I consider it no small irony that the first syllable of the word dioxins sounds like die: So potent is this group of more than 100 cancer-causing industrial chemicals that the Environmental Protection Agency is currently considering setting the “safe” daily level for human exposure at seven-tenths of a picogram per kilogram of body weight. (A picogram, FYI, is one-trillionth of a gram.) To put it in perspective: With the much publicized toxic chemical BPA, you could be exposed to 50 million times that amount, and you’d still be within the realm of what’s considered safe.

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