A publication of Work On Waste USA, Inc., 82 Judson, Canton, NY 13617. Tel: 315-379-9200 SEPTEMBER 1995
The report presents evidence that . Dow Chemical: . . * Is likely the worlds largest root . source of . dioxin; . . * Has major investments in facilities . whose . products and wastes generate dioxin; . . * Protects these investments by using . corporate . resources and power to influence . scientific and . public opinion; and to shape the . outcome of . legislative and regulatory processes; . . * Corrupts efforts to reach an objective . scientific . and public understanding of dioxins . sources . and dioxins public health impacts. . . * The report shows how Dow . Chemical and other chemical .. manufacturers who engage in industrial chlorine chemistry promote confusion, delay and half-measures to protect their short-term interests at the expense of the publics health.
Greenpeace released this report on September 15th, in Midland, Michigan, the headquarters of Dow Chemical, with a 2-day conference (Sept 15-16, 1995) in Midland on the imperative to phase out the industrial use of chlorine. Conference presenters included Lois Gibbs, Arnold Schecter, Joe Thornton, Paul Connett, Sarah Steingraber, Peter Orris, and Ruth Stringer (U.K.). Dow refused Greenpeaces invitation to speak at the Conference. Jack Weinberg, editor of the report, said Dow should get involved in a discussion with employees, unions, environmental activists and others about how to survive a chlorine phase out.. Joe Stearns, director of environmental affairs for Dows chemicals and metals department, said Dow would not be interested in such discussions... (Midland Daily News, Sept 17, 1995.) We have chosen to focus on the reports comments of Dows corrupting influence on the publics understanding of dioxins public health impacts because the EPAs Dioxin Reassessment is now in the last stages of peer review by EPAs Science Advisory Board (SAB). The SAB panel includes several scientists who have received large sums of money for dioxin research from Dow and other dioxin polluters. We will be reporting on the SAB in a future issue of Waste Not.
The Chlorine Chemistry Council
The Chemical Manufacturers Association [CMA]-- of which Dow is the second largest member -- launched a new trade group, the Chlorine Chemistry Council [CCC], to handle public relations, political lobbying, and scientific initiatives on all issues for the chlorine industry. From its origin, the CCC was a Dow-led effort. The Councils first managing director was Brad Lienhardt, a career-long Dow employee. According to Chemical and Engineering News, the CCCs estimated 1994 budget was $12 million. In-kind contributions to the CCC-led effort from member companies was estimated at ten times that amount. This put the estimated 1994 resources of the CCC at over $130 million...The CCC contracted with public relations firms and hired its own public relations staff. In 1994, it got an opportunity to flex political muscle when the Clinton White House proposed that EPA conduct a study of the environmental and health impacts of chlorinated organic chemicals. The CCC immediately expressed outrage...CEO and other senior officials were instructed to contact a long list of representatives, cabinet members, and executive branch appointees...Dow wrote to all its customers and requested that they and their employees write to the President and Congress and oppose any study of chlorine...Dow CEO Frank Popoff mischaracterized the proposed study as EPA is trying to ban an element on the periodic table. CMA officials met with cabinet members and secured a moderating statement. Ultimately, Congress and EPA failed to act on the proposed study.
In 1994, EPA scientists released the long-awaited draft of their Dioxin Reassessment...The document concluded that dioxin was an extraordinarily potent environmental hormone, caused a wide variety of toxic effects, and that background exposures may already be in the range at which health effects can occur...Dow and the CCC moved immediately to undermine EPAs alarming findings. CCC organized a public relations push, and EPA public hearings in Washington on the reassessment were dominated by the CCCs hired scientific consultants. The main thrust of the Dow/CCC offensive, however, centered on the EPA Science Advisory Board, which was slated to review the draft reassessment...Two individuals stand out: William Greenlee and John Graham. Observers close to the review process have identified Greenlee and Graham as the two members of the SAB health panel who most actively and consistently challenged the validity of the dioxin health risk conclusions contained in the EPA Report. Greenlee and Graham were the panel members who pressed most vigorously and effectively for an outright rejection of the risk characterization section of the report.
Greenlee was formerly with Purdue University and is now with the Univ. of Massachusetts Medical Center. During a Science Advisory Board [dioxin reassessment] meeting in May, 1995, panel members were asked to disclose research grants in dioxin-related fields. The transcript shows that Greenlee stated: Im Bill Greenlee from Purdue University. In addition to funding from NIH, I have received research grants from the American Forest Paper Association and General Electric, and Ive also received gifts for research from Chemical Manufacturers Association and Dow Chemical...Records from the Purdue University School of Pharmacy and Pharmacal Sciences describe grants from Dow and CMA to Greenlee as having been awarded for a dioxin research program for the period July 1, 1994 through June 30, 1995. Greenlees dioxin research program also reportedly received $65,000 from the American Forest & Paper Association during the same period...Greenlee received a 1993-1994 grant from the AFPA for $973,800 to study Development of a Biological Basis for Dioxin Risk in Humans. In a private conservation with editors of the newsletter Waste Not, Greenlee confirmed he had administered grants to study dioxin for several million additional dollars from the AFPA prior to his tenure at Purdue.
Graham is the Director of the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis. In the month prior to the SAB meeting, Grahams Center organized a high-profile conference on drinking water and health risks, financed by a grant from the Chlorine Chemistry Council and the Chemical Manufacturers Association. Grahams Center has also received unrestricted grants of funds from Dow Chemical in the years 1990, 1991, 1992 & 1993. In addition, his Center has received unrestricted grants of funds from several other companies with a strong interest in the outcome of the EPAs Dioxin Reassessment including: Ciba-Geigy, DuPont, GE, Georgia-Pacific, Hoechst-Celanese, ICI, Kodak, Monsanto and Olin.
...In the last decade Dow gave politicians running for national office more than $1 million in PAC and soft money, according to Federal Election Commission records. In the 1992 election alone, Dow and other top chlorine producers gave more than $1.4 million to Congressional campaigns. Another analysis of FEC records found that Dows 10 political action committees gave a total of $1.1 million to political candidates from January 1989 to November 1994. Much of Dows anti-regulatory campaigns happen under the cover and anonymity of trade associations and other D.C.-based lobby firms...Besides its membership in the CCC and the Chemical Manufacturers Association, Dow also participates in numerous other industry front groups, such as the Vinyl Institute, the National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce...Dow also uses direct corporate influence peddling. For example, this year Dow has provided one of its regional lobbyists, Dale Humbert, free of charge to the staff of the U.S. House of Representatives Commerce Committee. The committee has jurisdiction over energy, public health, and environmental matters critical to Dows chlorine business. Humbert will work for the committee for nine months on a fellowship from the Society of Environmental Toxicology. This committee is in the front lines of Congress attack on the EPA and the basic framework of the nations environmental protection laws...
Editors: Ellen & Paul Connett, 82 Judson Street, Canton, New York 13617. Tel: 315-379-9200. Fax: 315-379-0448.