Dioxin Developments

May 23, 2016 | Commercial Litigation | Complex Torts & Product Liability

Natural Resource Defense Council Scientists Are “Lying in the Weeds,” Author Says

A “long-running scare campaign” against the commonly-used herbicide 2,4-D is being conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council (“NRDC”) and other environmental groups, according to an article posted on the website of the American Council on Science and Health (“ACSH”), a national, non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) education and advocacy organization based in New York City.

The author of the ACSH article, Josh Bloom, asserted that the NRDC is using the “time-tested strategy of equating 2,4-D with Agent Orange.” Mr. Bloom added that the NRDC “tosses around the names 2,4-D, dioxin, 2,4,5-T, and Agent Orange interchangeably as if to imply that they are all the same.”

Mr. Bloom wrote in his article that the NRDC and similar groups “have been exploiting this misconception for many years,” citing examples beginning in September 2008 through March 2016. According to Mr. Bloom, the NRDC has “crafted its words in a way that strongly suggest that 2,4-D is highly toxic and carcinogenic.”

He suggested that the NRDC revise its statements to say, “Neither Agent Orange, nor dioxin are in any way relevant to 2,4-D.”

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Window Manufacturer Advocates Phasing Out of Vinyl Windows

SIW Impact Windows and Doors, an aluminum impact resistant window manufacturer based in South Florida, has said that a “perpetual phasing out of vinyl windows within the window manufacturing industry” is a requisite industry imperative.

Abe Lopez, the president of SIW Impact Windows, said in a statement, “There are still vinyl windows being manufactured and it simply isn’t safe, not only for the homeowners [and] the manufacturing workers but also the environment.”

According to the company, vinyl chloride, used in the manufacturing process of vinyl, is “an extremely volatile and flammable gas that emits other dangerous gases in the manufacturing process.” The company said that a study in 1930 that exposed test animals to vinyl chloride found that it “caused liver damage,” and that several subsequent studies “further validated these initial findings.”

The company said that the primary chemical makeup of vinyl includes ethylene dichloride (“EDC”) and vinyl chloride monomer (“VCM”), both of which, the company said, “have been shown to produce and release carcinogens.”

SIW Impact Windows said that “perhaps the largest danger relating to the manufacture and use of vinyl products” was “the dangerous carcinogen dioxin that is released when vinyl products are burned.”

Mr. Lopez said, “We have a responsibility as manufacturers of consumer products to produce effective, but safe and environmentally friendly products. Vinyl is quite simply the antipode of an ethical, sustainable, green building material.” He concluded his statement by observing that, “[w]hile the process is longer and perhaps more costly, our impact windows are environmentally friendly and also more efficient.”

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EPA Says It Will Clean Minnesota Site

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) reportedly will excavate soil from a 125 acre site in Cass Lake near Pike Bay in Minnesota that had been designated as a Superfund site.

The Pike Bay site, which had been operated by St. Regis Paper Company, closed in the mid-1980s. Beginning in 2004, 3,900 tons of soil was removed from the site.

After recent soil sampling, the EPA decided to excavate additional soil from the site that it said was contaminated with dioxin as a result of the use of pentachlorphenol to treat wood. The EPA said that it would replace the soil it removes with clean dirt and new vegetation.

The agency recently held a public meeting that “went pretty well,” Leslie Patterson, the EPA’s remedial project manager, told the Grand Fork Herald, adding, “we’re looking at probably a couple of years before the backhoes would show up and we start moving dirt.”

The site is within the reservation of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe.

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