As those crushed cars continue to burn, baby, burn at that steel plant in Midlothian, Jim Schermbeck of Downwinders at Risk asks that we share the part of the story going "completely unreported," as he puts it in a missive sent Unfair Park's way: "Contamination from this fire could easily reach Dallas and Tarrant County residents if the wind is blowing north." Scared yet? Nope? Then how 'bout this:
"Burning plastic is a large source of dioxin pollution. A single gram of dioxin is capable of giving thousands of people cancer -- it's the most potent carcinogen EPA has ever tested. You can Google this information on your own and confirm its toxicity. There's no telling how many grams of the stuff that fire is producing, since it's feeding off the flammables in junk cars.
This is a serious contamination problem and depending on how long the fire burns, could double or triple the amount of "official" dioxin contamination that the plants report via their Toxic Release Inventory reports to EPA at the end of the year. People living downwind of the fire should be evacuated and EPA and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality should be out there testing for dioxin in the air and on the ground. People living downwind of the fire should be evacuated and EPA and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality should be out there testing for dioxin in the air and on the ground."
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To further his case, he sends along this 1997 Greenpeace International briefing paper on PVC and dioxin pollution -- a "global health risk," says the 66-page paper. Me, I'm going to smoke now. --Robert Wilonsky