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[GreenYes] Federal subsidies need to be transfered from the unsustainable to the sustainable
While I realize that a great number of subscribers to this listserve are
professionals dealing with the problem of the weight of the waste stream, it
is not all we should be concerned with. The problem is indeed in the
material itself. No matter how much "management" there is of it, plastics
will remain un-recyclable--the loop will remain broken.

I believe that the reuse or remanufacturing of the billions of tons of
plastic waste is a desirable thing, its production must be halted. But while
sympathizing with the waste stream managers, I cannot change my view that it
should not be made in the first place. The "complex issue" must be made more
complex by including the costs of health effects, and the environmental
damage. Manufacturers *must* be made responsible for *all* aspects of
products they manufacture. It is not reasonable to produce anything and not
be responsible for what is knowingly produced as a byproduct or cost. It is
also not reasonable to externalize those costs to the taxpayers.

Applying the precautionary principle to the term "knowingly produced"  must
be done as well.  After decades of research on dioxin, the evidence keeps
coming in against it, and Industry keeps complaining that there isn't enough
"scientific proof" of its toxicity. They must be overruled and even ignored.
This evidence condemns all uses of PVC in construction, hospital, food
contact, or any other use.

It is only a matter of time and money before many plastics in common use
today are condemned as well. Given the political climate of the Bush
administration, one should not expect much in the way of truth on any level.
And even when the facts are made known, the Bush mob will strike it down,
contending that the facts will endanger national security. The point here is
that the regulations and regulatory agencies do not protect us from these

Industry saying they meet all current regulations for the health of humans
and the environment, or that they will not use any "known" carcinogen has li
ttle meaning. Who has to "know" it (in the sense that Industry uses the
term) before it is known (in the sense that would benefit our health)?

The concentrations of toxins allowed by the regulatory process fall many
orders of magnitude short of being protective. At present, dioxin has been
shown to have hormonal activity at 1ppt. And its threshold level (the lowest
level at which the activity is observed) has not been found. I anticipate
that hormonal activity will be shown at 1/10th ppt in the near future. And
the threshold will still not have been found.

**Regulatory Agencies**
The regulatory agencies (and academia) are paralyzed by industry dominance.
An excellent example of industry dominance of the EPA is that they have
known since the 1980's, that dioxin is an unavoidable byproduct created
during the production and heating or incineration of many materials
containing chlorine such as PVC and paper. One can be fairly safe in
assuming that the PVC industry's knowledge of dioxin being created by the
manufacture of was prior to that of the EPA. Since they continued to
manufacture PVC even after knowing this, it is therefore an intentional
action placing profits above people. Industry also knows that PCBs are an
unavoidable byproduct of PVC production.

Another example of industry dominance in the words of past USDA Secretary of
Agriculture, Dan Glickman:

"What I saw generically on the pro-biotech side was the attitude that the
technology was good and that it was almost immoral to say that it wasn't
good because it was going to solve the problems of the human race and feed
the hungry and clothe the naked. And there was a lot of money that had been
invested in this, and if you're against it, you're Luddites, you're stupid.
There was rhetoric like that even here in this department. You felt like you
were almost an alien, disloyal, by trying to present an open-minded view on
some of the issues being raised. So I pretty much spouted the rhetoric that
everybody else around here spouted; it was written into my speeches" -
Lambrecht, B. Outgoing Secretary Says Agency's Top Issue is Genetically
Modified Food. St. Louis Post-Dispatch 25jan01.

If common prevailed, there would be no more plastics produced. The same goes
for petroleum and nuclear materials. All the tools to bypass these toxic
elements are available right now. They would cost less, if *all* costs were
included. And they would be far less hazardous to the health of all the
creatures on Earth. Federal subsidies need to be transferred from the
unsustainable to the sustainable.


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