1. What are dioxins?

‘Dioxin’ is the name given to a group of chemicals with similar chemical or biological characteristics. There are several hundred of them and they are split into three main groups: chlorinated dibenzofurans (CDFs), chlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (CDDs), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

CDDs and CDFs are not intentionally manufactured but are created through industrial processes, including through certain chlorine bleaching processes at paper mills and at drinking water treatment plants. CDDs are also produced during the manufacture of other chemicals, by industrial and household waste incinerators, and from burning fuels like wood, coal or oil.

PCBs are manufactured and are used as coolants and lubricants in transformers for hydraulic mining machinery and some electrical and heating equipment. They are difficult to destroy and linger in the environment for years. Dioxins can also be created from natural sources such as forest fires and volcanic eruptions, too.

2. What is dioxin poisoning?

Dioxin poisoning can occur when a person breathes in contaminated dust, ingests it, or when there is skin contact.

3. Who is most at risk of dioxin poisoning?

Everyone will be exposed to a small amount of dioxins in their lifetime. They are in our environment and are ingested when we eat animal fats or animal-fat byproducts. In very small amounts they are harmless. However, if you come into contact with a large number of these dioxins, or a small number over a prolonged period of time, they can be harmful.

You may be exposed to dioxins if you work in an industry where they are used or emitted, such as in the production or use of pesticides, in paper and pulp mills, or at an incinerator plant. Workers at recycling plants may also be exposed to dioxins if aluminium or copper is being recycled.

Firefighters may be exposed to dioxins when attending transformer fires. In some cases, employees are asked to deal with dangerous dioxins at work without being issued with the necessary personal protective clothing or any training in how to handle the chemicals. In other cases, members of the public have come into contact with industrial waste containing dioxins, which has been pumped into the sea, rivers, land sites or air.

4. What is the impact of dioxin poisoning on your health?

Dioxin exposure can have an adverse effect on health, but the precise consequences of dioxin poisoning depend on how much of the chemical enters your body, how it gets into your body, and the length of exposure.

5. What are the symptoms of dioxin poisoning?

Immediate symptoms of significant dioxin poisoning include severe abdominal pains, nausea and vomiting. In the long term, high doses of dioxin can produce ‘chloracne’, a serious skin disease with acne-like lesions, generally on the face and upper body. The skin may also be affected by rashes, discolouration, and excessive body hair.

High doses of the chemical may result in metabolic and hormonal changes, and in kidney damage. Dioxins have also been linked to male infertility and to fatal illnesses like cancer. As dioxins remain in the body for long periods, it may take some time for the effects of the poison to become apparent.

6. What treatment will I need if I have dioxin poisoning?

Tests are available to measure dioxins in the blood. Treatments can be given for skin conditions, to address liver damage (depending on the state of advancement), and to lower the levels of dioxins in the blood. If you become ill after exposure to dioxins, you may be able to make a dioxin poisoning compensation claim. Contact Thompsons Solicitors for free advice and guidance on how to start an industrial disease claim today.

7. How can dioxin poisoning be prevented?

All employers are obliged to protect their workers, including from exposure to dioxins and other chemicals, in line with national regulations called “The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health”. Risk assessments should be made by employers and, where appropriate, protective steps should be taken to safeguard workers’ health. This may include providing personal protective equipment and clothing, such as gloves, goggles and respiratory protection.

8. Can I make an industrial disease claim for dioxin poisoning?

If it can be proven that your illness or injury was caused directly by your exposure to dioxins, and the person or company that allowed you to come into contact with the dioxins was negligent or breached their legal duties to you, then your claim for compensation should be valid.

So, if you or anyone you know has had dioxin poisoning, you may wish to contact Thompsons Solicitors for advice about starting a dioxin poisoning compensation claim.

9. The company I worked for when I was exposed to dioxin poisoning no longer exists. Can I still make an industrial disease claim for compensation?

Even if the company you worked for when you were exposed to dioxins no longer exists, Thompsons Solicitors’ team of specialists can still pursue a claim by tracing their former insurer. For advice or more information, feel free to call us on 0800 0 224 224.

10. Why should I choose Thompsons Solicitors to make an industrial disease claims for dioxin poisoning?

Thompsons Solicitors’ personal injury lawyers have decades of experience supporting people with a range of personal injury matters, including serious injury claims, medical negligence claims, asbestos disease claims, industrial disease claims, road traffic accident claims and accident at work claims. Our industrial disease solicitors will be able to let you know whether you have a valid case for compensation and can provide you with advice about next steps. Call us on 0800 0 224 224 for more advice on starting a dioxin poisoning personal injury claim or fill out our free, no obligation Start a Claim form.

11. How much compensation will I get for my dioxin poisoning claim?

Calculating the amount of compensation awarded for any personal injury claim depends on the details of the individual case. For that reason, we’d recommend you contact Thompsons Solicitors’ industrial disease specialists who can give you a better indication of what you may be entitled to after they have reviewed the unique details of your case.