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Dangerous Dioxins Found in Widely Used Herbicide 2,4-D

EMSL Analytical provides testing to identify dioxins and other contaminants in food and environmental samples.


2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, referred to as 2,4-D, is a common chlorophenoxy herbicide that is frequently used around the world as a plant growth regulator. In a recent investigation of 2,4-D in Australia, elevated levels of dangerous dioxins were detected in a generic version of 2,4-D.

Dioxins are a group of chemically-related compounds that are found throughout the environment worldwide. Over 90% of human exposure to dioxins occurs through food supply, such as meat, dairy, fish, and shellfish. High levels are also found in some soils and sediments. Since dioxins are highly hydrophobic, lipophilic, and non-biodegradable, they tend to accumulate in the fat tissues and biomagnify through the food chain.

Two classes of these compounds are polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs, dioxins) and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs, furans). Seven PCDDs and ten PCDFs are highly toxic and have been assigned a toxic equivalency factor (TEF) relative to the most toxic member, 2378-tetrachloro dibenxo-p-dioxin (2378-TCDD), by the World Health Organization (WHO).

“Any 2,4-D that is produced using 2-chlorophenol produces ppm levels of dioxins. Dioxins have been linked to various forms of cancer as well as immune, reproductive, and developmental disorders,” states Scott Van Etten, CIH, National Director of Industrial Hygiene at EMSL Analytical. “Through EPA Methods 1613B and 8290A, EMSL Analytical provides expertise in high resolution analyses for dioxins and dioxin-like compounds in food products such as grains, cereals, starches, vegetables, fruits and pet food.”

For more information on EMSL’s testing services, please contact EMSL at (800) 220-3675, visit, or email .

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical, Inc. is a full service testing company providing quality lab services under the same private ownership since 1981. Including the corporate lab facility in Cinnaminson, NJ, EMSL Analytical operates over thirty laboratories nationwide in the US and Canada. We provide analytical services for environmental, indoor air quality (IAQ), industrial hygiene, forensics and materials science, consumer products, food safety, PCR, pharmaceutical, asbestos, lead, and radiological samples. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations, as well as state and federal regulating bodies. Please see our website for a complete listing of accreditations.



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