Prompted in large part by concern over dioxin emissions, cities around the globe have been tightening regulations on municipal incinerators. Largely ignored have been rural households that burn their garbage in a barrel out back. A new federal study now indicates that just a handful of such fires can spew as much dioxin as a large municipal incinerator does.
The results also reveal that per pound of trash burned, avid recyclers spew the most dioxins. These toxicants, last year formally designated human carcinogens (SN: 5/15/99, p. 309), are slated to be banned from production, even accidental, under a pair of developing United Nations treaties (SN: 7/4/98, p. 6).