Friday, October 31, 2014

Ghosts that haunt all year long...

Parkinson's Action Network (PAN) Forum March 23-25, 2015!

Join hundreds of Parkinson's advocates from around the country for the Parkinson's Action Network (PAN) Forum March 23-25, 2015! Registration is now open for three engaging days where you'll get the latest in Parkinson's policy and research, training to strengthen your voice as an advocate, and participate in meetings on Capitol Hill with your Members of Congress and their staff. The PAN Forum is the premier event for Parkinson's disease advocates where people with Parkinson's, caregivers, researchers, clinicians, and elected officials come together to work toward finding better treatments and a cure for Parkinson's. For those who have never attended a PAN Forum in the past, this is the ideal place for you to get the hands-on experience as a Parkinson's advocate and learn more about what PAN and our dedicated grassroots leaders do every day.
Register today! The Forum registration fee is $300. Visit to get more information about the agenda, hotel, and scholarships. Questions? Email

New Interactive Maps Show Chemical Risks in Legislative Districts

As we near the midterm elections, voters are considering many important issues, from the economy to fair wages to health care. But have you considered whether children in your legislative district are safe from chemical disasters? New interactive maps released by the Center for Effective Government show the percentage of schoolchildren at risk of chemical catastrophes in congressional districts and state legislative districts. The results are alarming.
Each map shows that these chemical risks to schoolchildren are spread widely across the country, but the greatest risks are often concentrated in major urban areas. Those areas are where industrial facilities and their dangerous chemicals are often in close proximity to communities and schools.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Dow Chemical and Monsanto Are At It Again as EPA and USDA Approve "Agent Orange" Crops
In a long overdue effort, the U.S. is currently spending millions of dollars to help the Vietnamese clean up the tragic legacy of our use of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. The effort to remove the remaining contamination caused by the toxic mix of herbicides is expected to be completed in the next few years.
Agent Orange was primarily manufactured by Dow Chemical and Monsanto, and these two companies are at it again. This time, they've teamed up to unleash a mixture of their chemical herbicides on the American farmland. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently gave Dow Chemical approval to manufacture and sell next generation, genetically engineered (GE) corn and soy that can withstand massive dosing of the herbicide 2,4-D. The gene altered crops are also resistant to Monsanto's glyphosate herbicide, Roundup. The new combined GE crop systems are given the appropriately military name "Enlist Duo."
We know what the coupling of Dow and Monsanto did to Vietnam, but what will it mean for America? Well, currently, because of Monsanto's "Roundup Ready" GE crops we have used over 500 million more pounds of herbicide since their introduction. USDA now says that the approval of Dow Chemical's "Agent Orange" crops will increase the use of 2,4-D up to seven times. That's as much as 176 million more pounds of toxic 2,4-D sprayed on our crops each year.
We already know that Roundup can be incredibly deadly to certain aquatic organisms and can lead to organ damage in lab animals, but what about its new partner 2,4-D? As 2,4-D was an element in Agent Orange, it should come as no surprise that 2,4-D is even more toxic than Roundup. 2,4-D has been linked to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, lowered sperm counts, liver disease, and Parkinson's disease. Studies have also demonstrated the chemical's adverse effects on hormonal, reproductive, neurological, and immune systems. 2,4-D is the seventh largest source of dioxins in our environment. Dioxins are highly toxic chemical byproducts that can bioaccumulate, which means they can build up in our system and our environment, over time.

Monday, October 27, 2014

2,4-D General Fact Sheet


Veterans and Human Rights Attorneys Seek Information on Toxic Weapons Use in Iraq
Depleted Uranium Coordinates Needed for Clean-Up of Dangerous Sites in Iraq
September 25, 2014, New York – Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Department of Defense (DOD) and the State Department on behalf of itself and Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) seeking the firing coordinates of weapons used in Iraq that contained depleted uranium (DU). As the US launches new military actions in the Middle East, the groups say getting information about the military’s use of DU in weaponry and its long-term effects is as urgent as ever. According to “In a State of Uncertainty,” a report by the Netherlands-based organization PAX, Iraq has been subject to the largest use of DU munitions of all areas of conflict and test sites, conservatively estimated to be at least 440 metric tons, though the United Nations Environment Programme has estimated an amount up to five times that based on satellite imagery. Iraqi civilians thought to have been exposed to DU and remaining debris have suffered high rates of cancer and birth defects and U.S. veterans report unexplained illnesses.  

“DU is but one example of the toxic legacy left by our wars in Iraq,” said CCR Attorney Jeena Shah. “Veterans who served in Iraq are suffering side effects, while many Iraqis still live surrounded by piles of metal debris left over from the war and with soil and ground water potentially contaminated by DU. The only way to deal with its effects and to ensure it is cleaned up is to have a full accounting of where weapons containing DU were deployed.”

Friday, October 24, 2014

Vietnam lacks resources, know-how to rid airbase of dioxin
Vietnam will need at least five years and more than US$250 million to clean up dioxin at a Vietnam War airbase near Ho Chi Minh City, but lacks both the technology and money required, an official said Tuesday.
Le Ke Son, director of a national project for cleaning the chemicals left behind by the US, said more than 250,000 cubic meters of soil at the Bien Hoa military airbase is contaminated and some spots have the world's highest concentration at 1.18 million ppt (parts per trillion).
The airbase, around 30 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City in Dong Nai Province, is the largest of its kind in Vietnam and is severely polluted since it was occupied by the US Air Force.
Son said the dioxin concentration at the air base ranges from 1,000 ppt upwards while 100 ppt is considered high.
He said officials had initially estimated that only 75,000 cubic meters of soil was contaminated, but proper surveys found more affected spots.
“Given the complicated situation, we won’t be able to clean the airbase by 2020 as we do not have proper technology or money,” he said while speaking at a conference held by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Dong Nai.
The US stored a huge amount of dioxin including Agent Orange, Agent White, and Agent Blue at the airbase to use as defoliants and clear the forests used as natural cover by Vietnamese revolutionary forces.
Between 1969 and 1970, 2,500 liters of Agent White and 25,000 liters of Agent Orange leaked into the environment, including lakes, Son said.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Audacity of Monsanto & the Short Memory of the Vietnam National University of Agriculture
Below is a guest post by Chuck Palazzo, an American war veteran and Agent Orange and Unexploded Ordnance activist and researcher, who is currently living, writing and working in Danang.
A 13 October 2014 post on Monsanto’s blog Beyond the Rows, entitled Monsanto and Vietnam University of Agriculture Collaborate to Develop Talents in Agricultural Biotechnology, announced a new VND 1.5 billion scholarship program “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.”  How noble but I wish the source of funding weren’t an entity that was once voted the Most Evil Corporation of the Year and which happens to have an unsavory “Vietnam connection.”  Audacity (the Yiddish word “chutzpah” also comes to mind) is the correct word to describe this charm offensive.
[I once advised a well-known student organization that they should be careful who they take money from in the form of corporate sponsorship.  One example was an organization that promotes the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco-related products.  The moral of the story is choose carefully and ethically, when it comes to sponsorship.]
At first glance, I had a visceral reaction to the obscene symbolic and practical significance of  this scholarship program, sponsored by Monsanto, one of the companies that gave the world – and profited handsomely from – Agent Orange  (AO) and is now reaping huge profits from highly controversial genetically modified (GM) crops.  For a paltry $70,000, rounded down, they have bought their way into the Vietnam University of Agriculture and the country’s media, a wolf in sheep’s clothing – in more than one media reference – with a Trojan horse approach to improving the bottom line, so to speak.
Keeping in mind that Monsanto’s 2013 revenue was nearly $15 billion, I wonder what the ROI will be on that 70k?  Monsanto execs must be smiling like a Cheshire cat at how easy it is to buy access and influence in a country that was once on the receiving end of one of its most infamous products, a country that continues to pay a steep price in environmental degradation and human suffering, as do US war veterans and others exposed to AO.
If the world were just, Monsanto is one of a number of multinational companies of US origin that would be forced to compensate the millions of victims – here, in the US and elsewhere – for the multi-generational effects of one of their marquee products, Agent Orange, rather than being given the opportunity to (once again) profit from Vietnam.   If they want to curry favor with the public here and massage global public opinion, why not establish a multimillion dollar grant program for AO victims, all four generations of them?  No need to accept any responsibility, just make the lives of these people more bearable, less painful, more livable.  Just do the right thing.


EPA opens the chemical flood gates: 'Agent Orange' herbicide to be approved
After nearly a year of intense public comments and industry lobbying, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy is expected to announce the approval of Dow Chemical's Enlist Duo herbicide for use on millions of acres of US farmland early next week.

Enlist is a new weed control system consisting of genetically modified (GM) corn and soybeans designed to withstand applications of the new Enlist Duo herbicide, which is composed of glyphosate (the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup) and 2,4-D, a component of Vietnam-era defoliant Agent Orange.
Dow Chemical created the Enlist system in response to the evolution of so-called 'superweeds' caused by the over-application of glyphosate on genetically modified crops. Farmers have applied increasing amounts of herbicides to control weeds since the approval of GM crops in the late 1990s, causing what many have described as a 'pesticide gusher'. With the addition of the more powerful chemical 2,4-D, Dow hopes to allow farmers to eradicate the herbicide-resistant weeds from their fields, at least in the short term. They also stand to steal some market share away from Monsanto, whose patent on Roundup Ready crops expires next year.
More than 86 percent of corn and soybean growers in the southeastern United States and 61 percent in the Midwest reported hard-to-control weeds on their farms, according to Dow. This represents an incredible number of herbicide-resistant weeds evolving after just 19 years of farming genetically modified crops in the United States.
Yet biotech and chemical companies are still optimistic that they can solve the problems they created with more biotechnology and more chemicals.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Agent Orange Town Hall Schedule

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

and the VVA Calendar

EPA Sued by Natural Defense Council Over Enlist Duo
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was sued by the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) over the approval of Enlist Duo, a Dow AgroScience product. The lawsuit was filed soon after the EPA approved the weed control product. The NRDC contends Enlist Duo will further deplete the monarch butterfly population and it is also a risk to human health.
Enlist Duo, a herbicide, contains glyphosate and 2,4-D rousing health, wildlife, and environmental concerns. 2,4-D is a known component in Agent Orange. It has been linked to life-long health conditions and severe birth defects, as well as deaths. Dow hoped to sell specialty crops along with Enlist Duo in the 2015 U.S. planting season.
The EPA has issued first time restrictions as part of the approval of Enlist Duo. The government branch also stated the process was could be a template for future approvals of herbicides for genetically modified crops (GMO). Dow is required to track and report on weed resistance to their product. The EPA has issued a 30 foot in field no spray zone for application areas. Enlist Duo is also banned from being used when wind speeds are above 15 miles per hour.
The herbicide has been approved for use in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The EPA has 10 other states under consideration for approval for GMOs and the herbicide from Dow. Specialty crops have been genetically modified to tolerate the Enlist Duo herbicide. Enlist corn and soybean will be sold along with the herbicide, as soon as 2015’s planting season. The combination allows farmers to spray their crops and only destroy weeds. The EPA has received over 400,000 comments regarding Enlist and will continue to accept input until November 2014 regarding the other states’ approval.
Concerns from opposing environmentalists, organic consumers, and farmers are running rampant. They claim 2,4-D, which is a component of Enlist, has been linked to Parkinson’s disease, reproductive issues, and other health conditions. Another concern is the possibility that the herbicide may harm neighboring farms. The EPA states it has made the decision based on sound science and conservative measurements. Yet, opponents and neighbors point to over 70 million acres affected by super weeds. These weeds have tolerance to Round up Ready System, which is another herbicide product used by farmers. Moreover, the Natural Defense Council’s lawsuit is an effort to prevent the EPA from allowing Dow to sell Enlist Duo until further tests are done and other agencies are included in the process. According to Sylvia Fallon, a scientist at NRDC, glyphosate has wiped out milk weed, which is a necessary staple for the monarch butterfly and the EPA has not considered this impact prior to approval of Enlist.
The 2,4-D is one of two active ingredients in Agent Orange and when mixed with 2,4,5-T form a highly toxic chemical agent. The chemicals have devastating effects on foliage and people. During the Vietnam War, usage of these chemical agents contributed to horrific birth defects, various forms of cancer, and long-lasting soil contamination. Scientists are split on the effects of 2,4-D alone to humans and animals. It is highly toxic to fish, so keeping it out of rivers and lakes are a valid concern.

Residents deserve answers at meeting in Newport 
Residents and former residents of the West Canada Valley region should plan to attend a meeting next week that will outline some possible reasons why the area has experienced higher-than-normal rates of certain types of pediatric and adult cancers.
Tuesday’s meeting in the West Canada Valley High School auditorium will feature James Bowers, a Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology research scientist with the state Department of Health. The session also aims to discuss the department’s investigation into the area to determine if there’s a cancer cluster. Community members will have a chance to have their questions and concerns addressed.
The people are owed some answers. Assemblyman Marc Butler, R-Newport, who represents the area, last year called on the state for an investigation following reports of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in four children in the West Canada Valley Central School District.
Ray Lenarcic, a retired Herkimer County Community College history professor, last year recalled that he and his students were involved with a citizens group 30 years ago and sought answers from the health department as to why so many children in this area were being diagnosed with rare cancers.
At the time, Lenarcic said, the group’s concern focused on the possibility of water contaminated with dioxin, which has been linked to reproductive issues and cancers. He has suggested the possibility that the experimental use of Agent Orange at Camp Drum — now Fort Drum — in the 1940s and 50s might have worked its way into the aquifer that serves the Kuyahoora Valley area. Agent Orange, a herbicide used widely as a defoliant during the Vietnam War, has been linked to birth defects and cancers, including non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
The more than 1,000-member “WCV-What’s Making Us Sick?” Facebook group is responsible for organizing Tuesday’s meeting. The group deserves credit — and answers — and we encourage them to maintain their vigilance until they get them.
Read more: MORE

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.

VA Braces for a New Front in the Agent Orange Battle
October 7, 2014 In 2011, Wes Carter was talking to a handful of friends when he realized they had something in common: They all flew on the C-123 planes after the Vietnam War, and they were all sick.
During the Vietnam War, C-123s were used to spray the herbicide Agent Orange. Although the planes were being used for cargo and medical flights by the time Carter served after the war, he and his fellow veterans believe their illnesses—which range from diabetes to cancer—are tied to their time on the planes between 1972 and 1982.
"We were physically scraping goop from nooks and crannies trying to get the thing as clean as possible, because there's quite an odor to it," said Carter, 68, who flew on a C-123 plane and believes that his prostate cancer and heart disease are tied to his time in the service.
So far, C-123 veterans have had little luck getting their disability claims granted.
Last year, C-123 pilot Paul Bailey, who died in October 2013 after suffering from prostate cancer, became the first of Carter's group to get his exposure to Agent Orange recognized without having to seek help from the Board of Veterans Appeals.
"I've said that because they've granted one, that becomes the de facto standard, why not grant them all?" said Thomas Bandzul, a lawyer representing the C-123 veterans.
The Veterans Affairs Department said in a July 2013 letter to Bailey that the "preponderance of the evidence suggests that you were exposed to herbicide onboard the U.S. Air Force C-123K aircraft." But the claims are considered on a case-by-case basis, meaning the decision isn't factored in when VA staff look at other disability requests.
The C-123 crew isn't the first group of veterans to accuse the VA of being unwilling to recognize that their illnesses are tied to Agent Orange exposure. For decades, veterans who served in the Vietnam War tried to get disability compensation, to no avail. It wasn't until almost 20 years after the war that the VA began to link certain illnesses in Vietnam veterans to Agent Orange. They are still pressing the department to cover more illnesses, with former Secretary Eric Shinseki in 2010 tying four more diseases to Agent Orange for Vietnam veterans.
And, as before, the VA and the C-123 veterans each believe they have science on their side.