Friday, January 9, 2015

We are slowly poisoning ourselves with backyard burnings
Does anyone remember Times Beach?
Times Beach, Mo., a community of about 2,000 near St. Louis, was evacuated by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1983 after it was determined that waste industrial oil sprayed on the town's dirt roads (to suppress dust) contained dioxin, a dangerous carcinogen that bioaccumulates in the human body.
Dioxin is perhaps best known from its presence in Agent Orange, the deadly defoliant used during the Vietnam War. Dioxin causes birth defects, suppresses the immune system and is toxic at very low levels of exposure.
Dioxin is an unwanted byproduct of industrial processes such as bleaching paper, the manufacture of herbicides, metal smelting and the incineration of materials containing chlorine, such as the common plastic PVC (polyvinyl chloride).
Coming shortly after the discovery of toxic wastes buried beneath Love Canal, in New York, the Times Beach disaster fueled public concern about toxic waste.
Passage of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the Superfund law for toxic cleanups now holds industry accountable for "cradle to grave" handling of the toxic substances they generate.

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