Thursday, October 16, 2014

Dow's efforts help granting of consent
A chemical plant with a controversial history has been granted consent to burn waste product for the next 30 years.
Dow AgroSciences met no resistance to its publicly notified application to the Taranaki Regional Council to discharge contaminants to air except one submission from the Taranaki District Health Board, which was neutral.
The regional council's director of resource consent Fred McLay said the company's engagement with the community, including local environment groups, had obviously paid off.
"It's remarkable given this site and its history that it's gone through the RMA [Resource Management Act] process without a hearing."
McLay said the company had been proactive in consulting key parties, using phone calls, letter drops and a notice in the newspaper.
Since the site was established in 1960, systems for treating odour have been vastly improved and some toxic chemicals ceased production, including the herbicide used to make Agent Orange.
The Taranaki District Health Board's submission wanted to ensure conditions of the consent were enough to protect the health of people and communities.
It requested a consent duration of no more than 15 years.
The consent runs until 2044 but could be reviewed and changed by council if needed, depending on monitoring results, McLay said.
The company, formerly Ivon Watkins-Dow, is known for the chemical dioxin, a by-product of chemicals it manufactured from the early 1960s until 1987.
Dioxin has been blamed for birth defects and cancer of residents in the Paritutu area.
The plant manufactures about 70 different agrichemical products across four main process plants and uses an incinerator to dispose of waste materials.
There is potential for dioxins to form as combustion by-products.
But director of environmental quality Gary Bedford said the company's incinerator was clean and met international standards.
"A backyard incinerator is tens of thousands of times worse."
Testing of dioxin emissions in two residential areas near the site showed concentrations were within the typical background levels in other parts of New Zealand. 

Agent Orange Links

from our good friend George Claxton
Polychlorinated biphenyl levels in the blood of Japanese individuals ranging from infants to over 80 years of age

Agent Orange exposure and disease prevalence in Korean Vietnam veterans: The Korean veterans’ health study

Predictors for dioxin accumulation in residents living in Da Nang and Bien Hoa, Vietnam, many years after Agent Orange use


Blood dioxin levels were measured from residents in Bien Hoa and Da Nang, Vietnam.
Blood dioxin levels were related to individual and environmental risk factors.
Fish farming was associated with higher blood dioxin levels at both locations.
Blood dioxin levels were positively correlated with living on flooded property.
Da Nang dioxin sites are being cleaned up so exposure should decrease.


Agent Orange (AO) was the main defoliant used by the US in Vietnam from 1961 to 1971; AO was contaminated with dioxin (2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin, or TCDD). Three major dioxin “hot spots” remain from previous AO storage and use at former US bases at Bien Hoa, Da Nang, and Phu Cat, posing potential health risks for Vietnamese living on or near these hot spots. We evaluated potential risk factors contributing to serum TCDD levels in Vietnamese residents at and near contaminated sites in Da Nang and Bien Hoa, Vietnam. We used multiple linear regression to analyze possible associations of blood dioxin concentrations with demographic, socioeconomic, lifestyle, and dietary risk factors for residents living on or near these hot spots. For the Da Nang study, fish farming on the site, living on property flooded from monsoon rains, and age were among the factors showing significant positive associations with serum TCDD concentrations. For the Bien Hoa study, fish farmers working at this site and their immediate family members had significantly higher serum TCDD concentrations. Our results suggest that water-related activities, especially fish-farming, at the hot spots increased the risk of exposure to dioxin.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Upcoming Agent Orange Town Hall Meetings- October 2014

We update our meetings regularly on our Faces of Agent Orange Facebook Page

and the VVA Calendar

Monsanto and Vietnam University of Agriculture Collaborate
Monsanto has announced a pledge of VND 1.5 billion scholarship for outstanding students studying agricultural biotechnology. This scholarship aims to nurture and encourage the engagement of young talents in the development of agricultural biotechnology and products thereof to support farmers.

Children of vets exposed to Agent Orange, other chemicals should file VA claims

Everyone knows Agent Orange is bad, and exposed veterans know that it causes certain cancers and other diseases after exposure.
The Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes this, and for all of these cancers and diseases, disability compensation is practically automatic. These are called “presumptive” conditions that are presumed to be caused by the military purely because of time and date in service.
Veterans’ children have long been recognized to have birth defects and diseases resulting from their parents’ exposure to Agent Orange. Currently, the VA recognizes many such conditions in the children of women veterans, but the list for male veterans’ children is significantly shorter. It includes only spina bifida, with the exception of spina bifida occulta. What a lot of veterans don’t know though, is that Agent Orange exposure has also caused numerous, serious birth defects in exposed male veterans’ children, besides spina bifida, according to Children of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance. The list includes Crohn’s disease, Lupus, thyroid disease, chronic kidney disease, missing limb parts, and webbed toes. According to COVVHA, the list is much larger than this.READ MORE

EPA Approves ‘Agent Orange’ Deadly Duo Poison
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, ignoring more than 60 members of Congress and a half a million citizens, late yesterday approved a deadly new herbicide, Dow’s Enlist Duo, made from a combination of Monsanto’s Roundup and Dow’s “Agent Orange” 2,4-D.

The new herbicide will be used on Dow’s newly approved corn and soy crops, engineered to withstand massive doses of the new “Deadly Duo” herbicide.
Where will the vast percentage of these new crops go? To feed animals on factory farms.
Take Action: Take the Factory Farm Free Friday Pledge!
Better yet? Pledge to boycott factory farms forever!
With yesterday’s approval of Dow’s Enlist crops and Deadly Duo herbicide, the EPA, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which also signed off on the crops, have signaled that they have no intention of ending the rampant escalation of the use of increasingly toxic poisons by industrial agriculture.
The only way we will stop them is by shutting down demand for GMO crops. That will take millions of consumers switching to organic, non-GMO food at the supermarket—and that means boycotting meat, eggs and dairy from factory farms.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Support the Toxic Exposure Research Act of 2014 (S.2738, H.R.5484)


It's Official! Agent Orange GMO Enters Food Supply
Thanks for your "environmental protection," EPA! We all feel so much safer now that you have approved Dow's deadly herbicide, Enlist Duo.
As we reported when USDA approved the GMO last month, the EPA has to approve the herbicide before it goes to market. Done!

Dow AgroSciences's Enlist Duo is a delectable combination of Monsanto's Roundup and Dow's "Agent Orange" 2,4-D. This killer combo is engineered so that GMO corn and soy crops can withstand much more massive, toxic doses of herbicide.
Why? Because millions of acres of Monsanto's GMO crops are now resistant to its herbicide, Roundup. 
And where will 90% of these crops go? To feed the poor animals in factory farms. That means, if you drink conventionally-produced milk or eat meat, you are ingesting these GMOs - just one more reason to support organic agriculture. It also means toxics in the air and water. 
Dow's ultra-toxic herbicide is already used on wheat, pastureland, lawns and golf courses.
Unlike other herbicides, which coat a plants leaves, 2,4-D is a systemic weed-killer. The chemicals infiltrate the entire plant - and the food you eat. 2,4-D is linked to cancer, Parkinson's disease, hormone problems and other serious health issues.
Not to be outdone, Monsanto - which now has a monopoly on the US soybean crop - is working on Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans, its next revolution in toxicity.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Lejeune vets exposed to toxic water have deadline extended
The Veterans Affairs Department has extended its deadline for veterans to receive reimbursement for medical costs related to exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and announced it will start paying out-of-pocket health costs for family members with certain health conditions related to drinking toxic water at the military base.
Complying with a law passed in 2012 — the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act — VA has released two announcements clarifying its health care coverage and reimbursement policies for illnesses in veterans and family members who lived at Camp Lejeune from 1957 to 1987.
More than 750,000 people may have been exposed to polluted drinking water at Camp Lejeune that contained volatile organic compounds and other chemicals like benzene and vinyl chloride.
When reports of the contamination first surfaced, it was thought to be confined to one main housing area, the result of illegal dumping by an off-base dry cleaner. Later, the pollution was found to be more extensive, encompassing two major water treatment facilities fouled by industrial spills, poor disposal practices and leaking underground storage tanks as well as the dry cleaning compounds.
The 15 illnesses covered under the law include certain cancers, such as breast, lung, esophageal and bladder cancer, as well as other medical conditions like kidney and liver problems, infertility, miscarriage and birth defects.
VA began providing care to affected veterans for these diseases after the Camp Lejeune water law passed in 2012. But VA did not announce its plans to pay for family members’ care until Sept. 24 — and even those procedures have not been finalized.
Retired Marine Master Sgt. Jerome Ensminger has helped lead the fight to uncover the problems and push for legislation to help affected families. His 9-year-old daughter Janey died in 1987 of leukemia, and he knows many service members, family and friends who either are sick or have died from exposure-related diseases.
He finds it unacceptable that families are still waiting two years after the law’s passage to have their medical bills covered.

Jury Selection Underway In $1 Billion Pollution Trial
Is it a carefully contained storage facility that's done negligible harm to the public or a potentially lethal bio-hazard that's been leaking cancer causing poison for decades?
That's what a Houston jury will decide over the next two months as a lawsuit brought by Harris County goes to trial seeking close to $1 billion worth of penalties for past pollution from the San Jacinto River Waste Pits.
"Those violations consist of putting that stuff in the river, next to the river and walking off and leaving it and not doing anything to it, not warning the public about it, not cleaning it up and allowing it to seep in the river and flow in the river for more than 40 years," said Rock Owens, Assistant Harris County Attorney, in a May 6 interview with Fox 26.
Houston based Waste Management and International Paper bear responsibility for the toxic waste, a liability acquired with their purchase of the companies that actually did the dumping.
While it's not certain exactly how many tons of dioxin bearing material are buried under the banks and even beneath the water of the San Jacinto, it has been estimated complete removal would require 17,500 truckloads.
Attorneys for Waste Management and International Paper are expected to present water and soil samples collected by the EPA which indicate Dioxin levels surrounding the Superfund site are safe and no worse than other areas of Houston.
But many in the adjacent communities disagree arguing floodwaters that engulfed the waste pits flowed through their homes and neighborhoods long before the pits were capped with plastic and rock.
"My family's health was never the same after Hurricane Ike, at the time there was nothing protecting the waste, it was just openly exposed in the river," said Jackie Young of the San Jacinto River Coalition.
An "armored cap" of plastic and rock was installed at the pits in 2011.
Fish near the Superfund site have tested positive for Dioxin, although it's unclear whether the contamination came from the waste pits or discharge from other sources on the river.
While International Paper declined comment for publication, representatives spoke to Fox 26 on background.
A spokesperson for Waste Management declined comment.
The trial is being conducted in the 295th District Court with Judge Caroline Baker presiding.

Tell Bill Gates to Protect St. Louis Families from Pollution
Bill Gates is the dominant shareholder of Republic Services. He has the power of the vote and financial
holdings to convince Republic Services to evacuate families living next to a burning landfill.
Families in this community cannot open their windows – not Gates’ software program – but their actual 
windows because of the odors and toxic air pollution.

Why is this important?

Why are we asking for Bill and Melinda Gates to act? Because they have the power to make Republic take action and protect the children. No other child should be made sick and die. State health investigators found a high rate of brain and nervous system cancers among children 17 and younger in the area near the landfill, in a report just released (9-23-14). There were seven such cancers in that age group compared to an expected 2.5 cases.. Parents of children at Rose Acres Elementary school believe the number of cancers among students and staff members has recently increased, and have asked the health department for a separate study at the school. A fire is moving toward from one Republic Services dumpsite to an adjacent dumpsite which contains radioactive wastes. No one knows what will happen when the fire reaches the radioactive wastes and no one knows how to put the fire out. 12 years old child died of brain cancer and now her sisters are sick.Republic Services earned $8.4 billion in revenues and $589 million in profits and is the second largest trash collection and disposal company in North America. They can afford to move families and fully clean up the burning, polluting dumpsites. But they refuse. Bill and Melinda Gates can use their influence to protect the children who live in surrounding communities, like Spanish Village which is closest to the burning dump. Gates’ owns 27% of the company’s share through his investment company, Cascade Investment (worth about $3.7 billion). Additionally, Michael Larson, chief investment officer at Cascade Investment, sits on Republic Services Board of Directors since 2009. Bill and Melinda have the power, we are asking them to use it. Yes, the stock value may temporarily go down but Gates’ doesn’t live from pay check to pay check, his net worth is about $72 billion, he can take the loss.