telling us to only look at the
active ingredient and totallyignore all of the unregistered
ingredients, metabolites, contaminants, impurities, transformation and decompo-sition toxins, synergistic effects...all of which are basically untested, or at best partially tested, but then only
individually by their own laboratories. The entire toxic brew is untested, unregulated and, I believe, unregistered andextremely dangerous. In addition, these poisons don’t even control their targeted pests and must be continuallyapplied in greater and greater amounts until the entire earth has become contaminated.
Second of all,
“registered,” synthetic pesticide poisons can contaminate for many, many years after their
onSunday, March 15, 1998 an article by David Poulson, The Grand Rapids Press Lansing Bureau, noted: ST. LOUIS- It took $38.5 million in 1982 to bury from sight and mind the environmental catastrophe created when VelsicolChemical Co. inadvertently mixed the flame retardant PBB with a cattle feed supplement. More than 31,000 headof contaminated cattle were slaughtered after the accident that brought Michigan international notoriety for nearly adecade. Agreeing to state and federal demands, Velsicol paid the unprecedented settlement, buried its factory andleft the state. But the uproar over the PBB may have masked an even greater threat to the people and wildlife livingdownstream from the plant on the banks of the Pine River.In the 1940s and ‘50s the factory also produced DDT, a”registered” insecticide poison so dangerous that its usewas banned in 1972. Scientists say that the river bottom and fish there now contain the highest levels of DDT everrecorded in the Great Lakes region-and perhaps the nation. Although they knew that tons of DDT and otherchemicals contaminated the river bottom, state and federal officials agreed in 1982 not to force Velsicol to cleanthem up. They thought clean soils would eventually cover and seal them off.
They were wrong.
“I think you’ve got a pretty bad situation out there,” said Matthew Williams, a U. S. Environmental ProtectionAgency expert on contaminated sediment in the Great Lakes region. “I am not trying to cause a panic, I’m justsaying these (contamination levels) are pretty high.” Last year, almost all of the fish analyzed near the plant sitecontained DDT far exceeding federal human health guidelines. Since 1974, a 30-mile stretch of the river has hadthe state’s only consumption advisory driven by DDT. The advice is unusually harsh:
Don’t eat any fish of anysize.
The St. Louis City dam retains the bulk of contaminated sediments, but DDT has been found in fish 40 miles away,in the Tittabawassee River. On March 31, EPA officials will ask their national review panel to approve dredging thePine River of its toxic load. The plan cost taxpayers of $30 million or more. George Harvell, Velsicol’s environmentalservices manager, said the Rosement, ILL.-based company is aware of the proposal. In separate phone interviews,Harvell and communications manager, Jennifer Bullock, last week referred questions to Chuck Hansen, vice presi-dent of environmental health and safety.
Hansen never responded.
Local residents are torn between joy that the river may finally be cleaned, and suspicion that they were sold out in1982 by a government anxious to get the PBB crisis of that nation’s front pages. “There’s still quite a bit of talk ofwhy (Velsicol) was ever left off the hook on the river,” said Joe Scholtz, 42, a lifelong St. Louis resident, “I hate tothink it was a political buyout, but it could have been.” The EPA classifies DDT as a probable human carcinogen,based on long-term animal studies. The once widely used pesticide’s documented contribution to reproductivedamage in eagles and other birds helped launch the environmental movement in the Great Lakes and elsewhere.Despite DDT ‘s dangers, it was PBB that drove Michigan’s response to Velsicol.The cattle feed accident believed to have occurred in 1973, wasn’t discovered until 1974. Some of the cows thatate the feed had deformed hooves, weight loss, mottled skin, humped backs, aborted pregnancies and difficultbirths. Tracing the accident to Velsicol disclosed a number of environmental problems at the factory. In addition toPBB and DDT, other contaminants included low-level radioactive waste and TRIS, another flame retardant nowbanned. “It was the worst site I have ever seen in terms of a broad spectrum of chemicals,” said James Truchan,a retired Michigan Department of Natural Resources employee who supervised many of the state’s worst cleanups.“We knew the river had contamination in it.
We knew that when the plant was operating that the acid comingout of it would dissolve the fish caught in our nets.”
At the time of the crisis, McDonald’s and Meijer refused to sell Michigan beef. Canada refused to import it. Politicalpressure was so intense that some say it led to inequitable treatment of local residents. “They spent all of thismoney to bury these cows that had a few parts per million of PBB,” said Stephen Boyd, a Michigan State Universitysoil contamination expert who was born in St. Louis and used to fish for carp behind the plant. “At the same time