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What You Might Have Missed Over (and since) the Holidays

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The past few months have been a real doozy for the vinyl chemical industry.

While you were probably indulging in a bit too much holiday egg nog or prancing underneath the mistletoe, the vinyl chemical industry was in hot water from New Jersey to Delaware to California.

“These individuals can never know how much and for how long they were exposed to vinyl chloride, a highly toxic gas known to cause fatal cancer and liver damage,” the chairman stated.

The biggest news was no doubt the train cars carrying vinyl chloride heading to OxyVinyls that derailed in Paulsboro, NJ. The accident was nothing short of a major environmental and occupational health disaster. One of the trains released 23,000 gallons of vinyl chloride, which formed a cloud of toxic gas that drifted into homes and businesses throughout the community.  More than 70 people were hospitalized after the vinyl chloride release. Air monitoring found very high levels of this chemical in the community. Hundreds of families were then forced to shelter in place and eventually evacuate their homes for days.   Since then, it’s been revealed that first responders were exposed to high levels of vinyl chloride, as it’s shown up in their bodies.  Thanks in part by the fine folks over at OxyVinyls (more on Oxy below).  You can read more about the train disaster in this op-ed I authored for the NJ Star Ledger (the largest paper in NJ!).

The same week that Oxy’s vinyl chloride was poisoning the air of Paulsboro, vinyl manufacturer Formosa Plastics was fined by the state of Delaware more than $70,000 for various air pollution violations at their plant in Delaware City.  It’s not the first time Formosa has been in hot water for violating the law.

In California the US Customs and Border Protection seized 35,000 toxic rubber (vinyl) duckies, which were in violation of the federal Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act for containing elevated levels of phthalates.  According to the feds:

“they arrived from China dressed as Santa, Snowman, Gingerbread man, Reindeer and Penguin, all 35,712, but their cute holiday flair did not deflect the scrutiny of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and import specialists, at the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport.”

And that was just in December!

What will 2013 bring for the vinyl industry?

The past few weeks have shown 2013 will not be much easier for the vinyl chemical industry.

Down in Georgia, a recycling company has reduced their stockpile of PVC, after more than 400 firefighters had to battle a fire at the plant.

“It’s been almost six months since Chattooga County, Ga., was hit by its largest fire in three decades, when more than 400 firefighters battled a blaze at a plastics recycling plant in Berryton, Ga.  One thing has changed since then: The North Georgia Textile Supply Co. has whittled down its stockpile of a potentially toxic type of plastic: polyvinyl chloride, or PVC. When PVC burns and firefighters spray water on it, a cloud of chlorine gas can result. Since the fire, North Georgia Textile Supply Co. has reduced the amount of PVC at the recycling facility in the old Berryton yarn mill three miles southwest of Summerville, Ga.”

EPA published the latest toxic release inventory (TRI) data, and their latest findings show that 3 of the top 5 dioxin polluters in the country were vinyl companies: OxyVinyls, Dow Chemical, and Westlakes Vinyl (with Oxy and Dow #1 and #2).

New scientific studies published continue to underscore what we know – vinyl chemicals are toxic to our health.  Studies have found dioxin delays the onset of puberty in boys, phthalates in the bodies of ants, and organotins (which are used to “stabilize” vinyl) linked to obesity, even in the grandchildren of those exposed.  Nick Kristof wrote a fantastic column about this new study in last week’s New York Times.

Finally, WFPL radio ran a heartbreaking and extremely powerful story about the families of vinyl workers who died from liver cancer, after being exposed to high levels of vinyl chloride.  This here says it all:

“But it’s too late for the workers who have already died from angiosarcoma or are suffering from liver disease. Janet Crecelius Johnson wonders why B.F. Goodrich couldn’t have erred on the side of caution. Her husband Revis was diagnosed with cancer a year to the day after he retired. He had worked night shifts for nearly 40 years, and was looking forward to spending more time with his family.

“Every time there’s a wedding, every time there’s a baby, you just think, ‘I wish he could be here.’””

Any other major stories I might have missed?

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Dioxin Exposures Effects Seen In Great Grandbabies

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“These results have implications for the human populations that are exposed to dioxin and are experiencing declines in fertility and increases in adult onset disease, with a potential to transmit them to later generations,” the authors concluded. New study shows frightening results from dioxin exposures.  Read more.

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Protect Your Grandchildren Today – Eat Fat Free – Less Dioxin

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A few years ago a study conducted by the NY State Department of health on former Love Canal residents identified two very important facts.  First the rate of birth defects in Love Canal children (those who were children living in the area during the crisis) is as high as it was for adults during exposures while living at Love Canal (56% of children were born with birth defects). The second finding was that there were statistically more girls than boys born to Love Canal children.  Generally it is believed that that change in normal ratio of male/female children is an indicator of exposures to hormone disrupting chemicals.

You may have already heard about these health outcomes in our newsletter or other communications.  It was the recent news about a study of dioxin and rats that reminded me of  the Love Canal studies.  At Love Canal there were 20,000 tons of chemicals buried in the center of the community and one of the chemicals identified in backyards was dioxin.

When I read the recent animal studies around dioxin and how exposures impacts children across generations, I was worried again.  Not only about my family, friends and former neighbors but for all the communities like Time Beach, Mo, Pensacola, FL, the ones people may have heard about but also communities not in the news in Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, Washington and every other community with a paper mill, wood treatment facility and pesticide sprayers.

Here is the scary news. “Pregnant rats exposed to an industrial pollutant passed on a variety of diseases to their unexposed great-grandkids.” Washington State University scientists found that third-generation offspring of pregnant rats exposed to dioxin had high rates of kidney and ovarian diseases as well as early onset of puberty. They also found changes in the great-grandsons’ sperm. The great-grandkids – the first generation not directly exposed to dioxin – inherited their health conditions through cellular changes controlling how their genes were turned on and off, the researchers reported. The dioxin doses used in the study were low for lab rats, but are higher than most people’s exposures from the environment. The study raises questions that won’t be easy to answer about people’s exposure to dioxins from food and industrial sources.

Dioxin builds up in the body and has up to a decade-long half-life in humans, so scientists say a woman who becomes pregnant even 20 years after exposure is at risk of transmitting the consequences of her exposure to later generations.  Most human studies of dioxins have focused on the direct exposure in adults and fetuses. A study of a 1976 industrial accident in Anshu Seveso,  Italy, documented health defects in the grandchildren of women that conceived as long as 25 years after exposure to dioxin. No human studies have investigated how a person’s dioxin exposure will affect their great grandkids.

So what does this mean for the millions of people directly exposed dioxin and almost everyone eating dioxin contaminated foods daily?  The average American is at 77% of the level below which exposures are considered to be safe.  That level is set for adults not babies and small children.  Children have different eating habits than adults. They tend to eat more dairy products that are high in dioxin. Dioxin is prevalent in foods that are high in saturated fat, primarily meat and dairy.

This information really reaffirms that everyone needs to eat foods with little animal fats and fat free dairy to protect our great, grandchildren.  It also should send an urgent message to EPA to get industries to clean up and stop producing dioxin pollution now.  We can’t wait nor can our grant grand babies.  Read more:

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Make Sure Dioxin’s Not for Dinner In Texas

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Texas Department of Health has issued a consumption advisory for crab and all species of fish from the San Jacinto River and warned women who are nursing, pregnant or who might be pregnant and children under the age of 12 not to consume any fish or blue crab from the area. The Health Department also advised adults and children to avoid the risk of exposure to dioxin through skin by not camping, fishing, swimming or picnicking near the San Jacinto River where the toxic waste ponds were located. According to the County, the health of both humans and the local ecology are threatened by releases of dioxin from the waste pond sites. Read more.

Photo: © Les Stone/Greenpeace

Faith-Based and Socially Responsible Investors Call on EPA to Strengthen PVC Air Safeguards

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Investors urge EPA to protect environmental justice communities

Photo: © Les Stone/Greenpeace

Washington, DC — Public pressure is mounting for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to strengthen toxic air pollution standards at polyvinyl chloride (PVC) chemical plants, especially for two that were singled out for weak standards in a new set of rules that the agency released addressing emissions from nationwide facilities.

The newest action comes from over a dozen faith-based and socially responsible investors in a letter sent to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson today.

Nearly twenty investors, with more than $9.8 billion assets under management, including some who own shares in PVC plants, are calling on the EPA to reconsider the rule. In a letter submitted to EPA today, they write:

“Setting PVC industry emission standards that are weaker than EPA’s initial proposed standards is counterproductive to efforts begun by investors, community groups, and local regulatory officials to reduce the toxic burden in environmental justice communities.”

The latest letter builds on the concerns raised in a July letter signed by 60 national and local environmental health and justice groups and submitted to the EPA. The investor letter also attempts to reinforce the concerns that Mossville Environmental Action Now (MEAN) presented at the July meeting of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC), a federal advisory committee to EPA. All of these efforts reinforce the petition Earthjustice filed in June on behalf of MEAN, Louisiana Environmental Action Network, Air Alliance Houston, and Sierra Club in June asking EPA to grant reconsideration and issue a new, stronger air toxics rule without delay.

“As long term investors of persified portfolios we believe strong and consistent protections of public health and welfare are essential to long term economic growth, and in turn the prospects of companies in our portfolios,” said Susan Baker of Trillium Asset Management. “Communities in Mossville and Deer Park have the right to breathe clean air.”

According to the EPA, there are 17 plants in the United States that manufacture PVC resin, and they emit more than 1400 tons of hazardous air pollutants every year. These emissions include more than 270 tons per year of vinyl chloride, a known human carcinogen. They also include benzene, 1,3-butadiene, and dioxins, all of which also are known human carcinogens, as well as probable human carcinogens such as acetaldehyde and formaldehyde. Dioxins are widely considered some of the most toxic chemicals on the planet, targeted for phase-out by 170 nations around the world.

The EPA’s emission standards for the plants in Mossville and Deer Park are especially weak, allowing these plants to emit toxic pollutants at far greater concentrations than other PVC facilities.

While initially proposing to grant these communities at least the same protection as those elsewhere in the U.S., the EPA then decided without warning or any opportunity for public comment to create special categories for these two sources, even though the agency recognized that the plants are similar to and could use the same types of pollution control technologies that are generally available and in use by other PVC facilities.

“We have been shouldering the burden of breathing this poisoned air for much too long, leaving us with unparalleled levels of disease and illness,” said Dorothy Felix of Mossville Environmental Action Now. “Advocates for clean air from all sectors will continue to call on EPA to strengthen these standards because it is clear that our communities were unfairly singled out.”

“Exposing communities to chemicals that cause sickness and cancer is not the way to keep our economy strong,” said Sister Judy Byron of the Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment. “These facilities have more than enough money to install protections that would limit the amount of poison people breathe.”

“Our community is continually exposed to cancer-causing pollution from the local PVC plant which spews its chemicals into our neighborhoods, schools and churches,” said Matthew Tejada of Air Alliance Houston. “For an agency committed to environmental justice to set weaker standards for PVC plants in communities that need protection the most is simply unacceptable.”

Here is a map showing the locations of PVC plants nationwide.

Here is emissions data information for all 17 facilities.

Here is the investor letter to EPA (submitted today).

Here is the 60-group letter to EPA (July 17, 2012).

Here is the petition for reconsideration (June 18, 2012) filed by Earthjustice on behalf of MEAN, Louisiana Environmental Action Network, Air Alliance Houston, and Sierra Club.

For more information, contact:

Raviya Ismail, Earthjustice, (202) 745-5221; rismail@earthjustice.org

Mike Schade, Center for Health, Environment & Justice, (212) 964-3680; mike@chej.org

Susan Baker, Trillium Asset Management, (617) 532-6681; SBaker@trilliuminvest.com

Pompton Lakes

10,000 NJ Citizens Ask Christie For Superfund Designation

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“For 25 years, DEP has been a total failure. The remediation so far has only gotten worse . . . if the governor cared about the public health and safety, he would nominate the site for Superfund so it would get the proper scrutiny and cleanup it deserves,” said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, who joined the residents at a press conference. Read more . . .

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Cancer-Free Product Labeling – What Do You Think?

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It’s no secret that market campaigns have been very effective in changing corporate behavior when in comes to using toxic chemicals. Some of the world’s largest retailers, corporations and major institutional purchasers like schools have changed their purchasing and chemicals policy to avoid harmful chemicals, like PVC, phthalates, dioxin and bisphenol A (BPA). Consumers have helped move Wal-Mart, Target and K-Mart away from products and packaging with PVC the poison plastic.

The idea is to use consumer purchasing power to change corporate behavior to protection public health in lieu of traditional government regulations. Last week, a Florida Democrat took this philosophy to a new dimension when he introduced federal legislation that would require companies to label their products “cancer- free” if they do not contain any known or suspected carcinogens.

Rep. Ted Deutch described this legislation as a common sense measure that would provide clarity for consumers. “We all know that using sunscreen, quitting smoking and steering clear of asbestos can reduce our risk to cancer,” Deutch said when he introduced the bill, “but when it comes to limiting exposure to carcinogens that may be found in everyday food and products, consumers are largely kept in the dark.”

The Cancer Labeling Act of 2012 will enable consumers to reduce their exposure to carcinogens by allowing manufacturers to affix a Cancer-Free label to products that do not contain known or probable carcinogens through a voluntary process that does not require public disclosure of trade secrets. The issued label would state that the product “does not contain known or likely carcinogens that increase your risk of cancer.”

Companies would apply to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) seeking approval to label a product under the jurisdiction of the agency. The application must include a list all substances in the product; a statement that the product does not contain any known or suspected carcinogens; and a statement that the product does not contain any substances that display carcinogenicity upon degradation, upon interaction with other substances contained in the product or exposed to the product during storage or transportation, or during intended use. Use of the label would be voluntary and the process would not require “disclosure of trade secrets.”

Deutch said the bill will allow consumers to make informed choices about the products they purchase. “Just as consumers who refused to buy baby products laden with BPA nearly wiped this chemical off the shelves,” Deutch said, “the Cancer Free Label Act will harness market forces to drive change and ultimately reduce Americans’ everyday exposure to known carcinogens.” If only it were that easy. What do you think? Is this a good idea or not?

Photo: http://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topicsobjectives2020/overview.aspx?topicid=8

Scientists find vinyl plastic chemicals linked to diabetes

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Photo: http://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topicsobjectives2020/overview.aspx?topicid=8

Two new peer-reviewed studies published over the past few months are calling attention to the potential link between exposure to phthalates and diabetes, a disease that affects 25.8 million Americans or 8.3% of the US population.  Over 90% of all phthalates are used to soften vinyl, such as vinyl school supplies and flooring.

The most recent study, led by researchers at Harvard, found phthalates linked to higher rates of diabetes in women. This comes at a time when the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes doubled from 1980 to 2010 in women.

They found that the diabetes rate was double for women with the highest levels of phthalates in their bodies, even after accounting for sociodemographic, behavioral, and dietary factors.  Phthalates were also linked to higher blood glucose levels and insulin resistance, two common precursors of type 2 diabetes.    In a story published by Environmental Health News, Richard Stahlhut, an environmental health researcher at the University of Rochester Medical Center who co-authored the study, noted:

“These findings are important clues, but it’s only a first step…It’s extremely likely that phthalates and other chemical contaminants will turn out to be a big part of the obesity and diabetes epidemic, but at this point we really don’t know how these chemicals are interacting with each other, or with the human body.”

The story notes that African Americans have a 19 percent chance of developing diabetes – a rate 77 percent higher than that of whites –  and Hispanics have a 66 percent higher rate than whites.  The story also notes that, “Poor women had up to 78 percent higher levels of BBP – the phthalate in vinyl flooring that was associated with a double rate of diabetes –  than women living above poverty level.”

Another study published in April by the American Diabetes Association found that people with higher phthalates in their bodies had about twice the risk of diabetes as those with lower levels.  Another study published last year also found a link between phthalate exposure and diabetes.

Dioxin and Diabetes

Phthalates aren’t the only vinyl chemicals that may be associated with diabetes.

The production and disposal of vinyl plastic, like the roofing and flooring in our children’s schools, is a major source of dioxin. A number of studies published over the years have linked dioxin exposure to diabetes.

For instance, author and scientist Pete Myers published a synopsis of a study a few years ago and stated that,

A large new epidemiological study in Japan finds that even at background levels of exposure, people with higher levels of dioxin and dioxin-like PCBs are a significantly greater risk to metabolic syndrome, which includes high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes… Using a method to assess total exposure to this family of chemicals, they found that the people most exposed were over five times more likely to suffer from the health condition.  Looking at some of the chemicals one-at-a-time, they found that some, by themselves, had an even stronger relationship, as high as 8 to 9 times more likely.”

This is of great cause for concern given how widespread this disease is.  Diabetes is a major cause of heart disease and stroke, and is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S.  It is also the leading cause of kidney failure, nontraumatic lower- limb amputations, and new cases of blindness among adults in the United States.

Over time, I expect the evidence will only continue to mount linking dioxin and phthalates to these and numerous other health problems.

The question is: how much more do we need to know before we act?

Mr. Edgar Mouton.  Photo: Jay Burney

RIP Mr. Mouton, an Environmental Justice Hero

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I was recently saddened to learn of the passing of Mr. Edgar Mouton, Jr., a leader and former president of Mossville Environmental Action Now (MEAN).

Mr. Edgar Mouton. Photo: Jay Burney

Mr. Mouton was an inspiration to me as a fighter for environmental justice.

A lifelong resident of Mossville, Louisiana, Mr. Mouton fought passionately and diligently against the PVC plastics and petrochemical industry in his community, which has been spewing poisonous chemicals into the air and water of his community.  Cancer-causing chemicals like dioxin and vinyl chloride.

Words of an environmental justice hero.

Mr. Mouton was humble yet extremely persistent.  He fought for his community for many, many years.  He was outraged by the dioxin and vinyl chloride pollution that was getting into residents’ yards, chickens, homes, and their bodies.  Portions of the community were relocated and demolished due to groundwater contamination from a nearby PVC plant.

He wouldn’t let them get away with this.

In 2000, Mr. Mouton and other leaders from Mossville traveled to Atlanta, Georgia to testify at a US EPA National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) meeting.  At that meeting, he said:

“As I grew up in Mossville, I remember when the plants were built as a child. My father helped build a lot of those plants. It is terrible. We had beautiful green woods around us and we did all the fishing that we ever wanted. But they did not care anything about that. And that is the same thing today.

“People are sick and dying in our community because of the high levels of dioxins found in our blood…We have a lot of people sick. There’s a lot of people with some type of illness, lungs, or some with cancer that I know of. There’s a lot of sick people there that thedoctors don’t know what’s wrong with them.”

“They seem continually to stall, for some reason or another. They give us the impression that we do not know what our needs and wants are. They want to run the show; they want to take control.”

At the same time Mossville residents were seeking justice, the polluters themselves were infiltrating and spying on the community.

From Buffalo to Mossville

Mr. Mouton leading us on a toxic tour. Photo: Jay Burney

I met Mr. Mouton back in 2004 when PVC manufacturer CertainTeed was proposing to build a PVC plant on the Lake Erie waterfront in Buffalo, NY where I lived.  We knew CertainTeed’s primary PVC plant was just outside Mossville, and that’s how I had the pleasure of working with and meeting Mr. Mouton.

I led a delegation of environmental health activists to travel from Buffalo to Mossville, to bear witness to the pollution the PVC plastics industry was leveling on this historic African American community.  Mr. Mouton and other leaders of MEAN welcomed us into their community with open arms, introducing us to families, taking us on toxic tours, holding a joint press conference, and even throwing down with us at a crawfish boil.  You can read about the trip in this newsletter article I wrote back in 2004 (see page 8).

I’ll never forget that trip visiting Mr. Mouton, Mossville and the Lake Charles area.  It stays with me every day.

Broken promises, and the struggle continues.

“Pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living.” – Mother Jones

I’ve always been inspired by these words of Mother Jones.  And I like to think that Mr. Mouton would agree.  He’d want to see the struggle continue, until justice is served.

Over 12 years since Mr. Mouton spoke out at that meeting in Atlanta, and over 8 years since I traveled to Mossville to go on a toxic tour around CertainTeed and Mossville, CertainTeed is on the minds of Mossville residents once again.

“We’re being hit from the north, south, east, and west. Every time the wind changes, we get a lungful of pollution from some other plant. These chemicals end up in our water, our gardens, our children’s bodies. Each day we hear about someone in our community being diagnosed with cancer or another illness. We’re taking legal action so that we might live to see some improvements for ourselves and our community.” – Mr. Mouton, former President of Mossville Environmental Action Now (MEAN)

Over the past decade, MEAN, Earthjustice and other groups have taken EPA to court numerous times, and won! As a result of their work, the EPA  agreed and promised to clamp down on pollution from PVC chemical plants like CertainTeed in Mossville.

Unfortunately, the EPA has now broken their promises to this community, which flies in the face of the EPA’s commitment to environmental justice.  The EPA has set stronger emission standards for PVC plants in other communities, but weaker ones in Mossville, home to more than PVC plants than anywhere else in the country!

That’s why this week, MEAN, Earthjustice, the Louisiana Environmental Action Network and other groups are fighting back once again.  They’ve filed a petition and lawsuit demanding EPA reduce toxic pollution from the CertainTeed plant.

“After years of work to obtain the stronger air protection we need in Mossville, Louisiana, it was a shock to our community when EPA suddenly changed course and singled us out for weaker standards as compared to the rest of the nation.  EPA should stay true to its commitment to environmental justice and correct this unfairness by setting stronger air pollution limits that will protect our health as we and all Americans deserve.”- Dorothy Felix, President of Mossville Environmental Action Now (MEAN)

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson owes this community justice.  She owes it to Mr. Mouton’s family.

RIP Mr. Mouton.  We will miss and never forget you.   The struggle continues.

Photo: © Les Stone/Greenpeace

EPA Rule Leaves Gulf Coast Communities Burdened With More Toxic Pollution

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Community groups’ lawsuit challenges EPA’s weakened protections against toxic air pollution from Polyvinyl Chloride facilities

Washington, DC — When Dorothy Felix of Mossville, Louisiana, learned that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was going to finally cut  toxic pollution from the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plant nearby, she rejoiced.  But after EPA reversed its plan to protect the community in the final rule, she and others in the Mossville community who breathe in the plant’s toxic fumes must restart a decade-long effort to get these basic limits on toxic air pollution.

Photo: © Les Stone/Greenpeace

Represented by the public interest law firm Earthjustice, Mossville Environmental Action Now (MEAN), Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN), Air Alliance Houston, and Sierra Club have filed a lawsuit today to challenge the weaker protections as unlawful and arbitrary.  The groups also filed a petition asking EPA administrator Lisa Jackson to reconsider her decision voluntarily.

“After years of work to obtain the stronger air protection we need in Mossville, Louisiana, it was a shock to our community when EPA suddenly changed course and singled us out for weaker standards as compared to the rest of the nation,” said Dorothy Felix of MEAN. “EPA should stay true to its commitment to environmental justice and correct this unfairness by setting stronger air pollution limits that will protect our health as we and all Americans deserve.”

According to the EPA, there are 17 plants in the United States that manufacture polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin, and they emit more than 1400 tons of hazardous air pollutants every year.  These emissions include more than 270 tons per year of vinyl chloride, a known human carcinogen.  They also include benzene, 1,3-butadiene, and dioxins, all of which also are known human carcinogens, as well as probable human carcinogens such as acetaldehyde and formaldehyde.

The EPA’s emission standards for the plants in Mossville, Louisiana and Deer Park, Texas are especially weak, allowing these plants to emit toxic pollutants at far greater concentrations than other PVC facilities. In an about-face, the EPA decided without warning to create special categories for these two sources, even though the agency recognized that the pollution is similar to and could use the same types of pollution control technologies that are generally available and in use by other PVC facilities.

“Just across the highway from the local PVC facility are neighborhoods, two high schools, an elementary school, youth sports fields and churches but no air monitors to help protect the health of the people who live there,” said Matthew Tejada, of Air Alliance Houston. “For the EPA to fail to set strong regulations for such facilities which emit cancer-causing pollution is stupefying.”

“For far too long, the vinyl plastics industry has released staggering levels of vinyl chloride, dioxin and other toxic pollutants into surrounding communities,” said Mike Schade, Campaign Coordinator with the Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ). “Mossville is surrounded by more vinyl manufacturers than anywhere else in the country.  This community should receive the greatest, not the weakest, protection.  Shame on EPA for issuing weaker standards for this community, which has been overburdened with toxic pollution for much too long.”

Although the agency claimed legal authority to issue weaker standards for these two plants, it did not address the need for stronger public health protection in its decision.  Notably, the owners of both plants have billions of dollars in revenue each year, according to the EPA, and could afford to clean up their toxic emissions at least to the same level as the rest of the industry.

“EPA’s decision to allow so much more toxic pollution into American communities is disturbing,” said Earthjustice attorney Jim Pew. “It is hard to see how this rule honors the agency’s longstanding commitments to protect community health and provide environmental justice, particularly in the Gulf region.  We hope Administrator Jackson will consider the consequences of her decision on the residents of Mossville, Deer Park, and other American communities and set the protective standards they need.”

Here is a map showing the locations of PVC plants nationwide.

Here is emissions data information for all 17 facilities.

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