Dispatch: The Last Laugh

He who laughs hardest, laughs last, and ACSH staffers shared a hearty chuckle this morning over a study indicating that free-range chickens in Taiwan have an average of 5.7 times higher levels of dioxin than their counterpart caged hens. According to the researchers, this occurs because free-range chickens spend the majority of their lives outside, and are therefore exposed to more environmental contaminants than caged chickens, which are kept indoors.

“The irony here is that people who believe that low levels of dioxin are dangerous are the very ones buying free-range eggs because they think they’re getting a safer product, and in their own twisted way, they’re not,” titters ACSH's Jeff Stier.

“The idea is that everyone assumes free-range chickens are healthier, safer, more protected, but it turns out, they’re the ones with the highest dioxin levels,” adds ACSH’s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan. “Of course, the evidence that environmental levels of dioxin actually harm us is scanty, or non-existent. But these data are iconic nevertheless.”