Saturday, July 31, 2021

MORE ON DIOXINS

Yesterday I wrote here about the myths and fallacies involved in alleging that even the most toxic to mankind chemicals have "safe" exposure limits. I would agree that they are "safe" to the toxicologist writing the report as well as to the lab person (following appropriate safety protocols) testing animals etc. Not so much however to the human beings who already have a lifetime of exposures to contaminated air, food and water even though allegedly each and every separate exposure may or may not be below so called "safe" levels. Today I'm going to mention a little about dioxin levels in soil. ............................................................................................................................. Background levels are badly abused. Here in Elmira, Uniroyal/Crompton/Chemtura and Lanxess have all been using "background" concentrations immediately upstream from the infamous polluter. Hence ongoing discharges from the Bolender Park Landfill plus one or two further upstream polluters are affecting upwards the contaminant concentration levels in the Canagagigue Creek. Hence the company (Lanxess) can hide somewhat behind those higher background levels. The 1987 U.S. EPA National Dioxin Study suggested that background be defined as "an area where you would not expect to find any dioxin.". The Centre for Health, Environment and Justice in 1998 suggested that the national background estimate for dioxin by the EPA of 8 parts per trillion (ppt) was far too high as it encompassed a number of known source areas of dioxins. They suggested that 1 ppt was far more appropriate. Overall the studies showed as expected that rural areas had far lower dioxin levels than urban ereas which were far closer to dioxin sources. Here in Elmira we can't even get our corrupt Ontario Ministry of Environment to honestly and seriously sample soils to the immediate east side of the Lanxess site (i.e. Stroh farm). ........................................................................................................................................... One study in 2010 suggested dioxin action levels of 240 ng/kg (ppt) for residential areas. They also suggested that more soil samples were far better than fewer which has been ignored in Elmira. Also ignored here in Elmira was the suggestion that heavy dioxin contaminated soils should all be remediated versus reliance on purely risk-based action levels. I view that a an anti-Risk Assessment position. ...................................................................................................................... In 2012 the EPA released an assessment of dioxins suggesting that the threshold for "safe" dioxin exposure was a TEQ (toxic equivalency) of .7 picograms per kilogram of body weight per day. The U.S. Chemical Industry were not happy with that and the American Chemical Councill (ACC) suggested that it was unclear to them why the EPA set a dioxin exposure level that is three times more stringent than other countries and the World Health Organization (WHO). .................................................................................................................................... Regarding soil background levels the U.K. study in 2009 suggested that soil dioxin levels were consistently higher in the urban areas than in the rural areas. This included dioxin-like PCBs. Rural soils for the various dioxin compounds were between .17 ppt and 60.7 ppt. Urban soils for the various dioxin compounds ranged from .35 ppt to 104 ppt. .................................................................................................................................................. Back in 2004 the U.S. discussed retaining the 50 ppt (TEQ) soil screening level. Compare this to current Canadaian criteria of 7 and 13 parts per trillion (ppt) for dioxins (TEQ) in soils. The 7 ppt is for soils within 30 metres of a surface water body and the 13 ppt for soils further away. There was also discussion of some of the non-cancer health effects of dioxins including hormonal impacts of endocrine disrupters such as dioxins. Other effects included a causal effect in adult-onset diabetes from dioxin exposure. ................................................................................................................................................ Permitting allegedly low concentrations of highly toxic chemicals is a mugs game. Pretending to only need to remediate the very highest concentrations of dioxins is simply to keep the population calm and quiet. If they knew how badly they and their families health was compromised by industrial releases past and present, political heads at the least would roll.

Friday, July 30, 2021

ONGOING DIOXIN STUDIES

The literature on-line can be overwhelming. It can sometimes be contradictory, other times reasonably consistent in their findings. Problems exist in calculating toxicities of various chemicals because among other things while it is legal (moral???) to inject animals with toxins and observe the results, generally speaking human testing has been universally frowned upon. I've long had a problem with Risk Assessments because they attempt to mathematically "prove" that which is impossible to prove. While human beings around the world are remarkably similar biologically, their environments, living conditions and exposures to toxins are incredibly diverse. Literally one human being could be dosed accidentally with dioxins and walk away apparently unscathed while another with different background past exposures combined with different genetics could require immediate hospitalization and intensive care. There is also the issue of longterm effects. Dosing either accidentally or intentionally today may give apparent zero health effects yet the individual twenty-five years down the road may suddenly develop cancer (or other serious disease) with no obvious additional toxic exposures. It is all very difficult to mathematically determine safe levels, action levels etc. especially when those levels are based upon study of that one chemical/toxin at a time. The reality is that all toxins are in conjunction with other factors including past exposures, future exposures, different toxins, different diets, heat, humidity, type of exposure (eg. inhalation, ingestion, dermal etc.). In other words one size (criteria) does not fit all human beings nor does it fit any single human being throughout their life span. A strong and healthy female in her mid twenties does not have the identical immune system, metabolism etc. when she reaches the age of sixty. Her response to toxic exposures can change dramatically over her lifetime including when she is pregnant which also raises the issue of unborn children and their exposures. I have always shuddered at the prospect of a toxicologist in a lab somewhere determining a "safe" concentration for known manmade poisons that have no redeeming values. Yes medications are "safe" at the appropriate concentrations but can be poisonous if ingested above those levels. The point is that medications do have a redeeming social value. Dioxins do not! ........................................................................................................................... At one point in time I was advised that some chemicals have no threshold value. In other words there is no concentration low enough that ALL human beings will avoid negative health effects. This included dioxins. Various criteria, provincial and federal, acknowledge the toxicity of dioxins in comparison to other chemical compounds. For example we are advised that drinking water with less than 5 parts per billion (ppb) of benzene is supposedly "safe". Over 5 ppb. however can cause leukemia in human beings. Dioxins on the other hand have a criteria in drinking water of 15 parts per quadrillion. That is million, billion, trillion and then quadrillion. Each number is a thousand times larger than the preceding one and hence one part per quadrillion is 1,000 x 1,000 x 1,000 times SMALLER than one part in a million. You can see how much more toxic dioxin is than benzene, yet benzene is still a killer of human beings. .............................................................................................................. My conclusion is this. No concentrations of either benzene or dioxin should be in our drinking water. Or in our air. Or in our food. Then there are the thousands of other toxic chemicals used in industry and cheerfully discharged day in and day out into the natural environment. And yet industry and their professional shills blithly tell the public that this amount of chemical poison is safe and this amount is not. I believe that they are talking through their hats. Maybe the 44% of Canadians who will get cancer in their lifetimes feel the same way. I'm one of them although I think that I was very lucky. Many others are not. Yet we continue down this path of justifying and quantifying "safe" levels of toxins in our air, drinking water, ground water, surface water, soils and foods. Safe levels of toxins are a myth which allows some human beings to profit financially while exposing others to unecessary health risks.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

FORMER ELECTROHOME SITE STILL CONTAMINATED - APARTMENT BUILDING PLANNED

We are talking about the decades long contaminated site at Duke and Shanley St. in Kitchener. The contamination is from a former owner dumping chemical solvents on the site. Both my expectation and recollection is that these solvents include DNAPLS or Dense Non Aqueous Phase Liquids. One example would be Trichloroethylene (TCE) which is the solvent that was either dumped or spilled by Northstar Aerospace in the Bishop St. community in Cambridge and which resuled in mass indoor air poisonings of residents there. ........................................................................................................................ We are advised in the article in today's Waterloo Region Record titled "8-storey apartment building planned for the former Electrohome site" that "The environmental contamination on the property is extensive...". That first of all is shameful. This is a residential neighbourhood in which both children and vulnerable adults have been living for decades. Secondly it tells me that most likely these dumped solvents are indeed DNAPL chemicals which include chlorinated solvents such as TCE. These DNAPLS will have been slowly dissolving into the groundwater for decades contaminating it. Do we really think that we have such a surplus of potable water that we can frivolously permit continued industrial destruction of our groundwater? I think not. Secondly TCE in particular can enter homes via soil vapour intrusion. This is exactly what happened in Cambridge and numerous other towns and cities across North America with lethal results including various cancers. ................................................................................................................... Our esteemed authorities, both municipal and provincial, have determined that it is cheaper to ignore soil and groundwater contamination even in residential areas than to proactively remediate it before residents and citizens suffer the health consequences. Afterall I expect that they and their children and families will be advised privately not to live in specific contaminated areas throughout Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge. Yet one more perk of being a politician.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

WATERLOO REGION DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD APOLOGIZES FOR THIRTY YEARS OF HARMFUL BEHAVIOUR

Well I didn't see this coming. I have long known that various senior staff at the WRDSB abused their positions and authority in a number of different ways. This particular issue was raised over the last couple of years after the Black Lives Matter movement began. Several local activists have taken both the Region of Waterloo and the local police to task over their alleged racist behaviour. Furthermore they made it clear that the regular Police presence in schools was not the benign, allegedly win-win scenario that it had long been depicted as. Certain racial minorities felt that they and their behaviour was being targeted or at least put under a microscope simply because of their race and they felt this was demeaning and disrespectful. .................................................................................................................... Today's Waterloo Region Record has an article written by Brent Davis which is titled "School Board apologizes for harms caused by policing program". In June 2020 the school board suspended the policing program and advised that how and when police were being used in schools was creating "...a sense of fear, increased anxiety and vulnerability for some, and especially Black, Indigenous and racialized students". The school board then voted last month to end the program entirely. Further they later issued the following statement on their website: "The fact that any student felt this way is not acceptable. We apologize, unreservedly, to the students and communities who have been harmed." .............................................................................................................................. Wow, I am impressed. Now I wonder if they have any interest in apologizing for their "Pass the Trash" policies, hopefully of the past, wherin bad teachers were not disciplined but simply transferred to different schools to be inflicted upon students and parents there. This unfortunately included child molesters as determined in the Ron Archer case which resulted in his doing jail time for his illegal activities both on and off school property.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

This post originally was going to be about the $90 million that the Federal government have committed to a wellness/health centre to be built at Grassy Narrows for treatment of mercury victims. Victims of firstly Reed Paper and secondly of decades of both provincial and federal governments. Unfortunately the article that was in the Record's on-line version early this morning never made it to my hard copy paper delivered this morning. After going back to the on-line Record I find the article gone. This is not the first time this has occurred for whatever reason. ........................................................................................................... Reporter Paige Desmond wrote an article for the K-W Record titled "Chemtura boosts water cleanup" that was published on November 2, 2015. The article states that four new wells have been installed and infrastructure for treatment of the groundwater is also under construction. Jeff Merriman of Chemtura is quoted as saying that the company identified the need for additional work back in 2012 in order to achieve their 2028 mandated cleanup of the Elmira Aquifers. Of course Jeff "forgot" to mention that it was the citizens' committee CPAC who first identified the impending cleanup failure and went public with their findings. Both Chemtura and the Ministry of Environment denied CPAC's position for six months until they came up with their enhanced pump and treat plans. In the interim well W9 still isn't up and running and in fact pumping since 2015 (and 2012) only briefly exceeded the 2012 rates and in fact has been either the same or lower for most of the remaining years. The pump and treat system has been all about talk and not about actually pumping and treating more water. It's pretty clear that the new owners Lanxess Canada as well as the Ontario Ministry of Environment feel that they are in the end game and are trying their best to wind down the cleanup efforts. It's primarily been a public relations exercise for the past thirty-two years with lots of noise, talk, meetings, double dealings and little effective results.

Monday, July 26, 2021

THANK YOU ELZE BREDENKAMP

Going through old newspaper clippings mostly regarding Uniroyal Chemical I came across a Letter To The Editor in the Woolwich Observer from one Elze Bredenkamp. It was dated October 8, 2015. Now I'm not certain I know who that is but possibly she was the owner/proprietor of a small business on Church St. which is no longer there. Regardless her Letter To The Editor was critical of my right as a resident and voter in Woolwich Township, to take the mayor to task for her multiple irregularities in her post election Financial Statements. Now of course just as I and any other citizen have both a moral and legal right (Municipal Elections Act) to demand clarification of obvious failures in the mayor's Financial Statements, so does Ms. Bredenkamp have the right to object to my doing so. Unfortunately it appears that Ms. Bredenkamp probably hasn't even looked at the mayor's Financial Statements. I say that because there are exactly zero criticisms from her aimed at specific understating of expenses, improper corporate donations etc.. Ms. Bredenkamp's criticisms are entirely personal, aimed at me. For example she suggests that I'm looking for publicity and then she oddly turns around and calls me out by name in her Letter To The Editor. Perhaps the lady simply is a friend of the mayor and wanted to give her support. Fair enough but maybe the focus in your Letter should have been on the fine upstanding qualities of the mayor versus my alleged drawbacks. Anyhow carry on and perhaps in future research your facts a little bit better and you might better understand why some citizens object to taxpayer funded individuals breaking the law of the land as mayor Shantz did (i.e. Municpal Elections Act).

Saturday, July 24, 2021

"EVERY DOG HAS HIS DAY"

Regarding that quote above I can state that I've had several of them in my life. Certainly the towering achievement for which I received credit and acclaim was my exposing of both Varnicolor Chemical in Elmira and the Ontario Ministry of Environment as complete fakes, charlatans and liars with no limits or concerns for the public interest. There have also been some glorious days regarding Uniroyal Chemical and their dishonesty over the decades. Pre-Internet times I had uncovered Brian Beatty's (Morrison & Beatty) nonsense regarding a DNAPL (Dense Non Aqueous Phase Liquid) report written by hydrogeologist Stan Feenstra. Back in May 2014 I discovered the Stroh Drain which has hounded Chemtura and Lanxess ever since. This of course was immediately after George Karlos of the Ontario Ministry of Environment solemnly, publicly announced to CPAC (Chemtura Public Advisory Committee) that he had personally walked the Chemtura property from the south-east corner over to the Stroh property and then southwards and he assurred CPAC that there was no possible pathway for contaminant travel from Uniroyal/Chemtura over to those properties (Stroh & Martin). A couple of either aerial or satellite photos had an odd curve from Chemtura over to the Stroh property that almost looked like the results of massive water flow. It turns out that both the flooding Canagagigue Creek and overflowing Uniroyal Chemical waste waters followed the same path. Who could have guessed? Also prior to May 2014 the Stroh Drain had always been left off, eradicated or removed from maps and photos with but one very old exception that I am aware of. ........................................................................................................... Of course these ah ah! moments have been interspersed with decades of falsehoods, blatant lies, coverups, denials and every form of deceit imaginable. Writing my book "The Elmira Water Woes: The Triumph Of Collusion, Deceit and Citizen Betrayal" was also a huge high for me. While it remains somewhat low key on-line (Waterloo Region Advocate) nevertheless it is there for both my and others to research and review the truth. So if there is one takeaway for polluters, their enablers and other professional liars it is this. Eventually the truth comes out and your behaviour, whether just nasty or criminal, will be exposed. Who knows maybe there is still a chance for this old dog to have his day yet again.