Sunday, December 26, 2004

Yushchenko's dioxin poisoning lasts for years 

And that's just the part we'll be able to see on his face:
Viktor Yushchenko has recovered enough from poisoning with a highly toxic chemical that, if elected, he should be able to serve as Ukraine's president, but he will need treatment for months if not years, his doctors and foreign experts said.
Still, they caution, his illness is virtually one of a kind, caused by ingesting a highly potent form of dioxin called TCDD. Under such circumstances it is difficult to predict with great certainty the course of his recovery, and most of the treatment he will need is at least somewhat experimental.

...The popular opposition candidate, who is still suffering from disfiguring cysts that cover his face, will need long-term treatment for his skin, Zimpfer said, since this condition, called chloracne, tends to persist for years.
He will need to take drugs to help his body get rid of the dioxin, which is normally deposited in the body's fat cells, and he will need close monitoring for cancers and abnormalities of fats in his blood - all aftereffects of the poisoning, Zimpfer added.
I've been wondering how his body can process and dispose of all that dioxin. Apparently, none of us can know the answer to that. And Yushchenko got a dose of TCDD that was pure, not put into some compound like normally you'd find this in environmental settings.
"There is no way you could get this kind of pure TCDD level from an accident - it's incredibly high," said Dr. Bharat Chandramouli, a dioxin expert at Eno River Labs in Durham, North Carolina, which tests samples of soil and water in the United States for the chemical.
Chandramouli added that TCDD is such a concentrated toxin that an amount smaller than a grain of salt could produce the levels found in Yushchenko's blood. This tiny amount would presumably be tasteless and odorless. Since TCDD dissolves readily in oils, the poison could be slipped into food, Chandramouli said.