A class of organic chemicals, described as a planar molecule bonded with halogens (e.g. chlorine or bromine). Dioxins have been used as herbicide (Agent Orange), before concerns were raised over long-term toxicity and transmission through the food chain. Now it is considered a toxic industrial waste.
Dioxin accumulates in the body over time; it does not seem to be eliminated by the natural filtering processes of the kidneys, spleen, etc. It is a known carcinogen (i.e. promotes cancer). At sufficient exposure levels, there is a "switch" effect and the victim starts to die. It causes abnormal cell growth and differentiation. Common signs of sub-lethal dioxin exposure in developmental stages are severe cystic acne and low testicular mass. It can provoke immune hypersensitivity, or depress the immune system. General sensitivity in mammals is widely varied; in some ways, dioxins behave more like hormones than simple toxins.