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Thursday, March 21, 1996

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  • Environmental Activists Take Stand Against Dow Chemical

    Diane Eber is an environmentalist with Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination in Midland, Michigan, home of Dow Chemicals. Eber states that because Dow incinerates a lot of their waste there are high levels of dioxin in her city. She cites health problems such as soft tissue sarcoma and birth defects as evidence of dioxin contamination. Dow provides significant funding for the community and actively campaigns to discredit any claims of a health risk, thus public outcry has been weak. Tracy Easthope of the Ann Arbor Ecology Center believes Dow is responsible for contaminating the entire Great Lakes Basin. Both women recently attended an environmental conference in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, entitled "Time for Action: The Third Citizens’ Conference on Dioxin".

  • Speeches From the Third Citizens’ Conference on Dioxin

    Over 500 environmental activists recently gathered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for the Third Citizens’ Conference on Dioxin. Damu Smith of the National Associate Director of Greenpeace talked about environmental racism and classism, and the tendency for polluting petrochemical companies to locate their factories in poor, predominantly African-American communities of the south. He also said that there needed to be more respect for people of color as leaders in the environmental movement. Another Speaker, Peter Montague of Rachel’s Environmental Health Weekly, encouraged listeners to read the new book entitled Our Stolen Future: Are We Threatening Our Fertility, Our Intelligence and Our Survival. However, Montague felt that the book did not go far enough in laying blame on corporate polluters, who exist solely to turn a profit and are not guided by any moral code. Montague said that it is time for the public to take control and introduce the concepts of morality and liability into the corporate world.

  • Vietnam Veterans Seeking Justice for Dioxin Exposure

    Hank Erb and George Claxton are among the thousands of Vietnam veterans who were exposed to dioxin in the form of Dow Chemical’s Agent Orange herbicide. They comment on a recent research review by National Academy of Sciences strongly linking veterans exposed to Agent Orange with cases of spina bifida in their children. Claxton says that this study is particularly significant in light of Dow’s long-standing refusal to accept any connection between Agent Orange exposure and birth defects. Claxton has suffered from a number of neurological problems and immune system disorders, but has yet to be compensated by the Veteran’s Association. Likewise, the VA has not yet acknowledged Hank Erb’s exposure to Agent Orange, despite being found by the Texas Health Department to be one of the ten worst exposure cases of all veterans in Texas. Both men observe a pattern of denial by the US government when it comes to the health of Vietnam veterans, as well as soldiers of other wars suffering from Gulf War Syndrome, radiation exposure, etc. They blame the chemical industry for supplying the government with misinformation regarding the health hazards associated with their products.