces are all potent sources of cancer toxins. Yet, there is little, if any, regulation of those sources.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.
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