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7/16/14 News Release: EPA Promises Action to Address Evaporation of PCBs from “Toxic Mound” on GM Superfund Site in Massena

News Release
7/16/14 For Immediate Release

Donald L. Hassig
Director, Cancer Action NY
315.262.2456
______________________________

_________________________________

EPA Promises Action to Address Evaporation of PCBs from “Toxic Mound”
on GM Superfund Site in Massena

On 7/15/14, scientists and technical personnel employed by the US
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) participated in a Cancer Action
NY teleconference for discussion of minimization of PCB exposure
associated with the General Motors Powertrain Superfund Site in the
Town of Massena, New York.  EPA empoyees on the call included:  Larisa
Romanowski, Anne Kelly, Joel Singerman, Douglas Fisher, Marian Olsen,
PhD and Michael McGowan.

Discussion centered upon PCB evaporation from the Industrial Landfill
referred to by Akwesasne residents as the “Toxic Mound”.  Anne Kelly
stated that EPA planned to remove the most heavily contaminated
materials from the Industrial Landfill and the East Disposal Area,
consolidate the remaining materials and then place a permanent cap
over the area.  Ms. Kelly explained that the new cap is designed to
prevent all evaporation of PCBs.

Respiratory PCB exposure has significantly contributed to the
causation of diabetes on the Akwesasne Reserve.  This has been clearly
elucidated by the research of David O. Carpenter, MD.  “Capping areas
of PCB contamination so as to prevent all evaporation is a critical
part of minimizing ongoing exposure to these harmful chemicals.  Where
any PCBs remain on the GM Superfund Site there must be effective
capping.  Air quality monitoring must be utilized to insure that
capping stops PCBs from escaping containment.”-Donald L. Hassig

7/1/14 Letter to Katie Strack Director Franklin County Public Health Department Concerning Providing Information on Subject of PCB and Total POPs Exposure Minimization

7/1/14

Katie Strack, Director
Franklin County Public Health Department
Malone, NY USA

Dear Director Strack,

Cancer Action NY currently conducts an educational outreach on the
subject of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) exposure minimization.
Since the founding of the organization in January 2000, we have
educated on carcinogen exposure reduction.  We began with a focus on
reducing dioxin exposure and later expanded our outreach to address
minimization of all POPs exposures.

POPs are contaminants of all animal fats.  They are present in all
animal fat containing foods, including:  meats, fish, diary products,
eggs and processed foods in which animal fat is used as an ingredient.

I have gone door to door on the Akwesasne Reserve and in the Village
of Massena.  The residents of these communities are unaware of POPs
contamination of the mainstream food supply.  Some people are
knowledgeable concerning the presence of PCBs in fresh water fish and
certain wild game.  Having only this limited knowledge people continue
to consume animal fat containing foods and receive ongoing exposures
to POPs.

In 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) published “Persistent
Organic Pollutants:  Impact on Child Health”.  This landmark public
health protection report recommends action to minimize the exposure
that children receive to POPs.  Populations residing in the vicinity
of POPs contaminated sites are prioritized for action.  The population
residing at Akwesasne is such a population due to the presence of PCB
contaminated sites upwind and upstream of the reserve.

Considering the long history of PCB exposures on the Akwesasne
Reserve, POPs exposure minimization is of critical importance to
resident health.  I would like to speak with you for twenty minutes
about the WHO report named above and POPs exposure minimization
education.  The people of Akwesasne must be warned about the POPs
exposure health hazard constituted by the presence of POPs in the
animal fat containing foods of the mainstream food supply.  I am
hopeful that once you have read this report and entered into a
dialogue on the subject of POPs exposure minimization education you
will be interested in working to create an educational outreach on this
subject within the Franklin County Public Health Department.

Thank you for your attention to this correspondence.

joyous in Nature,

Donald L. Hassig

6/16/14 News Release: ATSDR Publishes Education Piece on PCB Exposure and Damages to Health

ATSDR Publishes Education Piece on PCB Exposure and Damages to Health

During the course of the past several years Cancer Action NY has come
before local governments in St. Lawrence County to advocate for
efforts aimed at motivating the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention’s National Center for Environmental Health and Agency for
Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to produce educational
materials on the subject of persistent organic pollutants (POPs)
exposure minimization.  As a result of these endeavors the ATSDR
commenced an effort to produce an education piece on polychlorinated
biphenyls (PCBs).  This document has now been finalized and is
available on the internet.  It’s title is “ATSDR Case Studies in
Environmental Medicine Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) Toxicity”.  It
is part of the ATSDR Case Studies in Environmental Medicine series.
This educational material can be accessed at the URL found below.

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/csem.html

The case study covers sources of exposure to PCBs and describes
certain damages to health associated with PCB exposure.  The education
piece is not suitable to education on the subject of POPs exposure
minimization due to the fact that only PCBs are addressed.

The document states that consumption of contaminated animal fats is
the main PCB exposure route for the general public.  However, it does
not warn that this food consumption exposure is likely to be causing
serious harm to the health of members of the general public.  Due to
this lack of content, the document falls short of serving to provide
the public with the best available information on minimizing exposure
to a harmful group of chemicals.

The scientific literature presents information supporting the
conclusion that damage to human health occurs at the level of exposure
imposed by past and current levels of food supply contamination.  This
is clearly the case with PCB exposure and cancer.  Animal studies
demonstrate epigenetic effects including cancer and reproductive
deficits.  Researchers believe that similar epigenetic effects are
occurring in humans.  The only plausible explanation of the failure of
the ATSDR to include a warning about the harm caused to members of the
general public by PCB exposure imposed by the presence of PCBs in
animal fat foods of the mainstream food supply, including: meats,
fish, dairy products and eggs is pressure from the foods sector of the
economy.

The document states that harm to reproductive health and cognition
have been demonstrated for the offspring of mothers who consumed large
quantities of locally caught PCB contaminated fish.  Thus, this
education piece would be useful for educating populations with a
history of heavy consumption of locally caught fish.

The people of Akwesasne and non-Indian residents of the St. Lawrence
River valley can benefit from the information in this education piece.
It provides them with the knowledge that they may have been harmed by
PCBs if their mothers consumed large quantities of locally caught
fish.  This group of people and the members of the general public need
to have information that will help them minimize their ongoing
exposure to PCBs and the other POPs.  Local St. Lawrence County
governments need to continue to advocate for action by the National
Center for Environmental Health and the ATSDR to educate on the
subject of POPs exposure minimization.

5/5/14 Letter to St. Lawrence County Legislator Kevin Acres Providing Prevalence of Diabetes Among Akwesasne Adults

5/5/14

Kevin Acres, Legislator

St. Lawrence County Legislature

Canton, NY USA

Dear Legislator Acres,

The prevalence of diabetes among Akwesasne adults was reported to be 20.2 percent in a research article titled, “Diabetes in relation to serum levels of polychlorinated biphenyls and chlorinated pesticides in adult Native Americans”.  This paper is available at the URL below.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17938733

The prevalence of self-reported diabetes among adults in New York State has increased steadily over the past 11 years. The three-year moving average has nearly doubled from 4.6% in 1996-1998 to 8.5% in 2007-2009.  These prevalence values were estimated by the New York State Department of Health Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System an automated random telephone survey.
As you can see prevalence of diabetes is much higher for Akwesasne residents than for New York State residents.

Thank you for your interest in the health of the residents to Akwesasne.
joyous in Nature,

Donald L. Hassig

5/4/14 Letter to St. Lawrence County Legislator Kevin Acres Concerning Disease Rates at Akwesasne and Links Between PCB Exposure and Damages to Health

5/4/14

Kevin Acres, Legislator
St. Lawrence County Legislature
Canton, NY USA

Dear Legislator Acres,

Please find below several research articles that demonstrate
associations between disease outcome and PCB exposure of Akwesasne
residents.  These research papers and numerous others make clear the
fact that PCB exposure is linked to serious damage to human health on
the Akwesasne Reserve.

Diabetes in Relation to Serum Levels of Polychlorinated Biphenyls and
Chlorinated Pesticides in Adult Native Americans
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2022671/

In Utero Exposure to Background Levels of Polychlorinated Biphenyls
and Cognitive Functioning among School-age Children
http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/162/1/17.full

Thyroid function in relation to burden of PCBs, p,p’-DDE, HCB, mirex
and lead among Akwesasne youth:  a preliminary study
http://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/21782738/Thyroid_function_in_relation_to_burden_of_PCBs_pp’_DDE_HCB_mirex_and_lead_among_Akwesasne_Mohawk_youth:_a_preliminary_study_

Relationships of Polychlorinated Biphenyls and
Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p,p’-DDE) with Testosterone Levels
in Adolescent Males
http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/1205984/

You have requested incidence rates of disease for the Akwesasne
population.  I will contact David O. Carpenter, MD to determine
whether or not such information exists.  It would certainly be useful
to know how disease rates at Akwesasne compare to other areas.
However, whether or not such data exists, there is evidence that the
disease rates existing amongst these people are higher than average.
I have listened to what the residents of Akwesasne say about the
amount of sickness which exists in their community and am convinced
that there is a considerable elevation of disease in the population
residing on the reserve.  Just because a number has not been
calculated to describe this elevation does not mean that the elevation
does not exist.  The fact that Akwesasne residents are reporting many
cases of certain diseases, including:  cancer, diabetes, autism and
hypothyroidism in their community is strong evidence that elevated
disease rates exist there.

Thank you for your willingness to learn about this environmental health problem.

joyous in Nature,

Donald L. Hassig

5/3/14 News Release: Evidence of Serious Harm to Akwesasne Health Caused by PCB Exposure Reaches Critical Mass. National Center for Environmental Health and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Informed.

Evidence of Serious Harm to Akwesasne Health Caused by PCB Exposure
Reaches Critical Mass.  National Center for Environmental Health and
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Informed.

On May 2, 2014, Dana Leigh Thompson, a resident and grassroots leader
of the Akwesasne Reserve spoke via conference call with Julie Fishman,
Program Director for the National Center for Environmental Health and
its sister governmental public health entity, the Agency for Toxic
Substances and Disease Registry and Annabelle Allison, Director of the
Office of Tribal Affairs with these two agencies.  Ms. Thompson shared
her knowledge of a large amount of disease and suffering amongst the
people of Akwesasne.  She spoke of many cases of cancer, diabetes,
hypothyroidism and autism.  She referred to scientific research that
demonstrated low levels of testosterone in the men and boys of her
homeland.  Ms. Thompson attributed the excessive quantity of disease
amongst residents of Akwesasne to exposure to PCBs.  She explained
that residents were exposed to PCBs by eating local fish and game,
drinking local water, eating locally grown vegetables, breathing air
that was contaminated with PCBs evaporating from contaminated soils
and sediments as well as drinking breast milk.

Cancer Action NY organized the conference call.  Donald L. Hassig,
Director of this grassroots environmental health protection
organization proposed that the people of Akwesasne would be provided
with the best of disease prevention educational outreach.  He stated
that this outreach must include information on the persistent organic
pollutants (POPs) exposure health hazard constituted by the presence
of harmful levels of POPs in the animal fat containing foods of the
mainstream food supply:  meats, fish, dairy products and eggs.  He
suggested that the National Center for Environmental Health and the
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry help with the work of
encouraging all Akwesasne residents to read the 2010 World Health
Organization report, “Persistent Organic Pollutants:  Impact on Child
Health”.  He stated that this knowledge power must be utilized at
Akwesasne.

Ms. Fishman and Ms. Allison expressed concern that PCB exposure was
causing so much harm to the people of Akwesasne and stated that they
would commence a dialogue with their colleagues as to what could be
done to address the problem.  Ms. Fishman thanked Dana Leigh Thompson
for making her aware of this environmental health problem and attested
that she would bear testimony to the disease and suffering of
Akwesasne.

Evidence of PCB exposure associated damages to health of Akwesasne
residents has steadily accumulated over the course of the past several
decades.  This evidence has now reached a critical mass that makes
clear the fact that a large number of people have been caused serious
harm by PCB exposure in the area downwind and downstream from the
ALCOA, former Reynolds Metals and GM Powertrain facilities in the Town
of Massena.  It is now time for dialogue between residents and
government on what needs to be done to minimize all future harm caused
by PCBs amongst the residents of Akwesasne.

5/1/14 News Release: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry at Work on Education Materials on POPs Exposure Minimization

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry at Work on Education
Materials on POPs Exposure Minimization

I have now received a letter dated April 2, 2014 from Robin Ikeda, MD,
MPH, Acting Director of the National Center for Environmental Health
and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).
This letter is in response to my letter to Tanja Popovic, MD, MPH
former Acting Director of these sister agencies of the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention requesting production of an educational
booklet on the subject of persistent organic pollutants (POPs)
exposure minimization.  Dr. Ikeda writes that the ATSDR will release
an education piece on PCBs later this Spring.  An education piece on
dioxins will follow this release.  Acting Director Ikeda further
states, “ATSDR is also developing educational materials on POPs that
will include ways to reduce exposure, including through dietary
interventions.”

This is the most wonderful news.  Our country’s premiere environmental
health agencies are now making steady progress on creating educational
outreach on the subject of POPs exposure minimization.  Someday, all
Americans will have grown knowledgeable concerning the presence of
industrial contaminants in the animal fat portion of the food supply.
This knowledge will empower dietary decision making that leads to
changes in food consumption, which minimize exposure to POPs.
Americans will possess fully sufficient knowledge about POPs so as to
take the actions necessary to minimize the harm caused by the presence
of these dangerous substances in the environment.  Viva the National
Center for Environmental Health and the ATSDR!  America’s public
health is on a rising path.  Viva scientific knowledge and grassroots
activism!

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