A publication of Work On Waste USA, Inc., 82 Judson, Canton, NY 13617 315-379-9200 FEBRUARY 1995
Many subscribers to Waste Not, along with the editors, have been unwittingly thrust into the whirlwind of dubious waste disposal schemes, as they hit our towns. Before entering this whirlwind, the majority of us were generally naive, trusting that our local officials would act in our best interest, and expecting that agencies responsible for protecting public health and environment would do their job. This storm broke on our heads and we quickly learned the same lessons, even though we lived hundred of miles apart and few of us had ever met. We had masterful instructors in the shape of incinerator officials and their friends in local, state and federal government. Their deviousness was staggering. Not only was our environment and our health threatened, but our very notions of democracy were not as firm as we had believed. Somehow, we had to reach outside the community to win the local battle. And, miraculously, we found each other. At last a book has been written describing the events of several communities who found themselves in this whirlwind. Aside from being exceptionally well written, its triumph is that it is an accurate account of the battles waged by ordinary people against extraordinary odds. The communities on which Schwab focuses are the ones the chemical and waste industries target: mainly minority and blue collar, with a vigorous old-boy-political-system in place. Because environmental investigative reporting is a dead art in the national media, it is critical that books are published that tell the true story. Schwab accomplishes this in stride while offering insightful commentary. Some of the battles recounted include the Louisiana stretch of Cancer Alley; Appalachia; Native Americans impacted by uranium and other dump proposals; and the battle in East Liverpool, Ohio, against Von Rolls WTI incinerator. Some excerpts.
The backers for the Ogden Martin trash incinerator proposed for L.A. underestimated the resistance of the targeted host community, which was predominantly black and Hispanic. The citizens were up against some of the biggest monied incinerator advocates in the U.S. As Schwab recounts their victory: The citys most marginal citizens had sparked a voter uprising that would permanently alter the politics of garbage in Los Angeles.
In 1981, Alchem-Trom received a permit to operate a storage and treatment facility for hazardous waste. By early 1988, when GSX Chemical Services (a South Carolina firm), bought the Bessemer Avenue facility, Alchem-Trom had racked up a series of violations of its state hazardous-waste permit conditions, year after year, not only on Bessemer Avenue but at a second facility on Train Avenue, which it closed in 1988. (Alchem-Troms letterhead slogan: Pollution Control Through Chemistry.) In 1988 GSX proposed a hazardous waste incinerator at the Bessemer Avenue site. (Environmental Risk Limited were GSXs consultants.) In early 1990, Laidlaw, a Canadian firm, acquired GSX, using its new U.S. subsidiary to secure its place as North Americas second-largest hazardous waste hauler, behind WMX. (On Jan. 19, 1989, Californias attorney general filed charges against GSX for conspiracy to eliminate competition, in part through a bid-rigging scheme.) In 1989 residents learned of GSXs proposal to install a hazardous waste incinerator. The blue-collar and African-American community vigorously campaigned to shut the facility down. They researched GSX and networked with other GSX-impacted communities. The campaigns of this committed community led to the events of Oct. 23, 1990 when Laidlaws representatives signed a consent decree in which they agreed to shut down the Bessemer Avenue facility and pay civil penalties of $450,000.
Dioxin and incinerator activists beware: once in your hands, this book is impossible to put down. It will be an irresistible read for both the degree-laden academic and the concerned citizens determined to spare their communities from further dioxin exposure. With Environ Corporation mobilizing scientists to attack the US EPAs reassessment on dioxin, on behalf of the paper & pulp industry, this books publication could not have come at a better time. It affirms with sound science the seriousness of dioxins threat to human health. The book is a massive compilation of up-to-date dioxin information with each chapter written by scientists from diverse disciplines.
Overview: The Dioxin Debate by Thomas Webster* and Barry Commoner*. Risk Assessments of Dioxinlike Compounds, by Ellen Silbergeld and Peter deFur*. Environmental Sources, Distribution and Fate of Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins, Dibenzofurans, and Related Organochlorines, by Douglas Zook and Christopher Rappe. (Rappe has received large consulting fees for his advocacy of both trash and hazardous waste incinerators in several countries.) Dioxins in Food, by James Startin. Toxicology of Dioxins and Related Chemicals, by Michael DeVito and Linda Birnbaum. (Birnbaum has been one of the leading US EPA dioxin scientists. During the dioxin reassessment, more than any other, she has withstood the relentless corporate and political pressures targeted at the US EPA.) Pharmacokinetics of Dioxins and Related Chemicals, by James Olson. Immunotoxicology of Dioxins and Related Chemicals, by Nancy Kerkvliet. Dose-Response Effects of Dioxins: Species Comparison and Implication for Risk Assessment, by Angelika Tritscher*, George Clark, and George Lucier*. (All work at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Laboratory of Biochemical Risk Analysis in N.C.) Dioxins, Dibenzofurans, PCBs and Wildlife, by John Giesy, James Ludwig and Donald Tillitt.Developmental and Reproductive Toxicity of Dioxins and Other Ah Receptor Agonists, by H.M. Theobald and Richard Peterson. Aquatic Toxicity of Dioxins and Related Chemicals, by Mary Walker and Richard Peterson. Dioxins and Mammalian Carcinogenesis, by James Huff. Neurochemical and Behavior Sequelae of Exposure to Dioxins and PCBs by Richard Seegal and Susan Schantz. Human Health Effects of Polychlorinated Biphenyls by William Nicholson and Philip Landrigan. Cancer Epidemiology by Lennart Hardell*, Mikael Eriksson*, Olav Axelson and Sheila Hoar Zahm. Reproductive Epidemiology of Dioxins by Anne Sweeney. Chemical, Environmental, and Health Aspects of the Seveso, Italy, Accident by Pier A. Bertazzi and Alessandro di Domenico. The Yusho Rice Oil Poisoning Incident by Yoshito Masuda. The Yu-cheng Rice Oil Poisoning Incident by C-C Hsu, M-L Yu, Y-C J. Chen, Y-L L. Guo and Walter Rogan. Exposure Assessment: Measurement of Dioxins and Related Chemicals in Human Tissues by Arnold Schecter*. (The following Tables are from Schecters chapter.)
Total PCDD, PCDF, and TEq in Human Blood from General Populations, 1980-91 (ppt, lipid)a
Vietnam (south) Vietnam (north) Germany America Russia Russia Guam Dong Nai Hanoi Mean Baikal City St. Petersburg Mean
Pool = 33 Pool = 32 N = 85 Pool = 100 Pool = 8 Pool = N=10
(whole) (whole) (whole) (plasma) (whole) (whole) (whole)
Total PCDDs 1938 126 788 1499 88 130 1810
Total PCDFs 133 41 98 92 49 31 80
Total PCDD/Fs 2071 167 886 1591 137 161 1890
PCDD TEq 31 4 20 30 8 11 24
PCDF TEq 18 6 22 11 10 6 8
PCDD/F TEq 49 10 42 41 18 17 32
Mean Adipose [fat] Tissue Levels for General Populations (1980s) (ppt, lipid)a
USA Germany China Japan Canada South North N = 15 N = 4 N = 7 N = 6 N = 41 N = 41 N = 26
Total PCDDs 558 942 247 1535 1217 814 133
Total PCDFs 32 140 53 92 65 57 21
Total PCDD/Fs 590 1082 300 1627 1282 871 154
PCDD TEq 19 29 6 24 25 26 2
PCDF TEq 5 40 12 14 11 4 2
PCDD/F TEq 24 69 18 38 36 30 4
Total PCDD and PCDF Levels in Pooled [Breast] Milk Samples from Various Countries and Vietnamese Citiesb (ppt, lipid)
USA Japan Canada Germany South Africa Pakistan Vietnam Thailand Cambodia Russia White Black Da Nang HCM Hanoi
N=43 N=6 N=200 N=185 N=18 N=6 N=7 N=11 N=38 N=30 N=10 N=8 N=23
Total PCDD 367 1085 493 289 356 280 249 406 302 104 82 77 73
Total PCDF 31 44 41 58 23 20 19 133 34 23 9 9 28
Total PCDD/Fs 398 1129 534 347 379 300 268 539 336 127 91 86 101
PCDD TEq 12 12 18 13 9 7 9 18 13 5 1 2 5
PCDD/F TEq 20 27 26 27 13 9 13 34 19 9 3 3 12
a. Totals are rounded.
b. Da Nang and HCM (Ho Chi Minh City) are located in the south of Vietnam, Hanoi is located in the north of Vietnam. Russian samples from Moscow, Baikalsk, Irkutsk, Novosibirsk, and Kachug.
Editors: Ellen & Paul Connett, 82 Judson Street, Canton, New York 13617. Tel: 315-379-9200. Fax: 315-379-0448.