(NaturalNews) Decades after the practice was banned via federal regulations, there are still a number of damaging effects lingering from a legacy of dumping into the environment tens of thousands of pounds of chemical waste used to produce pesticides, says a June 30 report in eNews Park Forest.
According to the Illinois-based publication, the production by the Hooker Chemical Company of C-56, “the progenitor of many now-banned organocholorine pestistides,” has resulted in contamination and lasting environmental damage. The group Beyond Pesticides “has long advocated for the elimination of hazardous synthetic pesticides,” the report said, “due to unnecessary risks that put the health of both people and entire communities in jeopardy.”
As further reported by eNews Park Forest:
Long after the Depression Era in Montague, MI, there were still many families who were left jobless and looking for any means to bring back a better life. The town decided to stimulate the local economy by recruiting Hooker Electrochemical Company; a chemical manufacturer originally based in New York, where it had been using an old canal bed for disposal of waste in the 1940s and was looking for a new site to build a chlor-alkali plant. Ninety-six percent of local residents signed the petition to bring them in.
The situation was very advantageous for the company because it needed vast underground reserves of salt and lake water for cooling purposes during the process of manufacturing its industrial pesticide.
“Hooker had been welcomed into the community because as individuals they were well-educated, well-spoken and nobody at the time had any idea what the attitude of industry was toward our natural environment,” said local attorney Winton Dahlstrom.
The evidence is damning
In the 1980s, Marjory Erdman, Beth Manchesky and Kristy Anderson, all from Montague, formed an early friendship, grew up and started families. All three remained very close. One day, in 2010, they were all having lunch together and discovered that each of them had contracted a deadly disease that likely would result in early death. Anderson had developed a rare sarcoma; Manchesky had a rare form of mantel cell lymphoma, and Erdman had contracted a rare uterine cancer, the report said.
The common denominator between them was the environment in which they grew up, which was rife with industrial pollution.
Later, the three discovered that they were not alone in contracting illness; a number of other longtime residents from the same area also had a number of health problems, eNews Park Forest reported.
“There is a good chance it’s from the environment — that either the water or the air or something in our environment [contributed],” said the father of 16-year-old Zachary Peterson, who died after being diagnosed with rare hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer), a disease that normally strikes liver-damaged males over 50. “But how do you prove it?”
Some years ago, Claire Schlaff, a local resident, began to look for answers following the death of her son at age 35. She started collecting data that she believed could help answer questions that were arising in the community. Along with some volunteers, they founded the White Lake Cancer Mapping Project, which collected information about people who lived in the area and who had been diagnosed with, or died from, cancer.
“With the information collected, they were able to track the cases over time and establish a pattern,” said the report. Often, Schlaff would have to deliver bad news to those looking for links and closure regarding the local environment and the death of a loved one.
“It’s very difficult when you’re talking about exposure to chemicals in the environment and proving they have caused any individual illness,” she said. “There are lots of reasons, starting with the people. Every person comes to the table with different hereditary genetics and disposition to disease. While you can have a group of people exposed to a chemical, all at the same level and same time, each person will react differently.”
Two of three friends have died
The report said that investigator James Truchan looked into Hooker during the 1970s and early 1980s; he became convinced that the local health issues were tied directly to the chemical compound C-56.
“C-56 as a compound is extremely toxic,” he said. “It’s extremely mutagenic and it’s
also fetotoxic. It’s extremely bad stuff. My only hope is that people exposed to it don’t have some kind of detrimental health effects down the road from it 20, 30 or 40 years from now.”
C-56, also known as hexachlorocyclopentadiene, is an organochlorine compound from which many now-banned pesticides, including DDT, methoxychlor, dieldrin, chlordane, toxaphene, mirex, kepone, lindane and benzene hexachloride, are derived and produced.
“It makes you wonder,” Erdman said in 2011, according to a report in The Detroit News. “Even my doctor said at one point ‘This is just odd. You seem to have hung around with a circle of friends that seem to have all these problems.'”
Anderson and Manchesky have both since died from their diseases; Erdman, however, is a cancer survivor.
Written by J.D.Heyes
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