Characterisation and estimation of dioxin and furan emissions from waste incineration facilities
Extract from the Executive summary
Unilabs Environmental was commissioned by Environment Australia to report on the characterisation and estimation of dioxin and furan emissions from waste incineration facilities in Australia.
In 1997 the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) made a decision to phase out certain persistent organic pollutants (POPs) including dioxins and furans. This report is part of ongoing international work aimed at identifying, quantifying and recommending technologies and strategies for the reduction of risk to human health and the environment arising from the environmental release of the twelve key POPs.
Throughout this report, the term "dioxins" is taken to mean the family of compounds comprising polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs) and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs). If both PCDDs and PCDFs are present, they are referred to as PCDD/Fs. The summation of PCDDs and PCDFs is given in the form of International Toxic Equivalents, abbreviated to I-TEQ, a scheme in which the toxicity of the mixture is related to the most toxic compound in the family, 2,3,7,8-TCDD.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation's (NATO) Committee on Challenges of Modern Society developed a procedure for assessing the total toxicity of a mixture of CDDs and CDFs, such that consistency could be achieved in reporting of results. This procedure rated the toxicity of individual CDDs and CDFs relative to 2,3,7,8-TCDD, the most toxic and widely studied congener.
The laboratory responsible for the majority of Australian dioxin analyses is the Institute of Environmental Science & Research (ESR) Limited in New Zealand. The ESR laboratory currently uses the NATO '89 I-TEF scheme to determine I-TEQs.