Emissions sources of dioxin in developed countries appear to be similar, as evidenced by data available from the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia.

United States

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s most recent inventory dated November 2006, dioxin and furan emissions to the environment in the U.S. have been reduced by approximately 90 percent between 1987 and 2000, the last year for which data exists.  These improvements are due to a combination of government regulations and voluntary industry action.  The leading source of dioxin-like compounds in 2000 was the backyard burning of refuse in barrels.  Some naturally-occurring dioxin sources such as forest fires will probably never be eliminated.

For more information, please see the U.S. EPA's source inventory entitled "An Inventory of Sources and Environmental Releases of Dioxin-Like Compounds in the United States for the Years 1987, 1995, and 2000" (November 2006)


The most current information available from Environment Canada is for dioxin and furan emissions in 1999 in a report prepared in February 2001.  This latest inventory shows a 60 percent decrease since 1990 in the overall release of dioxins and furans from sources within Canada.  The Canadian sources with the highest atmospheric releases of dioxins and furans include conical burners, incineration, and barrel burns.

A number of sectors have been identified as priority sectors for which Canada-Wide Standards are being developed. Other sectors may be identified for action in the future.

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The European Commission is actively engaged in the subject of dioxin emissions. It has undertaken a number of studies, and according to one completed in the context of the Stockholm Convention, the primary sources of dioxin emissions in EU-25 are residential combustion, open burning of waste and wood preservation. More information on sources and emissions is available at http://ec.europa.eu/environment/dioxin/sources.htm 

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The most current data for Australian emission sources is from 2002. Prescribed burning, bush fires and residential wood combustion are the Australian sources with the highest estimates emissions.

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