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Reducing the Reuse of the Recycle Sign

By Hunter Marion.

In 2021, California passed a law restricting the use of the classic recycling symbol upon products that are not truly recyclable. Last May, this law, and substantial complaints over the years, triggered an official comment by the EPA against the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). This comment encouraged the FTC to update its Green Guides to regulate the symbol’s use more stringently amongst plastics companies.

At the heart of this issue, the EPA, several concerned environmental groups like Greenpeace and Beyond Plastics, and even the Biden Administration have found that the use of this symbol perpetuates plastic pollution and misleads consumers. This misleading stems from the linked usage of the recyclable symbol with “resin identification codes” (RIDs) on single-use plastics.

Simplified, RIDs range from 1 to 7, with 1-2 being plastics that are generally able to be successfully recycled, while plastics labelled 3-7 are instead trashed in landfills or incinerated. However, the general recycling populace usually knows nothing about these numbers, identifies the recycling symbol, and throws all their plastic into the same bin. Doing this creates a dramatic chokepoint for waste collection companies who must separate and sort the mixed plastics at their materials recovery facilities (MRFs). Consistently backed up and under pressure, a sizable portion of these plastics are not properly separated and are often dumped or burned.

While banning the recycling symbol for non-recyclable products would help cut down rampant waste and curtail decades of greenwashing, environmental advocates still push for the total reduction in plastics use by consumers entirely. Both Greenpeace and Beyond Plastics reported that in 2021 only 5-6 percent of the total plastic produced by the U.S. was effectively recycled. Over 400 million tons of plastic are produced every year, 42 million tons in the U.S. alone.

Greenpeace’s John Hocevar says that we “have to stop thinking of all this throwaway plastic as recyclable and treat it for what it is: a very problematic type of waste.” This should be the most important takeaway from this issue. Plastic, no matter how recyclable, is not a viable product that should be used on a mass scale. It should not be ubiquitous to almost every aspect of our lives. Instead, like Hocevar and Judith Enck from Beyond Plastics suggest, we should strive to distance ourselves from purchasing or using plastics in our everyday lives. Instead of getting fixated on the recycling portion, we should focus on the widescale reduction and, if possible, safe reuse of plastics rather than making more.

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5 Easy Ways to Support the Environmental Justice Causes You Care About at No Cost

By Gregory Kolen II.

Climate change and environmental degradation pose a serious threat to our communities and the world as we know it. Environmental justice has become a cause for many people who want to preserve nature and keep our planet safe for future generations. However, not everyone knows how to get involved and make a difference. Here are five easy ways to support the environmental justice causes you care about without spending a dime.

  1. Educate Yourself: The first step to supporting any cause is to become well-informed about its issues. Take some time to research and read about environmental justice causes. Understand the problems and challenges within the community you want to aid and advocate for change. By educating yourself, you will be able to help raise awareness and share important knowledge with others.
  2. Follow and Share Social Media Accounts: In today’s world, social media is a powerful tool to spread information, and it is one of the easiest ways to support environmental justice causes. Follow and share social media accounts of organizations that align with your values and share their posts encouraging people to get involved. You can help to amplify their voices and inspire more people to support the cause.
  3. Vote for Environmental Justice: Your vote plays a significant role in shaping policies that affect the environment. It is essential to vote for political candidates who prioritize environmental protection and support the principles of environmental justice. Find out your representatives’ stances on the environment, and if they don’t prioritize it, encourage them through phone calls and emails to do so. You can also hold them accountable and use your power as a constituent to push for the change we need.
  4. Sign Petitions and Online Campaigns: Signing online petitions is another great way to support the environmental justice causes you care about. Petitions can help catalyze action and drive change on campaigns. Share petitions with your network and encourage them to sign as well. You can also create an online petition when you want to bring more attention to a specific cause.
  5. Volunteer and Attend Organizational Events: Finally, volunteering and attending events organized by environmental justice organizations can also be a great way to show your support. Many organizations offer volunteering opportunities such as fishing out plastic from waterways or restoring habitats. Attend rallies, marches, and demonstrations. Attend their meetings and events where you can build relationships with like-minded people and learn more about the cause.

There are so many ways to support environmental justice causes at no cost. From educating yourself to signing online petitions and attending events. Together, we can make a difference and bring about a better, healthier world for all. Let’s work collectively to protect our planet. Take action today and encourage those around you to join you in supporting these environmental justice causes.

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Tell the EPA to act on Pesticides Now

By Leila Waid.

Pesticides are defined as “any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any pest” by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The US uses many different types of pesticides to, for example, control food crop growth. These practices amounts to over 1 billion pounds of the products used annually. 

The United States allows various harmful-to-human-health pesticides to be used in the country. A 2019 study found that the US still used 72 different pesticides banned in the European Union, 17 banned in Brazil, and another 11 banned in China. 

In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) published the most current list on pesticide exposure. In the report, the organization classified pesticides based on how hazardous they are to human health. The list provides an overview of pesticides WHO considers extremely hazardous, highly hazardous, moderately hazardous, and slightly hazardous. In the extremely hazardous category, WHO lists 29 different pesticides. WHO lists pesticides in this category once they have enough evidence that they harm human health or the environment. 

Extremely hazardous pesticides are labeled as such because they are the most toxic to humans. This classification includes pesticides that can cause cancer, gene mutations, morbidity, and mortality. 

Of the 29 pesticides listed as most dangerous, the EPA still allows several of them to be used in the US. For example, one of the pesticides on that list is aldicarb. Despite the dangers of the chemical, it was only banned in 2009 in the US. And in 2021, the Trump administration reversed that decision via environmental deregulation policy. Now, Florida allows the use of the chemical with a permit. Other pesticides on the list, such as bromethalin, are restricted to only rodenticide use but not agricultural. However, this still poses a risk that those harmful chemicals can get into the environment and impact health. Other pesticides on the list, such as calcium cyanide, do not have any restrictions on them and are thus commonly used in the agricultural field. 

An example of a pesticide that is widely used in the US but is classified as extremely hazardous by WHO is phorate. Phorate can cause neurological issues, which is of particular concern to children whose brains are developing. Also, another vulnerable group to phorate exposure is agricultural workers because they are exposed to the highest doses of this pesticide. Currently, 21 states allow phorate use, with most of the use occurring in the Midwest, Texas, and California. Although more than half of the country has banned phorate use, it can still potentially impact everyone through food exposure. For example, California is the biggest agricultural export in the country, and the pesticides they use for food production are not limited to state borders. 

It is time for the EPA to get serious about this country’s overwhelming pesticide use and take action to phase out these proven-to-be dangerous chemicals from our environment. 

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Cancer Alley Pre-Teens Demand to Not Be Made into Another Sacrifice Zone

Photo credit: Josie Ygnatowiz

By Sharon Franklin.

In a recent op-ed, by Kamea Sibley Ozane and Roishetta Sibley Ozane in Teen Vogue, a Louisiana mother and daughter are followed on how they got involved in climate activism. Kamea is a 10-year-old who lives in Sulphur, Louisiana near the Gulf Coast with her mom and brothers and sisters. She recently learned that pollution from oil and gas was making her and her environment sick, as well as contributing to climate change. She talks about how one week before her 10th birthday party everything changed. Her skin started to burn, itch, and break out. She went to the doctor, and was told she had a skin disease, and could not have her birthday party. She was told her skin disease would heal, but it didn’t. She returned to the doctor and more tests were done and it was finally decided that her skin condition was caused by her environment and the polluted air was the reason her skin was peeling off. Then Kamea started to ask questions. “What is happening to me? What’s causing it? How do we stop it?”

Roishetta, Kamea’s Mom said, “It broke my heart to have to explain to my daughter and the rest of my children that the petrochemical facilities around us was poisoning our air.” She cites a recent report by Environmental Integrity, which concluded that oil refineries in Lake Charlesrelease about 675 thousand pounds of nitrogen pollution a year in the Calcasieu River, causing serious environmental harms.”

Kamea listened to her mom when she informed her that if these oil and gas companies continue to operate, not only will more children continue to get sick, but the effects of climate change will get worse. Even though her Mom told her not to worry she immediately decided to fight for her town. She started to organize by talking to her friends in school and making them more aware of the issues surrounding pollution and its connection to climate change. After speaking with her friends and family about the dangers of pollution and how it was affecting climate change, she realized it was a good first step. But she wanted to do more.

In April 2023, she helped her mom organize The Vessel Project of Louisiana in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Her mother told her that the gas industry is planning to build four huge gas export terminals in Southwestern Louisiana, which will be within five miles of each other, and ship gas to other countries. Kamea’s mom also told her that Lake Charles wasn’t the only community being sacrificed, that there were more than 20 gas export projects being proposed to be built across the Gulf.   

What are these Cancer Alley teens asking for? Kamea wants President Biden to stop approving these oil and gas projects. She asks “President Biden, please don’t let the Gulf Coast become a sacrifice zone.  We don’t want these facilities in our backyards because they are poisoning our water and our air.  It makes it harder for kids like me to spend time outside and enjoy our planet. We only have one Earth, and it is time we start acting like it.

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Betraying the Public’s Trust – EPA’s Terrible Response to East Palestine, OH

Betraying the Public's Trust
Photo credit: Michael Swensen/Getty Images

By Stephen Lester.

Since immediately following the train derailment and intentional burn of toxic chemicals in East Palestine, OH, the USEPA has betrayed the public’s trust in government. The agency has put out a steady stream of statements telling people that everything is alright. They saw no reason to test for vinyl chloride, for example, even after the railroad company, Norfolk Southern, dumped 5 tankers cars into a ditch alongside the railroad tracks and then intentionally set it on fire. EPA did this with other chemicals as well.  

They continued to tell people that everything was fine even though they saw no reason to test for dioxin even though there was no question that dioxin, one of the most toxic chemicals every tested, would be generated when the vinyl chloride was burned.

The Region 5 Administrator got into the act when she said that EPA couldn’t test for dioxin because they don’t know what the background is. Really? And when EPA reluctantly agreed to test for dioxin, they immediately said that they expected to find dioxins at levels consistent with background.

Soon after the testing began, EPA repeatedly and aggressively downplayed the presence of dioxins and other toxic chemicals in East Palestine while providing little if any data to back up their claims. The agency seemed much more concerned with controlling a predefined narrative than they were with honestly responding to the concerns and questions raised by the public.

This is confusing because the agency is very familiar with dioxins. They understand the serious health risks that exposure to dioxins poses. For more than 25 years, the agency studied the health risks of dioxins. Exposure to dioxins can cause cancer, reproductive damage, developmental problems, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, infertility in adults, impairment of the immune system, skin lesions and more. Yet the agency has been desperate to convince the public that there is no cause for alarm.

My guess is that they are pushing so hard because they don’t have answers to the many questions people are asking about dioxins. While it’s not easy to address these questions, it’s irresponsible for the agency to pretend that dioxins are irrelevant.

The EPA‘s mission is to protect human health and the environment. Clearly the situation in East Palestine is the place where EPA should follow its mission and do right by the people who live in this community. EPA must conduct testing for dioxins and other chemicals that is intended to tell people specifically what they have been exposed to and then analyze the results in a way that helps people understand the risks they face.

The people who live in East Palestine have a right to this information so they can make informed decisions about their future. If EPA continues to betray the public’s trust, then the agency will be responsible for people living for years without clear answers about what happened in East Palestine, OH.

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Climate Change Worsens Toxic Exposures

Flooded neighborhood
Photo credit: AP/ Jason Dearen

By Leila Waid.

Climate change is one of the leading environmental challenges facing our world today. This will wreak havoc on all aspects of society and in some instances it already has from increasing droughts and wildfires to stronger storms and hurricanes. But one consequence of climate change that gets overlooked is its effects on toxic waste sites.   

Toxic waste sites are those where the waste disposed is dangerous to human health. Waste is defined as being hazardous when it “may leach hazardous concentrations of toxic substances into the environment when disposed.” The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies such hazardous locations as a Superfund site. Currently, there are 1,336 active Superfund sites – meaning there is still toxic waste present at the site. There are also 38 proposed locations that could become a Superfund site.

These Superfund sites can be found in almost every state, excluding only North Dakota. The Northeast region of the country has the highest concentration of waste sites – with New Jersey coming in at number 1 with a total of 115 sites. On the West Coast, California has the most at 96 sites.

How can climate change impact all these different waste sites? One example is that flooding and heavy rain can free debris from coal operations that would then contaminate the groundwater in surrounding areas. That contamination can then further spread through storm surges or rising sea levels. After that has happened it becomes more difficult to track and clean the toxins.

Wildfires are another concern for toxic waste sites. For example, California has a Superfund site with extremely high levels of asbestos. A “worst-case” scenario for this site includes a scenario where the wildfire smoke carries off the asbestos to hundreds of miles away –  impacting thousands of people in the vicinity who might inhale the toxin-contaminated smoke. 

What can you do to act on this issue today? Contact your representative and let them know you support bill H.R. 1444, titled Preparing Superfund for Climate Change Act of 2023. The bill would require that clean-up efforts consider the impacts of climate change when deciding the proper clean-up techniques.

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What Do Paulsboro, NJ & East Palestine, OH Have in Common?

Photo credit: Paulsboro Fire & Rescue

By Sharon Franklin.

On November 30, 2012, the community of Paulsboro, New Jersey thought the vinyl chloride clouds were fog after a train derailment caused a rupture in a tank carrying chemicals. Zoë Read, reporter for WHYY, recently posted an article recounting this incident. Trisha Dello Iacono, a resident she interviewed, recalled that a train carrying a colorless flammable gas called vinyl chloride derailed less than four miles from her home, in Paulsboro, N.J. After researching the carcinogen, she placed towels around her windows and doors. But it wasn’t long before she felt a sugary burn in her mouth. She said “it [tasted] sweet, but it [tasted] like a chemical sweetness that you know something is not right. And then I started feeling like a tight band was around my head.” The Paulsboro accident led to the evacuation of hundreds of residents, and dozens of people sought medical attention afterwards. Conrail, the company responsible for the train, offered cash settlements after hundreds of residents filed lawsuits against the company. Fast forward to 2023 from Paulsboro, New Jersey to East Palestine, Ohio and this sounds very familiar.

Paulsboro Residents Are Still Feeling Health Impacts

Now, more than 10 years later, residents of Paulsboro still worry about long-term health impacts, and are still questioning whether enough has been done to prevent more accidents from occurring, especially after the Norfolk Southern freight train carrying the same product derailed in East Palestine, Ohio. Dello Iacono was not evacuated. Despite not living in the evacuation zone, Dello Iacono said she and her son dealt with symptoms like headache, sore throat, and nausea. These symptoms lasted a few weeks. Her son Liam’s symptoms (nosebleeds) didn’t show up until six months after the train derailment. Later, when he started kindergarten his teacher noticed that he had short-term memory loss. In 2020, he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. She still worries about the potential for serious health problems to arise in the future. She says, “The fear doesn’t go away.”

Very similar to the events surrounding East Palestine, shortly after the Paulsboro derailment, the New Jersey health department, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Rutgers University conducted initial health evaluations for residents and first responders. The health department determined the chemical leak caused reversible, short-term but harmful health effects (eye and nasal irritation or headache). However, no state or federal agency had evaluated the long-term health impacts of those exposed, despite recommendations to do so. In Paulsboro, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) warned Conrail 23 times prior to the accident but the company failed to address the dangers. Mistakes were made by state officials, too, and after the accident, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection inaccurately told residents the chemicals had dissipated. Additionally, the volunteer firefighters weren’t adequately trained to respond to such hazards. They didn’t wear the appropriate protective gear, the state’s emergency response plan was insufficient, and the Paulsboro residents were not evacuated soon enough, according to the NTSB report.

What Do Communities Want?  

Dello Iacono said she wants Congress to pass legislation that forces rail companies to ensure their rails are safe.  In 2015, U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez introduced legislation to impose stronger penalties on railroads that violated safety standards. However, the bill went nowhere.

Recently, Dello Iacono, traveled to Washington, D.C. to attend a hearing about rail safety. She said that she feels for the mothers of East Palestine, because “Knowing what I know now a decade later, we’re still dealing with health issues from our exposures, and to just think that’s what their future entails. It’s just really hard and my heart breaks for them.”

Hope for the Future

After East Palestine, legislation bills were introduced that would broaden the definition of a “high-hazard flammable train.” The bill would provide for stricter federal safety regulations and direct the Federal Railroad Administration to study wheel-related failures and derailments, enact new safety measures, and require large freight railroad companies to join a confidential “close call” reporting system. 

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East Palestine, OH – Repeating the Mistakes of Love Canal

Photo credit: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette / Getty Images

By Stephen Lester.

Shortly after the horrific Norfolk Southern train derailment occurred in East Palestine, OH, I was invited to attend a town hall meeting organized by River Valley Organizing. The purpose of the meeting was to give people the opportunity to ask questions and hopefully, get some answers.

This was about 3 weeks after the rail company made the decision to spill the contents and then burn 5 tanker cars holding vinyl chloride and other toxic chemicals into a ditch alongside the railroad tracks at the site of the 38-car derailment. This intentional burn unleashed a gigantic black cloud full of particulates that enveloped the surrounding neighborhoods and farms in both Ohio and Pennsylvania (the accident was just a few miles from the state border).

It is well documented that burning chlorinated chemicals like vinyl chloride will generate dioxins. Dioxin is the name given to a group of persistent, very toxic chemicals that share similar chemical structures. The most toxic form of dioxin is 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin or TCDD. TCDD is more commonly recognized as the toxic contaminant found in “Agent Orange”  and at Love Canal, New York and Times Beach, Missouri. Dioxin is not deliberately manufactured. Rather, it is the unintended by-product of industrial processes that use or burn chlorine. It is also produced when chemicals like vinyl chloride are burned, such as what occurred in East Palestine.

At the town hall meeting, people talked about what it was like when the black cloud reached their property. One person who lived 15 miles away described burned ash material from the fire that settled on her property. Another who lived 3 miles away described how the black cloud completely smothered his property. People repeatedly asked: Was it safe for my kids to play in the yard? Is it safe to grow a garden? What is going to happen to my farm animals?

As I sat there listening, I was struck by how similar the questions were to what I had encountered when working at the Love Canal landfill in Niagara Falls, NY more than 40 years ago. People were raising important questions that deserve to be answered. But there were no clear answers. Just as it was at Love Canal.

It was also eerie how similar the response by the government authorities has been. Just like at Love Canal, the people of East Palestine are being told there’s no cause for alarm, that all the testing shows that no chemicals have been found at levels of “concern.” And just like Love Canal, the people in East Palestine are not buying it because they know things are not right. They are suffering from a range of respiratory and central nervous system symptoms including headaches, nose bleeds, runny noses, tearing eyes, and more.

As occurred at Love Canal, government scientists are not being honest with the people at East Palestine. If they did that, they would tell them what they know and what they don’t know. That would be helpful. But government won’t do that, because if they do, if they acknowledge how little is known about the link between adverse health effects and exposures to mixtures of chemicals, the people of East Palestine would demand action in the face of the huge uncertainties. Actions like paying for people to relocate from the area so that they can stop being exposed to the toxic chemicals – which are still in the air – or getting the health care they need and moving on with their lives.

It’s also unfortunate that so little had changed in the science of what we know about what happens to people who have been exposed to mixtures of chemicals like what occurred in East Palestine. This might have been understandable 40 or so years ago, but not today. It’s inexcusable that we didn’t learn from Love Canal and are repeating the same mistakes because we still know very little about widespread exposures to chemical mixtures.

The people in East Palestine deserve to be treated with respect and dignity and that includes expecting their government to act to protect their health in the face of the many uncertainties that exist in understanding the adverse health effects that result from these exposures. It’s time to do right by the people of East Palestine.    

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Media Effects on Perceptions and Sentiments

Photo credit: Microgen

By Gregory Kolen.

Environmental justice action has become increasingly visible in recent years as the effects of climate change and environmental degradation have taken center stage. As more attention is given to these issues, media coverage of environmental justice actions can play an important role in shaping public opinion and sentiment towards these causes. In this blog post, we’ll explore how media attention affects perceptions and sentiments surrounding environmental justice action, both positively and negatively. We’ll also discuss the implications for activists who are looking to raise awareness about their cause through media coverage.

First, it’s important to understand the power of media coverage when it comes to environmental justice. Media outlets have the power to spread information that can shape public opinion and generate attention for a particular cause. When news outlets report on environmental justice actions in an unbiased way, they can help create a more educated and informed public discourse. This is especially true when stories feature individuals affected by environmental degradation or injustice, as this helps bring human faces and stories to complex issues. On the other hand, if media coverage is biased or sensationalized, it can lead to negative perceptions about environmental justice activists and their causes.

Therefore, those who are looking to raise awareness about environmental justice through the media must be aware of how their message will be received by their audience. It is important to ensure that any media coverage of environmental justice action is accurate and portrays activists in a positive light. This can help create a more informed public discourse on the issue and make it easier for people to support the cause.

Finally, it’s important to remember that media coverage alone won’t be enough to bring about meaningful change when it comes to environmental justice issues. Activists must continue to use other strategies such as lobbying, grassroots organizing, and direct action to push for real-world policy changes. Media attention can certainly raise awareness about these causes, but ultimately it will take concerted political efforts from all levels of government in order to bring about true progress on these issues. Therefore, environmental justice activists must continue to use all the strategies at their disposal in order to bring about meaningful change.

In conclusion, media coverage can play an important role in shaping public opinion when it comes to environmental justice issues. It is therefore important for activists to be mindful of how their message will be received by their audience. At the same time, they should also not rely on media attention as a stand-alone strategy but rather use it alongside other tactics such as lobbying and direct action in order to achieve real-world progress. By doing so, they can help bring attention and support to causes that deserve both recognition and action.

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CTEH: The Fox in the Chicken Coop

Photo credit: Rebecca Kiger, The Washington Post/Getty Images

By Hunter Marion.

On March 12, 2023, ProPublica published an article in which CHEJ’s Science Director, toxicologist Stephen Lester, was commented as saying that “[Norfolk Southern] is responsible for the costs of cleaning up this accident.” The article went on to inform how the company was going about backing the bill for this cleanup.

Norfolk Southern has recruited the private environmental firm, Center for Toxicological and Environmental Health (CTEH), for the monitoring and removal of residual vinyl chloride and other chemicals. The problem with this choice is that CTEH has been the go-to company for alleged big polluters to utilize and sign-off on their controversial cleanups.

So, what is CTEH? It is an Arkansas-based company that, according to its website, is “committed to safeguarding your workers, your community, and the environment.” However, their record shows that this messaging is directed more towards compromised companies rather than harmed citizens. Starting in 1996, CTEH gradually gained prominence amongst alleged big polluters for performing toxicological evaluations and risk assessments that environmentalists would argue as being pro-industry.

  • In 2006, CTEH seemingly downplayed the health impacts of hydrogen sulfide in a report they wrote for the Chinese construction company, Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin, about their drywall. This drywall was later discovered to be highly toxic in 2009 and led to two giant class-action lawsuits in the U.S.
  • In 2008, 5.4 million cubic yards of coal ash broke through a 57-foot dike maintained by the Tennessee Valley Authority and flooded the town of Kingston, TN. While assessing the largest industrial spill in U.S. history, CTEH allegedly failed to meet quality assurance standards and used inaccurate air monitoring procedures during an audit. Arguably, the results of these actions disguised the true extent of the airborne coal ash that was present.
  • In 2010, CTEH purportedly underwent covert operations to release Corexit (a highly toxic dispersant) upon millions of gallons of crude oil during the Deepwater Horizon ocean spill. This resulted in the appearance of oil removal, until the following winter when it was shown that the oil was pushed further underwater and diverted to nearby watersheds and protected wetlands.
  • In 2016, a Husky Energy pipeline burst and poisoned a river with roughly 250,000 liters of crude oil within the James Smith Cree Nation in Saskatchewan, Canada. CTEH supposedly created a testing zone excluding the waterways most affecting the First Nations community. The results came back inconclusive, which likely justified Husky Energy to continue ignoring the community’s cries of concern.
  • In 2019, the International Terminals Company’s chemical storage facility in Houston, TX caught on fire. The resulting smoke cloud that covered most of the city released 9 million pounds of pollutants in one day, shutdown many municipal school districts with shelter-at-place advisories, and exposed the nearby city of Deer Park to extreme amounts of benzene (citizens later suffered severe symptoms). Afterwards, CTEH apparently performed insufficient air quality tests. Their dubious results were readily approved by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and EPA.

Numerous toxicologists and environmental experts have decried CTEH’s methods as being suspicious to sinister. Activists and even politicians have warned against using their services (most notably during the Deepwater Horizon fiasco). Now, CTEH has been given the authority to control the narrative about how many toxic chemicals are truly present in East Palestine. As observed by former Exxon chemical engineer, Nicholas Cheremisinoff, CTEH is “essentially the fox guarding the chicken coop.”