Your news story "Extensive Study Finds Reduced Dioxin Danger" {Jan. 24} found the latest study of dioxin-exposed workers "reassuring" and suggested that "public concern over the levels of dioxin typically found in the environment may be largely unfounded."

However, in the largest study of dioxin-exposed workers to date, researchers at the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health found that the cancer rate among workers exposed to dioxin for more than a year was 46 percent higher than normal. Rates for respiratory cancer and soft tissue sarcoma were 42 percent and 900 percent higher than expected, respectively. Your story didn't mention these findings.

Instead, you printed the "reassuring" comments of George Carlo, allegedly "one of the nation's leading dioxin experts." To our knowledge, Carlo has not published a single scientific paper on dioxin. He also is an employee of the Chlorine Institute, the industry cadre with the most to lose from government action to protect the environment from dioxin. Your story didn't mention his affiliation.

Dioxin is toxic to a range of organs and systems in a range of species, including humans. It is ubiquitous in the environment and the food chain, because paper mills, chemical manufacturers and incinerators discharge it at alarming rates. Although scientists have not yet qualified dioxin's precise toxicity in humans, its danger -- like the availability of dioxin-free alternative technologies -- is undisputed. Dioxin is too important an issue to public health and the environment for you to allow irresponsible reporting.

-- Joe Thornton

The writer is a Greenpeace researcher.