A publication of Work On Waste USA, Inc., 82 Judson, Canton, NY 13617 315-379-9200 August 1994
It is our conviction that the general spread of dioxin and dioxin-like compounds has already reached dangerously critical levels, thereby threatening the integrity of our own species and making the risk of inaction too high to accept.
WHEREAS, dioxin and dioxin-like compounds are the most potent man made poisons currently known, are persistent in the environment and bioaccumulate in living organisms;
WHEREAS, even the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that: Dioxin causes cancer in humans;
Immune system and reproductive effects appear to occur at body burdens approximately 100 times lower than those associated with cancer;
Current exposure levels to dioxin appear to place people at or near a body burden where sensitive responses may occur, especially for nursing infants and recreational and subsistence anglers;
WHEREAS, established international peer-approved scientific research demonstrates that dioxin and other dioxin-like compounds can be expected to have transgenerational non-cancer effects in wildlife and humans, including:
* Disruption of endocrine hormone systems, especially those related to sexual development: specifically by mimicking, interfering with, or amplifying the effects of estrogen especially during fetal development.
* Disruption of critical stages of embryonic development, for example the nervous system;
* Damage to the developing immune system, leading to increased susceptibility to infectious diseases.
WHEREAS, the International Joint Commission, the monitoring body of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement of 1978, identified dioxin and dioxin-like compounds as persistent toxic substances and recommends zero discharge;
THEREFORE, be it resolved that the 2nd Citizens Conference on Dioxin demands:
1. An immediate halt to the incineration of municipal, hazardous, medical, military, and radioactive waste, and any such wastes incinerated in cement or aggregate kilns, or any other open-ended device.
2. An immediate commencement of a phase-out of the industrial production and use of chlorinated organic compounds (including the plastic, PVC).
Conference Sponsors: Waste Not, 82 Judson Street, Canton, N.Y. 13617; Gateway Green Alliance, PO Box 8094, St. Louis, Missouri 63156; and NC WARN (Waste Awareness & Reduction Network) 5301 Rolling Hill Rd., Sanford, N.C. 27330.
The foundation of our well-being -interactions between endocrine, immune and nervous systems- is being undermined by synthetic chemicals in the worlds environment. We are living in a newly-made sea of hormone-like chemicals and similar toxic substances. There is growing evidence that hormone copycat chemicals at levels found in our everyday environment are assaulting intricate biological systems. Human reproductive potential, the health of our children and the diversity of life on Earth is at risk. Among at least 48 common chemicals known to have reproductive- and endocrine-disrupting effects are pesticides, including PCBs, dioxin, mercury, cadmium and hexachlorobenzene; and components of plastics, which can leach from consumer products. Chlorine is an essential ingredient in about half of these chemicals... Our conclusions: Current industry practices and consumer habits pose unacceptable risks to life from exposure to toxic chemicals. Government regulations and industry testing of chemicals provide inadequate protection, particularly from risks of exposure to everyday combinations of environmental contaminants that can damage health...Among the most bizarre trends cited in this report are discoveries of sexual anomalies in wildlife. Various forms of inter-sex features of male/female organs are being seen globally in marine snails, fish, alligators, turtles, fish-eating birds, marine mammals and bears...
ACHIEVING ZERO DIOXIN
There does not appear to be a threshold or safe dose below which effects do not occur. EPAs research has been unable to identify a level of exposure, no matter how low, at which dioxin does not bind to its receptor, interact with DNA, and induce enzymes and growth factors that are involved in both cancer and non-cancer effects...In its reassessment documents, EPA makes a preliminary attempt to catalogue dioxin sources, identifying two of the largest known sources of dioxin: * Incinerators that burn chlorinated wastes, including garbage, hazardous waste, and hospital waste, along with other facility types in combustor sectors; * Pulp mills that use chlorine and chlorine-dioxide bleaches. But EPAs list neglects dozens of other dioxin sources that have been identified in the scientific literature and government reports and underestimates actual emissions from incinerators. As a result, the agencys list accounts for only 10 to 50 percent of the 25,000 grams of dioxin that EPA estimates are deposited into the environment each year. Major sources neglected by EPA include the following: * Chemical Industry. Dioxin is produced in the manufacture of chlorine and a full range of chlorinated organic chemicals, including PVC, pesticides, solvents, and other chemicals used in rubber, dyes, plastics, and other products.
* PVC plastic. Throughout its lifecycle, PVC appears to be responsible for more dioxin formation than any other product. When PVC feedstocks are manufactured, large quantities of dioxins are formed and are released in air emissions, water releases, solid and liquid wastes. Recent Swedish studies have found that the PVC plastic itself is contaminated with dioxin. PVC is also the largest source of chlorine -- and thus the major dioxin precursor -- in most of the largest combustion sources of dioxin, including hospital waste incinerators, trash incinerators, and copper and steel smelters. Finally, the accidental burning of PVC in home and building fires appears to be an extremely large dioxin source. Preliminary estimates suggest that PVC may account for up to one-third of all dioxin formation. * Garbage incinerators. EPAs estimate of combined dioxin emissions from the nations 120 garbage incinerators is 15 times lower than measured dioxin emissions from a single incinerator in Columbus, Ohio. Garbage burners appear to be the largest point sources of dioxin, with total nationwide emissions hundreds of times higher than EPA estimates. * Cement kilns that burn hazardous waste. High dioxin emissions have been documented from these facilities, in which more hazardous waste is burned than in officially designated incinerators. * Hazardous waste incinerators. EPA underestimates actual emissions from these facilities by basing its estimate on a trial burn at a single facility. Data from real incinerators -- which operate under non-optimal or upset conditions -- indicates that EPA has underestimated actual dioxin releases by more than 20 times. * Ash and dusts from all types of waste incinerators, which may carry up to 100 times more dioxin into the environment than air emissions...
7th BIENNIAL REPORT ON GREAT LAKES WATER QUALITYAs research findings demonstrate linkages between persistent toxic substances and biological injury, they continue to reinforce the Commissions conclusions...: * persistent toxic substances are too dangerous to the biosphere and to humans to Available free from the: permit their release in any quantity; and * all persistent toxic substances are dangerous to the environment, deleterious to the human condition, and can no longer be tolerated in the ecosystem, whether or not unassailable scientific proof of acute or chronic damage is universally accepted.
Editors: Ellen & Paul Connett, 82 Judson Street, Canton, New York 13617. Tel: 315-379-9200. Fax: 315-379-0448.