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This may be a bit off-topic, but not the disposal of
dioxin-contaminated industrial wastes in an ordinary garbage dump.....
Green Delaware Alert 507
"We can't shut down the sources of dioxin without finding the courage
to change the way government works. ...We have to explore how people
became powerless as the corporations became powerful. We have to
discuss why our government protects the right to pollute more than it
protects our health. We have to figure out how to speak honestly and
act collectively to rebuild our democracy."
--Lois Maric Gibbs. April, 1995 (preface to "Dying from Dioxin")
August 8, 2006
After years of denial by DuPont, and DuPont's servants in the
Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
(DNREC), DuPont admitted today to finding the most toxic type of
dioxin, 2,3,7,8-TCDD in testing at the Edge Moor plant on the
Delaware River in Delaware.
Dioxins and "dioxin-like compounds" are a family of similar chemicals
differing in toxicity. They fall into the category of "persistent
bioaccumulative toxins." Delaware's DNREC has stated: "These
chemicals are of particular concern because they are not only toxic,
but because they remain in the environment for long periods of time,
are not readily destroyed, and build up and accumulate in body
tissues." They accumulate, for example, in the breast milk of human females.
Recent reports by the World Health Organization and the US National
Academies have confirmed the harmful, cancer-causing nature of
dioxin. for some background see:
Detection of 2,3,7,8-TCDD at Edge Moor is hardly a surprise, because
DuPont's Edge Moor plant is the largest source of dioxin in the
United States, competing for that honor only with another DuPont
plant in DeLisle, Mississippi.
Over the past five years, DuPont has reported an annual average of
112 pounds of dioxin to the Toxics Release Inventory program. This
is over 500 thousand times the minimum reportable quantity and 40
percent of all the dioxin reported in the entire US during this period.
But: There are 75 dioxins, 135 furans, and 209 polychlorinated
biphenyls (PCBs). (In chemical lingo, "congeners") Of these, 7
dioxins, 10 furans, and 11 PCBs have been considered to have "dioxin
like toxicity," but the exact toxicity is uncertain and some have
recently been described in government reports as up to ten times more
toxic that previously assumed. The TRI reporting includes only the 17
most toxic dioxins and furans.
Independent testing at the DeLisle plant found "2,3,7,8-" in May of
2005. About 2000 people are sueing DuPont in Mississippi, claiming
damage to their health from dioxin and other harmful chemicals from
the DeLisle plant. In the first case to go to trial, a 14.5 million
dollar judgement resulted against DuPont.
Former DuPont employee Glen Evers told Green Delaware that the
admissions from Edge Moor are "the atomic bomb" of revelations.
DuPont, in a letter to employees, said:
" ... 2,3,7,8-TCDD was detected in a sample collected from the ore
roaster cyclone at 1.09 parts per trillion and a separate sample of
the floc solids detected a level of 8.24 parts per trillion." In a
press release, DuPont used slightly different words: "A separate
sample of the waste solids removed during the ferric chloride
manufacturing process detected a level of 8.24 parts per trillion."
According to Evers, and our own understanding, "The ferric chloride
manufacturing process" refers to the preparation of waste products
from the titanium dioxide process for sale as water treatment
chemicals. Evers continued: "For many, many years, DuPont sent out
the raw ferric chloride to municipalities, including Wilmington and
Philadelphia, for treating drinking water." This means that the
"waste solids," now admitted to contain the most toxic variety of
dioxin, went into drinking water.
Evers also claimed that testing at other parts of the DeLisle
plant--testing done on behalf of the two thousand people sueing
DuPont in Mississippi--found much higher levels of dioxin than DuPont
reported today from Edge Moor.
DuPont now claims: "The waste solids are safely disposed of in a
secure landfill in South Carolina."
However, as Green Delaware has reported in the past, the Lee County
Landfill in South Carolina is an ordinary garbage dump. Several
years ago we spoke to the landfill manager and a South Carolina
environmental official, who both told us they did not know DuPont was
shipping dioxin to South Carolina.
DNREC, for it's part, told us the waste shipments were "unregulated"
and only obtained a "waste profile" from DuPont when Green Delaware
asked for one.
DuPont representative Leonard Fasullo told us at the time that DuPont
had advised the waste hauler to take special precautions in handling
the material. We asked for a copy of the precautions but all we ever
received was a packet of marketing material from the waste hauler
The DuPont letter to employees, and the press release, are very
artfully worded to give the impression that good news is being
reported. Will the press regurgitate this without investigation? We
don't know, but DuPont often gets its way with the media and we
haven't so far heard from any reporters. James Bryant, retired
industry expert, noted that Standard Chlorine, another Delaware
-2,3,7,8 emitter, used similar tactics to obscure the bad news.
Green Delaware doubts very much that a true picture of the
contamination at Edge Moor will ever emerge without testing that is
truly independent of DuPont.
DNREC, seeking to let DuPont leave the notorious "dioxin pile" on the
banks of the Delaware River, is promoting an "independent study,"
paid for by DuPont and with no public involvement, of said pile. We
believe the "study" is rigged to support leaving the pile where it
is. For details of this see www.greendel.org.
Representative Diana McWilliams, Senator Harris McDowell, and Senator
Margaret Rose Henry, state legislators representing the area, have
sided with DuPont in various aspects of the DuPont Edge Moor the
dioxin controversies. (Both McDowell and McWilliams are running for
reelection this Fall.) In spite of this, McWilliams was endorsed
for reelection by the so-called "Progressive Democrats for
Delaware." McWilliams has an opponent (Mike Dore) as does McDowell
EPA moves to gut TRI program
OMB Watch reported in October, 2005:
The EPA has proposed three changes, each of which would dramatically
cut information available to the public on toxic pollution. The
agency is proposing to:
o Move from the current annual reporting requirement to every
other year reporting for all facilities, eliminating half of all TRI data;
o Allow companies to release ten times as much pollution before
being required to report the details of how much toxic pollution was
produced and where it went;
o Permit facilities to withhold information on low-level
production of persistent bioaccumulative toxins (PBTs), including
lead and mercury, which are dangerous even in very small quantities
because they are toxic, persist in the environment, and build up in
These proposals are part of EPA efforts to reduce the amount of
paperwork companies must file. In seeking to reduce the reporting
burden on industry, however, EPA has been aggressively pursuing major
changes to the TRI program with little consideration of the vital
information communities will lose under these changes. Many public
interest groups have asserted that the TRI program does not impose
any excessive or unnecessary burden on companies.
DuPont, of course, is always involved in these Bush administration
schemes to reduce scrutiny over the chemical industry. Wonder
why....? What have Biden, Carper, and Castle done to fight this?
Green Delaware is a community based organization working on
environment and public health issues. We try to provide information
you can use. Please use it. Do you want to continue receiving
information from Green Delaware? Please consider contributing or
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www.greendel.org , Box 69, Port Penn, DE, USA, 19731-0069
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