Bunny Snow wrote:
> Both the American Council for Science and Health and some the U.S.
> mainstream media, I've found, are often misrepresenting studies and
> continually reassuring falsehoods whenever potentially important
> research has raised the concerns. I base my opinions on the
> well-referenced research of the RACHELs and the Environmental Research
> Foundation, as well as conferences attended, governmental and scientific
> paper secured.
> RACHEL's newsletters are well-researched, well-written and well-edited
> by Peter Montague, Ph.D., founder of the Environmental Research
> Foundation, a non-profit, unbiased, citizen's advocacy organization. In
> this and many other RACHEL's newsletters are references to the powerful
> ACSH, which apparently receives industrial enterprise dollars to defend
> any potential governmental, medical or judicial action in order to keep
> the public confused, ignorant, and therefore controlled, so their
> financial providers may continue unhindered.
> One only has to read through the publications of ACSH to better
> understand which industry is providing their funding. In fact, when I
> read that fluoride was good (despite the release of governmental
> scientific funding to the contrary) and that eggs and cholesterol does
> not contribute to heart disease, I wondered if these findings came from
> ACSH. And, when I carefully read the misinterpretation of the endocrine
> disruption studies, which ACSH has repeatedly called ''modulation'', I
> knew that ACSH was making the studies say words that original published
> studies and the government never used. In my believe, without going
> into this word by word, it is totally misrepresentation of honest
> scientists' work, which ACSH has spewed into the media to keep the
> general public confused and ignorant.
> A Wall Street Journal editorial, for example, cited that dioxins are
> natural and created in compost heaps. This is false. Dioxins, furans,
> PCBs and other toxic unregulated wastes may be found in compost heaps,
> if sewage (biosolids) or industrial sludge is used. Such wastes may
> contain cement clinker, which is used to stabilize wastes or as a soil
> additive. [See: Cement And Kiln Dust Contain Dioxins in RACHEL's #314.
> The URL for the Environmental Research Foundation is
> In my opinion, ''science and health'' are more lip service to the
> industrial-funded scientists and policy makers at ACSH, the Wall Street
> Journal, and other propaganda-spewing media, whose real purpose is to
> protect ''corporate welfare''.
> BTW, I share this in full, so as not to take anything out of context,
> unlike what ACSH and their followers so cleverly continues to do.
> ~Bunny Snow
> RACHEL'S ENVIRONMENT & HEALTH WEEKLY #656
> ---June 24, 1999---
> A CAMPAIGN OF REASSURING FALSEHOODS
> A Campaign of Reassuring Falsehoods
> Evidently the permanent government in the U.S. now sees dioxin in the
> food supply as a threat to itself because it has begun a new campaign of
> reassuring falsehoods, this time in the WALL STREET JOURNAL. We use the
> term "permanent government" as it was described by Lewis Lapham, editor
> HARPER'S MAGAZINE:
> "The permanent government, a secular oligarchy... comprises the Fortune
> 500 companies and their attendant lobbyists, the big media and
> entertainment syndicates, the civil and military services, the larger
> research universities and law firms. It is this government that hires
> the country's politicians and sets the terms and conditions under which
> the country's citizens can exercise their right --God-given but
> increasingly expensive --to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
> Obedient to the rule of men, not laws, the permanent government oversees
> the production of wealth, builds cities, manufactures goods, raises
> capital, fixes prices, shapes the landscape, and reserves the right to
> assume debt, poison rivers, cheat the customers, receive the gifts of
> federal subsidy, and speak to the American people in the language of low
> motive and base emotion."
> Lapham distinguishes the "permanent government," which is not elected,
> from the "provisional government," which is:
> "The provisional government is the spiritual democracy that comes and
> goes on the trend of a political season and oversees the production of
> pageants....Positing a rule of laws instead of men, the provisional
> government must live within the cage of high-minded principle,
> addressing its remarks to the imaginary figure known as the informed
> citizen or the thinking man, a superior being who detests
> superficial reasoning and quack remedies, never looks at PLAYBOY,
> remembers the lessons of history, trusts Bill Moyers, worries about
> political repression in Liberia, reads (and knows himself improved by)
> the op-ed page of the WALL STREET JOURNAL," Lapham writes.
> * * *
> Starting in March, Belgian health authorities discovered dioxin and PCBs
> in poultry, eggs, beef, pork, milk, butter and even in mayonnaise.
> Dioxin and PCBs are members of a family of 219 toxic chemicals that can
> damage the immune system and the hormones of humans and other animals.
> They can also cause cancer, according to the World Health Organization.
> [See REHW #636, #653.] The toxicity of dioxins and PCBs are reported in
> "toxic equivalents" -- a toxicity reporting system that takes into
> account the particular mixture of dioxins and PCBs that is being
> In late April, the Dutch Ministry of Health notified the Belgians that
> they had measured dioxin in two chickens at 958 and 775 parts per
> trillion toxic equivalents. In Belgium, the allowable limit for dioxin
> in chicken is 5 ppt toxic equivalents, and in the U.S. the limit is one
> Still Belgian authorities said nothing publicly. Then in early June word
> got out that Belgian foodstuffs were widely contaminated and the
> European Union and the U.S. clapped a quarantine on foods from Belgium.
> Other countries around the world immediately followed suit: Maylasia,
> Myanmar, Uruguay, Thailand, Australia, Brazil, Russia, and China, among
> others. Suddenly tons of food were pulled from shops throughout Belgium
> and incinerated, leaving shelves bare. Within two weeks, the incident
> had cost Belgian farmers, grocers and food exporters an estimated $500
> million -- a lot of money in a small country.
> The problem was traced to 8 liters of oil containing PCBs contaminated
> with 50 to 80 milligrams of dioxin. The British NEW SCIENTIST says "one
> theory is" that the toxic oil was taken from an electrical transformer
> and dumped illegally into a public recycling container for used frying
> oil. The contaminated oil ended up in an 88-ton (80 metric tonne)
> batch of fat produced by Verkest, a company located near Ghent, Belgium.
> The fat was sold to 12 manufacturers of animal feed, who then produced
> 1760 tons (1600 metric tonnes) of contaminated animal feed. Starting in
> January, 1999, the feed was sold mainly in Belgium but also in France
> and the Netherlands.
> According to CHEMICAL & ENGINEERING NEWS, at a public hearing June 9, a
> Dutch official said the problem had been solved in his country -- all of
> the contaminated foods had been eaten. No one is sure how many people
> were affected because no one is yet sure how widely the contaminated
> feed was distributed. "Either a few people got a large dose, or many
> people got a small dose," said Wim Traag from the Dutch State Institute
> for Quality Control of Agricultural Products.
> The NEW SCIENTIST quoted Martin van der Berg from the University of
> Utrecht who calculated that adults who ate chicken and eggs contaminated
> at 900 ppt would take in 100 times the amount considered "safe" by the
> World Health Organization.
> A 3-year-old child eating a single egg contaminated at 900 ppt toxic
> equivalents would increase his or her total body burden of dioxin
> equivalents by 20%, van der Berge calculated. He said this would
> probably not be enough to cause cancer in humans "but could affect
> neural and cognitive development, the immune system, and thyroid and
> steroid hormones, especially in unborn and young children,"
> the NEW SCIENTIST reported.
> Two weeks into the crisis, on June 13, the Belgian government suffered a
> massive defeat in elections. The next day the WALL STREET JOURNAL
> announced the debacle this way: "The center-left coalition of Prime
> Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene suffered a devastating defeat in national
> elections Sunday, punished for its handling of a food contamination
> scandal...." Mr. Dehaene promptly resigned.
> Clearly, the political hazards of a dioxin-contaminated food supply were
> not lost on the permanent government in the U.S. Less than a week after
> the initial revelations about dioxin in Belgian foods, the WALL STREET
> JOURNAL began a campaign of disinformation.
> On June 7, the JOURNAL had one of its staff reporters, Stephen D. Moore,
> try to reassure its readers under the headline, "Dioxins' Risk to Humans
> is Difficult to Appraise."
> The opening paragraph of the story did not mention that dioxins are
> toxic; it said dioxins are created by many industrial processes but also
> "in compost heaps." How could anyone develop a healthy respect for a
> chemical that originates in a pile of lawn clippings? No one fears the
> familiar. Very effective propaganda.
> In the second paragraph, the JOURNAL introduced the idea that dioxins
> are toxic: "While there are dozens of different dioxins and furans, a
> closely related family of molecules, only about a half-dozen are toxic."
> Not true, but effective propaganda nevertheless.
> Then the real point of Mr. Moore's work unfolds: a re-telling of the
> story of the 1976 accident at a Hoffman-LaRoche pesticide factory in
> Seveso, Italy, which spewed dioxin into the surrounding community. "At
> Seveso, a cloud of chemicals containing dioxin was released into the air
> and eventually contaminated an area of 15 square kilometers with a
> population of 37,000 people," the JOURNAL said.
> And what happened to these 37,000 people? The JOURNAL now quotes Roche,
> the company that caused the accident: 447 citizens of Seveso "developed
> skin injuries that healed within a few weeks." And, "Another 193 people,
> mainly children, developed cases of chloracne, a condition characterized
> by dark skin blotches, that take months or even years to disappear." And
> that's the extent of it. In the next sentence, the JOURNAL assures us
> that dioxin caused no permanent injuries at Seveso: "The Italian
> government has conducted studies of longer-term effects from the Seveso
> accident. At least so far, there's no evidence of any significant
> increase of miscarriages or cancer among local residents." Very
> reassuring, but completely untrue.
> Actually, the Italian government's chief researcher, Pier Alberto
> Bertazzi, has published a series of studies in peer-reviewed journals,
> beginning in 1993, showing that many people exposed to dioxins at Seveso
> have suffered a variety of serious long-term effects including increased
> incidence of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, including cancers of
> the stomach and rectum, leukemias (cancer of the blood- forming
> cells), Hodgkin's disease, and soft tissue sarcomas.-8
> Now the JOURNAL returns to the theme that dioxins are natural: "Dioxins
> also can come from natural sources. One contamination case in the U.S. a
> few years ago resulted from the use of clay as a binder in chicken
> feed. American regulators eventually traced the contaminated clay to a
> quarry in the state of Arkansas and established that the source of the
> dioxins was prehistoric." [See REHW #555.] In actual fact, American
> regulators did no such thing -- they never did figure out where that
> dioxin came from -- but this is unvarnished propaganda, and effective as
> Evidently not satisfied with this series of misrepresentations, the WALL
> STREET JOURNAL on June 21 turned over its editorial page to Elizabeth
> Whelan, president of the American Council on Science and Health, a
> scheme-tank supported by the chemical industry. Ms. Whelan is, frankly,
> one of the crudest and most shameless dissemblers of our time. She
> launched her career as lapdog of the permanent government by falsifying
> the history of Alar, the cancer-causing farm chemical that used to be
> found in apple juice intended for babies in the U.S., before the apple
> industry came to its senses and swore off the poison in 1989. [See REHW
> In the WALL STREET JOURNAL June 21, Ms. Whelan assured her readers that
> ''there was no evidence" of "health-threatening toxic materials" in
> Belgian food. Oh? This is because, she says, "no one has ever died or
> become chronically ill due to environmental exposure [to dioxin]." Oh?
> The problem in Belgium is Belgium's "unnnecessarily stringent laws," Ms.
> Whelan asserts.
> The dioxin problem in Belgium was imaginary, Ms. Whelan assures us. It
> "can be explained as an example of hysterical contagion," Ms. Whelan
> asserts. She then waxes academic, quoting a college professor who says
> mass hysterias have been recorded throughout European history. On this
> basis, Ms. Whelan concludes that the fear of dioxin in Belgium is just
> like the Alar episode in the U.S. in 1989 -- a make-believe problem.
> It is interesting to us that the permanent government has to rely on
> such crude misrepresentations to reassure its loyal followers in the
> business community (those who read the op-ed page of the WALL STREET
> JOURNAL and know themselves improved by it). To us it means that the
> anti-dioxin campaign being conducted by grass-roots activists in the
> U.S. [see REHW #479] is having a good effect. No doubt the permanent
> government has reason to be nervous: they have contaminated the U.S.
> food supply with dangerous levels of dioxins and, as the Bible says, the
> truth will set people free. [See REHW #414, #463, #636.]
> --Peter Montague(National Writers Union,
> UAW Local 1981/AFL-CIO)
>  Lewis H. Lapham, "Lights, Camera, Democracy!" HARPER'S MAGAZINE
> August 1996, pgs. 33-38, quoted with permission.
>  Bette Hileman, "Belgium has a problem: Dioxin-tainted food,"
> CHEMICAL & ENGINEERING NEWS June 14, 1999, pg. 9.
>  Debora MacKenzie, "Recipe for disaster," NEW SCIENTIST No. 2190
> (June 12, 1999), pg. 4.
>  Craig R. Whitney, "Food Scandal Adds to Belgium's Image of
> Disarray," NEW YORK TIMES June 9, 1999, pg. A4.
>  Pier Alberto Bertazzi and others, "Cancer Incidence in a Population
> Accidentally Exposed to 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-PARA-dioxin,"
> EPIDEMIOLOGY Vol. 4 (September, 1993), pgs. 398-406.
>  P.A. Bertazzi, "The Seveso studies on early and long-term effects of
> dioxin exposure: a review," ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH PERSPECTIVES Vol. 106
> Supplement 2 (April 1998), pgs. 625-633.
>  P.A. Bertazzi and others, "Dioxin exposure and cancer risk: a 15-
> year mortality study after the 'Seveso accident,'" EPIDEMIOLOGY Vol. 8,
> No. 6 (November 1997), pgs. 646-652.
>  A.C. Pesatori and others, "Dioxin exposure and non-malignant health
> effects: a mortality study," OCCUPATIONAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL MEDICINE
> Vol. 55, No. 2 (February 1998), pgs. 126-131.
> Descriptor terms: dioxin; food safety; belgium;
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