Polychlorinated dibenzodioxins

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Polychlorinated dibenzodioxins (PCDDs), or simply dioxins, are a group of organic polyhalogenated compounds that are significant because they act as environmental pollutants. They are commonly referred to as dioxins for simplicity in scientific publications because every PCDD molecule contains a dioxin skeletal structure. Typically, the p-dioxin skeleton is at the core of a PCDD molecule, giving the molecule a dibenzo-p-dioxin ring system. Members of the PCDD family have been shown to bioaccumulate in humans and wildlife due to their lipophilic properties, and are known teratogens, mutagens, and suspected human carcinogens. They are organic compounds.

Dioxins occur as by-products in the manufacture of organochlorides, in the incineration of chlorine-containing substances such as PVC (polyvinyl chloride), in the bleaching of paper, and from natural sources such as volcanoes and forest fires.[1] There have been many incidents of dioxin pollution resulting from industrial emissions and accidents; the earliest such incidents were in the mid 19th century during the Industrial Revolution.[2]

The word "dioxins" may also refer to a similar but unrelated compound, the polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs) of comparative environmental importance.

Contents

Chemical structure of dibenzo-p-dioxins

The structure of dibenzo-p-dioxin comprises two benzene rings joined by two oxygen bridges. This makes the compound an aromatic diether. The name dioxin formally refers to the central dioxygenated ring, which is stabilized by the two flanking benzene rings.

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