“Dioxins: An Overview and History” Hites, R. A. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2010, ASAP. DOI 10.1021/es1013664
One of my main reasons for drinking the green chemistry kool-aid is that I believe it allows me to still do cool chemistry as well as to contribute to building a more sustainable civilization (at least that’s the idea). The focus, in my eyes, is on the positive things you can do with chemistry. However, as the Spanish-American philosopher George Santayana first said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” With that in mind, this post is about one of the most well-studied mistakes in the history of the chemical enterprise, polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), often referred to collectively in the literature as dioxins. In Ronald Hites’ recent ES&T feature article on dioxins, he tells the story of the most toxic of the 75 dioxin congeners, 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (2,3,7,8-TCDD).
The most sinister aspect of dioxins, from a chemists’ perspective, is the (more…)