Ben & Jerry's Ice-Cream Fails Own Environmental Standard

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

( A new health report on the dangers of dioxin, about to be released by the Environmental Protection Agency, places one of the nation's most environmentally active companies in the embarrassing position of failing its own standard of quality.

In independent tests conducted on Ben & Jerry's World's Best Vanilla Ice Cream, the product showed a dioxin level 200 times what the EPA considers to be safe. published the study. Its authors, Michael Gough and Steven Milloy, say "Ben & Jerry's and Greenpeace, the company's source for information on dioxin, have concluded that dioxin is not safe at any level. If Dioxin is so dangerous, perhaps Ben & Jerry's should remove its ice cream from the market until it is safe, consistent with the company's promotional literature."

According to Milloy, who edits, "maybe an appropriate new flavor would be 'Tasty Toxics' or 'World's Best Hypocrisy.'"

The draft of EPA's report, obtained by the Washington Post, labels dioxin, for the first time, a "human carcinogen." The agency admits dioxin emissions have plummeted since they peaked in the 1970's, but warns the chemical still poses a major threat for people who eat large amounts of fatty foods, such as meats and dairy products.

Dioxin is produced through the incineration of medical and municipal waste. Paper factories also emit the chemical. According to EPA, dioxin is responsible for about 100 cancer deaths daily in the United States.

Gough is a former scientist who chaired the advisory panel that investigated the effects of dioxin-contaminated Agent Orange on US military personnel in Vietnam. He and Milloy say they believe "existing scientific evidence does not credibly link low levels of dioxin exposure with human health effects."