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Voice One presents

Sierra Club
Chronicles: Dioxin,
Duplicity and DuPont

The video is available on Google Video or the Sierra Club website:

© 2009 Voice One
You may reproduce copies for use in the classroom. You are not permitted to resell
or share this activity without prior written authorization from Voice One.
Warm Up *Name some of the worst chemicals to human health.
Discussion *What effects do these have?

Sierra Club Chronicles: Dioxin, Duplicity & DuPont
Listening Comprehension

1. How did people react to the arrival of DuPont?

2. What does DuPont produce in DeLisle Plant?

3. What is the product used for?

4. How many jobs does DuPont provide in Mississippi?

5. When did Greg Cuevas start working for DuPont?

6. What happened to Myra Marsh?

7. What happened to Greg’s family?

8. What is the biggest by-product of DuPont’s production?

9. How much waste water are they allowed to release into Bay of St. Louis?

10. What are the health effects of this by-product?

11. How many people have been affected?

12. What happened to Glen Strong?

13. According to Terry Gooding (DuPont spokesman), what are the other common sources
of this by-product?

14. What does Dr. Richard Clapp compare the by-product to?

15. What testimony does Glen Evers give?

16. Who regulates the chemical industry?

17. What is the public hearing about?

18. What does DuPont’s defense attorney suggest is the elephant?

19. How big is DuPont?

20. What is the verdict in the Glen Strong case?
Discussion Questions

Were you surprised by the video in anyway?

What are the laws relating to dioxin use? Do you think the benefits of using Titanium
Dioxide outweigh its problems?

What are the laws relating to pollution of waterways? Should companies be permitted to
pollute waterways?

DuPont brought a lot of new jobs to the community. Do you think most small communities
would accept DuPont or other questionable corporations with open arms? What do you
think of this?

Caveat Emptor! (“Buyer beware!”) Should the people have been more responsible for
screening DuPont and its practices? How much of this situation is the community’s own

In 1908, Louis Brandeis (later Supreme Court justice) created what came to be called the
‘Brandeis Brief.’ He amassed large amounts of empirical data from hundreds of sources to
prove that. How important is empirical evidence to legal cases (as opposed to legal
precedent) today? Now imagine not using this technique in your case, how would legal
cases be different?

DuPont maintained that it was complying with EPA regulations. What does this tell you?
Who regulates the chemical industry or environment in your country? It was mentioned in
the video that the industry is self-regulating. What are the advantages and disadvantages
of this?

Dissecting the case
What was the Plaintiff’s case built on? Give some arguments presented. What were their
strong and weak points? Imagine you were representing Glen Strong, what would you
have done the same or differently? How hard or easy would this case be to win?

What was the Defendant’s case built on? Give some arguments presented. What were
their strong and weak points? Imagine you were representing DuPont, what would you
have done the same or differently? How hard or easy would this case be to win?

How would the case be different under laws in your country?

The lawyers used power point slides (“Elephant in the room – cigarettes”) How common is
this in court cases?

What did you think of the judgment? the award?

If you had to guess the outcome of the (2,000 plaintiffs) class action lawsuit against
DuPont, what would it be?
Listening Comprehension Answers

1. They were happy to hear that there would be new jobs coming to their community.
2. Titanium dioxide
3. It’s a whitening agent. It’s used to make the white letters on M&M’s and the white icing
in Oreo cookies. It’s used in paint and toothpaste. It’s cosmetic.
4. Over 1000 jobs
5. 1979
6. Her legs started hurting. Doctor said she’d be in a wheelchair.
7. Father had breast cancer. Mother had myocardial syndrome and died. Younger sister
died from cancer. He had kidney failure, dialysis and kidney transplant.
8. TCDD (a dioxin)
9. 2 million gallons of waste water per day
10. Dioxin can cause liver damage, nerve damage and cancer.
11. About 2000 people
12. He ate large amounts of oysters and shellfish from Bay of St. Louis. He was diagnosed
with cancer in 1998.
13. Vehicles, barbecues generate dioxin.
14. He says “It’s the Darth Vader of toxic chemicals.”
15. He says that they produce massive amounts of dioxin. DuPont delayed telling
employees about dioxin contamination and its effects.
16. Environmental Protection Agency, Mississippi Dept of Environmental Quality
17. DuPont wants permission to expand their operations.
18. The elephant is his cigarette smoking.
19. Second largest chemical company in the world
20. He won the case and was awarded $14 million.