A publication of Work On Waste USA, Inc., 82 Judson, Canton, NY 13617 315-379-9200 August 8, 1991

September 21-22, 1991
at the Omni Europa Hotel, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
An important invitation to all our readers. Over the last few years we have seen a number of attempts, by U.S. government agencies and scientists working for industry, to downplay the significance of dioxin as a threat to human health. We have seen the issue obfuscated and the science manipulated. We believe that this kind of corruption of science is less likely to succeed the more citizens become involved. That is why Work on Waste USA is helping to organize the First Citizen’s Conference on Dioxin to take place on the weekend immediately prior to the Eleventh International Symposium on Dioxin (Sept. 23-27). Both conferences will take place in North Carolina. In no way is the Citizens’ Conference an effort to undermine the International Symposium. Rather this is an attempt to establish a closer working relationship between scientists, citizens and activists. We believe that it is vitally important that citizens grapple with these issues because, while it is important for experts to study the dioxin issue, it is the citizens who have to live with the consequences. Exactly how dioxin behaves in a living cell, test tube or incinerator are scientific questions. What level of dioxin is “acceptable” from a smokestack, or “allowable” in our food, are societal questions, which should ultimately be determined by citizens. We have recognized these two roles in the conference. On Saturday we are going to hear from scientists and other experts about what we know about the human health effects of dioxin and on Sunday we are going to hear from citizens and activists about solutions to the dioxin and waste issues which are acceptable to the majority of citizens based upon the last decade of grass roots citizen action on these matters. The goals of the conference, not necessarily endorsed by all participants, are:

1. To summarize the impacts of dioxin and related compounds on human health and the environment.

2. To expose the manipulations of industrial and government officials to downplay the dangers posed by dioxin.

3. To develop a rational and aggressive solution to the dioxin threat acceptable to citizens. Such a solution involves looking for ways to prevent dioxin formation, rather than simply trying to deal with dioxin and related compounds once they have been formed. Such ways include: the banning of the use of chlorine in the paper and chemical industries and the phasing out of incineration as a waste management strategy.

If successful, we believe that this conference will lead to an increased demand for fair compensation to the Vietnam Veterans and others exposed to high levels of dioxins and related compounds. We hope, however, the concern will not end there. Persistent chlorinated compounds have pervaded our whole biosphere. They are in our food, in our body fat and in mothers’ milk. It is not enough to measure the levels, and hope. If we are right that the only meaningful way to limit global inputs is by working at the front end of the problem then it is going to require a massive effort to wean the chemical and paper industries off chlorine. In this effort we are going to need good scientists, honest government officials, brave union officials, and energetic citizens.

Whether your interest is in the preserving of the integrity of science, or in the pursuing of more aggressive measures to reduce global input of dioxin and other chlorinated compounds, or both, we hope you will join us at this conference. We hope also, whether you can attend or not, that if you belong to a citizens’ group, working on waste or other related issues, you will consider becoming a group sponsor of this event. To be listed on the program as a sponsor requires a contribution of $100 for a community based organization, $250 for a state or national organization, and $1,000 For-Profits.


Dick Christian Deputy Director, Research & Technology Assessment for the American Legion

Dr. Richard Clapp Director, Center for Environmental Health Studies, John Snow, Inc., MA.

Dr. Barry Commoner Director, Center for the Biology of Natural Systems, Queens College, NY.

Dr. Paul Connett Work on Waste USA (Waste Not and Video Active Productions).

Pat Costner Research Director, US Toxics Campaign, Greenpeace, Washington, DC.

Billie Elmore Executive Director of N.C. Warn, North Carolina

Dr. Sam Epstein Professor of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, U. of IL Medical Center.

Dr. Ken Geiser Director, Toxics Use Reduction Center, U. of Massachusetts, Lowell, MA.

Irmgard Immenkamp “Das Besserre Mullkonzept” (The Better Garbage Concept),Stuttgart, Germany.

Dr. Peter Kahn Department of Biochemistry, Rutgers University, NJ

Renate Kroesa Toxics Research Director, Greenpeace, Vancouver, Canada.

David McCrea McCrea & McCrea, Attorneys' at law, Bloomington, IN.

Paul Merrell Toxics Tort Attorney, Tidewater, OR.

Richard Miller Political Analyst, Oil, Chemical & Atomic Workers’ Union, (OCAW).

Dr. Kees Olie Laboratory of Environmental and Toxicological Chemistry, U. of Amsterdam.

William B. Richards Attorney, Clark-Drummie & Co., New Brunswick, Canada.

Dr. Arnold Schecter Department of Preventive Medicine, State University of NY, Binghamton, NY.

Dr. Ellen Silbergeld Professor of Pathology and Toxicology, University of Maryland.

Joe Thornton Research Analyst, US Toxics Campaign, Greenpeace, San Francisco, CA.

Carol Van Strum Author, The Bitter Fog, and No Margin of Safety.

Dr. Otmar Wassermann Chairman, Department of Toxicology, University of Kiel, Germany.

Tom Webster Senior Scientist, Center for the Biology of Natural Systems,Queens College,NY Jerry White Executive Director, Sprayers of Dioxin Association, New Brunswick, Canada.

Admiral Elmo Zumwalt U.S. Navy (retired).

Organizing Committee:

Ellen & Paul Connett, Waste Not

Pat Costner, Greenpeace USA

Billie Elmore, NC Warn, 5301 Rolling Hill Road, Sanford, NC 27330. Tel: 919-774-9566.

Christine Poff & Tom Webster, 337 8th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215

Sponsors: NC Warn (Host and Sponsor); Citizens of Pender (COP), Pender County, NC; Clean Air Please, Madison Heights, MI; The Clint Williams Co., Division of Texoma Peanut Co., Madill, OK; Coalition for Health Concern, Benton, KY; Environmental Health Network, LA; Environmental Research Foundation, DC; Grass Roots Action for Solid Waste Solutions, DC; Grass Roots Environmental Organization (GREO), NJ; Greenpeace USA; Institute for Local Self Reliance, DC; Kansas Greens Research Group, MO & KS; National Toxics Campaign, MA; People Against the Incinerator, Bloomington, IN; People Against Hazardous Landfills (PAHLS), IN; South West Floridians for a Clean & Risk Free Environment, FL; Southwestern Pennsylvania Alliance for a Clean Environment (SPACE), PA; Sprayers of Dioxin Association, New Brunswick, Canada. Tri-State Environmental Council of OH, PA, & WV; Work on Waste USA.

REGISTRATION FEES: Saturday Only Sunday Only Sat & Sun.

Members of Citizens Groups/Non-Profits $ 15 $ 15 $ 25

For-Profits and Consultants $250 $250 $400

Make checks payable to: Citizens Conference on Dioxin, and send to Christine Poff, 337 8th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215. There is limited seating (for 300 people) so please register early.

WASTE NOT # 160 A publication of Work on Waste USA, published 48 times a year. Annual rates are: Groups & Non-Profits $50; Students & Seniors $35; Individual $40; Consultants & For-Profits $125; Canadian $US45; Overseas $65. Editors: Ellen & Paul Connett, 82 Judson Street, Canton, NY 13617. Tel: 315-379-9200. Fax: 315-379-0448.