As Carolinas residents complained last year about nauseating fumes from a York County paper mill, a less visible threat lurked in some of the mill’s aging waste lagoons along the Catawba River. The threat is dioxin, an industrial waste generated for decades by paper and pulp mills as they produced white paper for sale in many widely used products. Known as one of the world’s most toxic chemicals, dioxin has been tied to the deaths of domestic animals and illnesses in children who came in contact with the material. It is known to cause cancer and is of particular concern because dioxin can linger in the environment for decades. Even microscopic amounts can be a danger to people and wildlife. TOP VIDEOS WATCH MORE × Panthers vs Bucs The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control recently confirmed that dioxin has been identified in waste sludge in four lagoons at the New Indy LLC container board plant south of Charlotte. The lagoons hold about 6.5 million cubic yards of sludge, the agency said. It is unclear how much dioxin is in the sludge and who is responsible for the contamination because various companies have owned the paper mill since it was built in the late 1950s. New Indy says it didn’t release dioxin.