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
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).
shortly after the discovery of toxic wastes buried beneath Love Canal,
in New York, the Times Beach disaster fueled public concern about toxic
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.