Dioxin is a highly toxic chemical compound that can do serious harm to humans.
Dioxin can be created from natural processes, like volcanic eruptions and forest fires. However, it is often an unwanted by-product of manufacturing processes like smelting, chlorine bleaching of paper pulp and the manufacturing of some herbicides and pesticides.
Rather than dissolving in water, dioxins tend to bind to soil and sediment. After that, they are ingested by small animals feeding in the sediments. The chemical can accumulate in fish, shellfish and crabs. 90% of human exposure to the chemical is through food. Bare skin can also absorb dioxin if it is in direct contact.
Dioxin can cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones, and also cause cancer.