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NATO security force assassination methods are documented in the excerpt below. I hope all of my anti-war, anti-apartheid, anti-imperialism and communist friends will take the time and read what’s coming. It started a very long time ago and their activities have evolved significantly. This documents how they target and assassinate academics, scientists, journalists, and anti-imperialism group leaders who shine a light on their activities or fight against them. They are the enemy within so it’s important to understand them in their complexity.

“Secrets and Lies: Wouter Basson and South Africa’s Chemical and Biological Warfare Programme by Marlene Burger and Chandre Gould provides important clarity of their organizational structure, technologies they utilize against us all.

Dr. Basson ran the South African Chemical and Biological Warfare Programme for the apartheid government. He grew cholera cultures for use in black townships and against anti-apartheid demonstrators. “I must confirm that the structure of the [Chemical and Biological Warfare] project was based on the U.S. system. That’s where we learnt the most.” – Wouter Basson, M.D., The “Mengele of South Africa.”
I came to learn of this book in reading Harriet Washington’s extraordinary book, “Medical Apartheid.”
“The South African bioterrorism campaign depended upon very close relationships with U.S. scientists. Despite the supposed isolation imposed upon South African scientists by the international embargoes of the 1980s until 1993, Basson and his minions could not have undertaken biological warfare without the support of the U.S. government. From 1981 until 1993, the United States supported Wouter Basson’s weaponization programs by financing close collaborations with U.S. scientists and by sponsoring Basson’s sojourns to the United States for conferences and education. For example, in 1983, Basson attended a closed Department of Defense conference on biological and chemical warfare in San Antonio. During his trial, Basson recounted his participation in a 1981 federal conference in San Antonio with army officers from the United States, West Germany, Japan, Britain, and Canada. He declared, “I must confirm that the structure of the [CBWP] project was based on the U.S. system. That’s where we learnt the most.”
Basson says he was also grateful for expert American consultants, because the CBWP was dependent upon a colorful assortment of American scientists, especially Larry Ford, M.D., of California. Ford and Basson shared strange research proclivities, acerbic racist sensibilities, and a fascination with scientific genocide. Extant medical and legal documents and the testimony of Basson’s former confederates under oath describe their shocking joint-research projects.

According to Ford’s lawyer, he was a chemical-weapons researcher for the U.S. government in the 1980. In 1987, the United States sent him to South Africa to train microbiologists at the military-run Roodeplaat Research Laboratory (RRL), a key component of South Africa’s chemical-weapons program and a front for the apartheid South African Defense Force. Ford returned often to teach RRL scientists how to produce biological agents such as anthrax and botulinum toxin for use as weapons against antiapartheid forces and against blacks in general. He also taught apartheid’s defenders how to transform innocuous objects such as doilies and tea bags into biological weapons. His seminar series, a master class for poisoners, proved popular among South African scientists, who dubbed it “Project Larry.” Lt. Gen. Lothar Neething, head of the apartheid regime’s police forensic laboratory, was in attendance. So was RRL microbiologist Dr. Mike Odendaal, who recalls, “Ford spent an entire day showing us how to contaminate ordinary items and turn them into biological weapons.” He says Ford gave them “ideas about how to infiltrate innocuous objects such as perfume or household items” and place them in close proximity to a potential target.
Ford’s expertise in the toxicology of everyday life was put to use as South African physicians busily set about eliminating the enemies of apartheid. Ford was warmly welcomed within the nation’s top echelon of medical politicians: for example, the home of former surgeon general Dr. Niels Knobel is graced by a prominently placed framed photograph of him and Ford posing with a lion that Ford had shot.”…

Goosen supervised a multitude of biological assaults on black townships, including the release of pathogens and their vectors, such as mosquitoes, to seed disease epidemics there, just as the army and the CIA had released them over Carver Village… Goosen, Basson,and their deputies investigated the use of Mandrax, an amphetamine, and Ecstasy for crowd control, infused township water supplies with treatment-resistant strains of cholera, and deployed napalm and phosphorus against blacks in Namibia and Angola during the 1980s.

Basson also ordered Goosen to suppress black reproduction surreptitiously and suggested the clandestine addition of contraceptives to townships’ drinking water. Basson stressed that this was a direct edict of the South African surgeon general.

Throughout the Cold War, Western newspapers were peppered with sporadic accounts of ethnic and racial bioweapons being developed by South Africa with U.S. assistance. U.S. news media broadly maligned all such reports as “misinformation” disseminated by the Soviet Union to embarrass the United States.

A 1998 London Sunday Times story alleged that Israel already has used South Africa’s research to develop a genetically specific weapon against arabs.” – Medical Apartheid (Portions from pages 373- 378)

“Secrets and Lies: Wouter Basson and South Africa’s Chemical and Biological Warfare Programme” is based largely on contemporaneous reports compiled throughout the Basson trial for the Center for Conflict Resolution. The testimony provided during his trial establishes methods, chemical and biological weapon technologies, its organizational structure, and how they control the program scientists. The truth started coming out in 1989, “Almond Nofomela, a former policeman, sentenced to death for the murder of a farmer, made a shocking confession on the eve of his execution: he had been a member of a Security Police hit squad operating from a farm called Vlakplaas, South-west of Pretoria. When his erstwhile commanding officer, Dick Coetzee, confirmed the claim, the lid was lifted on a can of worms so foetid that no one in apartheid’s corridors of power could escape the stench…” this book provides a clear picture of how imperialism operates to destroy those who fight it. They destroy academics, journalists, and anti-imperialism leaders. US taxpayers are spending billions “in the name of national security” lie.

Chapter 3: Toxins in Little Bottles Excerpt

“During the course of Basson’s marathon trial, 153 witnesses trooped through the Pretoria High Court to testify against the military doctor who was the linchpin of a programme that not only perverted science, but also cost taxpayers millions in rands in the name of national security….

Around the middle of 1983, Basson invited Goosen to become involved in establishing a facility where chemical and biological substances could be tested on animals. It was not long before the initial plan was expanded to include research into the production of biological warfare agents….

While construction was in progress, Goosen began the important task of recruiting scientists to work with him. He sought out former colleagues from the University of Pretoria’s veterinary faculty at Onderstepoort, people he knew and could trust—people who had no problem marrying their patriotism with a desire to practise interesting science and be well paid for it, and who would not question the work being done. Those who fitted the bill had to fill in reams of forms, providing details about every aspect of their lives. Security checks to determine that neither they nor their close friends of family members were secret supporters of any anti-apartheid organizations, the tests to ensure they were ‘emotionally stable.’ Among the first scientists to be recruited and appointed ‘directors’ were veterinarians Dr. Andre Immelman and Dr. Schalk van Rensburg, who was lured away from the Medical Research Council by Basson himself. Once on the payroll, scientists were subject to stringent security in the workplace, barred from discussing their work with colleagues who were not part of their specific research teams. Some scientists believe that their homes might even have been secretly bugged. Returning home one evening after a frustrating day in the labs, one of the Delta G scientists complained to his wife of tensions at work, only to find himself answering to his boss for his indiscretion the following day. Warnings like this kept the scientists in line, made them afraid to challenge the system and powerless to change the course of the program they found themselves involved with.

Goosen testified that he, Basson and Immelmen talked about developing covert chemical and biological weapons such as a substance that could be smeared on a car door handle, which would cause whoever opened the door to be poisoned. They came to the conclusion that the ideal poison for such an application would be an organophosphate, which research had shown was most effectively absorbed through the skin. It was with this kind of application in mind, said Goosen, that paraoxon became the most researched organophosphate at RLL. Paraoxon attacks the involuntary muscle functions, paralysing vital organs and resulting in suffocation within minutes of ingestion. In time, most — perhaps all —of the senior scientists at RLL came to suspect that the substances they were doing research on would be used to eliminate or harm enemies of the state. Goosen said that during one of the informal discussions about how organophosphates could be used, ANC leaders and communists were mentioned as suitable targets for elimination. There was talk, for example, about how hard it would be to murder former South African Communist Party leader Joe Slovo, and what could be used if an assassin had only one minute to strike. Nelson Mandela, too, was discussed, and the view was expressed that if he could somehow get cancer while in prison, his release would present no real problem….

While Van Rensburg was nominally in charge of the animal research laboratory and oversaw the project to develop an infertility vaccine, Immelman headed the chemical and pharmacological departments. Microbiologist Dr. Mike Odendaal focused his attention on collecting as many cultures as he could find, including some 45 different strains of anthrax, E. coli (which causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea), and Yersina enterocolitica (closely related to the bacteria that causes plague), to name a few. Every organism Odendaal collected was nurtured and grown in sufficient quantities to freeze-dry. The vials of freeze dried anthrax, cholera, Clostridium botulinum and many more were given to Immelman to keep in the walk-in safe he had installed in his office. For security reasons Immelman never told Odendaal what he intended using the pathogens for, but there were times when this information slipped out during casual conversation. So it was that having supplied Immelman with a bowl of sugar contaminated with salmonella, the non-lethal bacteria that induces food poisoning, Odendaal was told that it was destined for Soweto to be used at an ANC meeting. In this instance, unusually, Odendaal received feedback about the results; the salmonella had worked very well, he was told, all the delegates had fallen ill. Testifying in the Basson trial, Immelman said that he had ‘merely been joking’ when he told Odendaal this.

The so-called fertility project of the RLL and Delta G received widespread media attention during the TRC hearings. Van Rensburg and Goosen testified that discussions about the population explosion in South Africa gave rise to the idea of developing a vaccine that would prevent reproduction. Van Rensburg thought that the project, which he believed was in line with the World Health Organization’s attempts to curb rising global birth rates, would bring RRL international acclaim and funding. He was encouraged, he said, by Basson, who told him that the military needed an anti-fertility vaccine that could be administered through food so that female Unita soldiers would not fall pregnant. While skeptical about the reasons given, Van Rensburg committed himself and his colleagues to the development of an anti-fertility vaccine that could be administered orally without the knowledge of recipients. Both Goosen and Van Rensburg believed that the intention was to secretly give the contraceptive to black South African women. Other scientists involved in the project have denied knowing that this was the purpose of their work. Geoff Candy, a scientist at Delta G Scientific, confirmed Goosen and Van Rensburg’s claims, saying that when he was asked to get involved in the project and realised that the intention was to affect the fertility of black women, he knew that he had to ‘get out,’ because he could not morally justify this kind of work. A vaccine of the kind envisaged was never produced.

While all the scientists agree that at first their work centred on understanding how defences against chemical and biological weapons could be developed, the emphasis gradually shifted to the offensive use of biological agents, until Odendaal and some of his colleagues at RRL found themselves making bizarre products such as anthrax-contaminated cigarettes. Immelman was in charge of all military or ‘hard’ projects, as they were known, and for which orders were almost never put in writing. Even soft-centred chocolates were injected with anthrax or botulinum toxin and given to Immelman. Fairly soon after Odendaal joined RRL, he was given a vial of blood by Immelman who told him it came from Basson, had been drawn from a ! Military Hospital patient dying from AIDS and was to be freeze-dried with a view to being used against ‘opponents.’ This is the only record of a virus being kept at RRL and it is not known whether the plan was ever put into practice.

It was James Davies, Special Forces trained veterinarian, who did much of the practical work at RRL. By his own admission a handy man with a toolbox, Davies used a dentist’s drill to make tiny holes in cans and bottles through which Immelman could then inject paraoxon, anthrax, Brodifacoum or any other toxin of choice before Davies soldered the holes shut. Davies admitted — and research files confirmed— that he added Aldicarb to orange juice, botulinum toxin and thallium to beer, Paraquat to whiskey, all deadly mixes. Davies also injected custom-made toxins into chocolates and alcohol, which he then handed back to his boss.

Immelman, now the owner of a game farm in Limpopo province, said he knew from the start that RRL was an SADF front, and explained that paraoxon was synthesised as an active ingredient because it was ‘reasonably easy’ to make and required a lethal dose of only 1 mg per kilogram of body weight, which was quickly absorbed. An added advantage was that if detected post mortem, its presence could always be attributed to parathion, a common agricultural pesticide. In addition, research into paraoxon offered an ideal cover for the establishment of a high-safety laboratory in which research wold be done on the nerve agents sarin, tabun, and VX (Take special note that all of these were created and brought to industrial scale productions by Nazi IG Farben scientists, Otto Ambros and Fritz Hoffmann.)

Harrowing as the personal testimony of the scientists was, the true horror of the twilight zone explored by some of the country’s finest scientific minds lies in the thousands of documents filed with the Pretoria High Court during Basson’s trial. The Rosetta Stone of the RRL records was a list compiled by Immelman during 1989, titled simply ‘Verkope’ [Sales]. It is a record of the toxins and contaminated items that Immelman handed to people introduced to him by Basson, and provides some insight into the ghastly products dreamed up at RRL.

Clinical toxicologist Professor Gerbus Muller of Stellenbosch University told Judge Willie Hartzengerg that of the 24 items on the ‘Sales List’ covering the period August to October 1989, at least eight are extremely poisonous. One, botulinum, is the most dangerous toxin known to man. It kills by respiratory arrest and is one million times more poisonous than arsenic. Another, Paraquat, is so potent that even with treatment for a low dosage, a 100 per cent mortality rate can be expected. At Roodeplaat, these and other lethal substances were added to cigarettes, chocolates, alcoholic beverages, and toiletries before being supplied to members of the sinister Special Forces hit squad, the Civil Cooperation Bureau, and the Security Police. In some instances, specially adapted screwdrivers, walking sticks and umbrellas were loaded with doses of deadly toxins to be administered to officially approved ‘targets’ in scenarios worthy of a James Bond novel. Basson denied being involved in plans to murder anyone, and said the only reason such research was done was in order to illustrate how easily South African agents or VIPs travelling abroad could be assassinated.

In order to determine how well and how quickly the poisons would work, scientists at RRL tested their potions on primates, pigs and beagle hounds. How many animals met horrible deaths in the process will never be known, but 203 Roodeplaat research files recovered by Basson investigators show a dedicated commitment to the quest. The majority of substances involved cause death by suffocation — an excruciatingly painful process involving paralysis of the central nervous system and collapse of the lungs. An anti-coagulant called Brodifacoum gives rise to massive internal bleeding and fatal brain haemorrhage, while Cantharidine (commonly known as the aphrodisiac, Spanish Fly) causes severe burns in the mouth, throat and vital organs before victims become comatose and die of multiple organ failure.

In RRL’s laboratories, death sometimes came swiftly, within minutes, but it could take hours, even days. Records of clinical tests with cholecalciferol — or vitamin D3 — show that dogs given three consecutive overdoses of the substance took four to seven days to die. Vervet monkeys fed a low dosage over a 30-day period died of heart failure 65 days after first ingesting the substance, suffering nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, headache, itching, disorientation and peripheral nerve damage in the interim. Sodium azide, used industrially in the manufacture of explosives and preservatives, produced symptoms in baboons within three to eight minutes of oral ingestion. Soon after being fed the poison the baboons would have extreme difficulty breathing, their blood pressure would drop and they would lapse into a coma before dying within 30 to 120 minutes. This substance was also tested on pigs and dogs — which, according to the research report, ‘continued to wag their tails, even while in a coma, until their died.’ Tests with Brodifacoum, used commercially in rat poison, caused a monkey to bleed to death from the femoral artery, while organophosphates attacked the central nervous systems of baboons within eight hours of being applied to a small patch of naked skin. The baboons were subjected to protracted torture, being injected with an antidote, atropine, at the first sign of poisoning, only to have the toxin reapplied at 24-hour intervals over a period of up to seven days before succumbing to the inevitable.

Immelman began keeping a record of substances he handed out towards the end of 1988, when Basson introduced him to three men he knew only as Chris, Gert, and Manie. Instructed by Basson to use the codename ‘Willem’ when meeting with the men, Immelman presented himself as a farmer, knowing he had to protect his identity and his link to RRL at all costs. It was these three men who were the recipients of many of the poisons itemized on the Sales List. Immelman claims to have believed they were members of 7 Medical Battalion and felt no compunction when Basson told him to ‘give them anything they want.’ Later, Basson also introduced him to a man he knew only as Koos, with the same instruction. Nothing, says Immelman, left RRL without Basson’s approval.

All Immelman’s meetings — about nine, to his recollection— with Chris, Gert, and Manie were set up by Sarie Jordan, Basson’s secretary at the South African Medical Services (SAMS). The men met in Basson’s office at SAMS headquarters in his absence, or in restaurants, and it didn’t take long for Immelman to realise that the three men were not schooled in pharmacology. He spent a great deal of time talking with them, over coffee at a fast food outlet, about the best ways of administering the poisons, which effects could be expected and how they could be applied to clothing. Before giving Chris a quantity of paraoxon on 4 April 1989, Immelman explained that the most sensitive areas of absorption would be the scrotum and eyelids, and that a shirt collar or waistband of pants would be ideal areas on which to spread the poison. It was not long after this meeting that Immelman read in a newspaper about the poisoning of the Reverend Frank Chikane, a secretary-general of the South African Council of Churches and an outspoken opponent of apartheid. Having made a connection in his own mind, Immelman asked Basson directly if paraoxon had been used. Basson replied that no one knew, ‘not even the Americans.’

Late in 1989, Immelman delivered vials of vibrio cholerae to Koos in Basson’s office. The bacteria were in School laboratory flasks, made of thick glass with screw tops. Former CCB operator Pieter Botes testified during Basson’s trial that he was given two vials of cholera with instructions to use them to contaminate the water supply of a Swapo refugee camp outside Windhoek shortly before Namibia’s pre-independence election in 1989….

Six containers of orange juice, each containing 200 mg of Aldicarb, were delivered to Chris, along with 2 g of vitamin D3, on 7 April 1989, (a fatal dose would be three to four grams). On 15 May 1989, Chris received 70 mg of Catharidine, of which as little as 10 mg — a taste — has been known to be fatal. Koos was given 100 mg of Catharidine in September 1989. Chris also received a number of hypodermic syringes and needles, while 50 sodium cyanide capsules (fatal dose 4 g) were given to Koos and a letter laced with anthrax spores to Basson. All the chocolates and cigarettes laced with anthrax appearing on the Sales List were supplied to Chris.

From photographs shown to Immelman in court, Chris, Gert and Manie were identified as Security Police Officers (whose surnames are protected in terms of a court order). While admitting that he had introduced Immelman to the three men, Basson said this was for the sole purpose of supplying them with sedatives and tranquillisers that could be used during cross-border abductions by the Security Police, and that he had never instructed or authorized Immelman to give them any lethal toxins. Items in the Sales List marked down against his own name, said Basson, had been ‘passed on to scientists’ for further research. Odendaal, the man who laced chocolates and single cigarettes with anthrax, strongly disputed this claim when it was put to him under cross-examination, describing it as ‘ludicrous’. At the time, he said, he was probably the closest thing to an anthrax expert that South Africa had, so who else could have done what further tests? All ‘they’ wanted, said Odendaal, was ‘toxins in little bottles’.

In the broad scheme of things, however, the ubiquitous ‘they’ actually wanted a great deal more — but it was not for the scientists at RRL to know that while they were making toxins, someone in a workshop on the opposite side of Pretoria was designing bizarre instruments that could be used to administer them. Jan Lourens graduated from the Rand Afrikaans University with a degree in metallurgical and mechanical engineering before joining the Air Force, where he worked in the laboratory at Air Logistics Command. It was there that he met up with an old school friend, Philip Mijburgh. It was an encounter that would change the course of Lourens’s life. Mijburgh, a medical doctor and member of Basson’s Special Operations Unit (later 7 Medical Battalion), lost no time recruiting Lourens into the unit or putting his skills to use. Lourens worked closely with scientists at RRL from the start. In 1985, he was introduced by Mijburgh to Goosen, Immelman and Davies, who needed his help for the development of custom-made apparatus to conduct animal experiments with chemical and biological warfare agents. Lourens made a chair that could restrain a primate, with a mechanical arm that could be used to extract blood at a distance. He also constructed a gas chamber large enough for the restraining chair. A baboon strapped into the chair could be placed inside the gas chamber while gases were piped in, to see what effect they would have on the animal. The gas chamber was used on at least one occasion to subject a restrained baboon to the potent CR teargas.

Among the first tasks assigned to Lourens was to set up an independent radio network to link all the vehicles of all Special Operations members. He also modified their Nissan Skylines, souping up the engines and enlarging the fuel tanks to allow a rapid response, in the event of a chemical misshap, by members of the so-called Skyline Squad. Working from Speskop, Lourens came to know some of the staff at EMLC, striking up a friendship with former Selous Scout Philip Morgan, a self-taught armourer with a vivid imagination and the mechanical skills to match. When Lourens became involved in designing a series of ‘special applicators,’ it was Morgan who turned sketches into weapons cunningly disguised as screwdrivers, walking sticks, even a poison-tipped umbrella. Lourens’s friendship with Mijburgh translated into a good relationship with Basson, and by 1987, three years after joining Special Operations, he was firmly ensconced in Basson’s inner circle. His wife, Antoinette, also worked for Project Coast — at the financial and administrative front company, Infladel — and others served as personal assistant to Basson.

Through his position in the Special Operations Unit, Lourens became acquainted with Delta G Scientific, even while the fledging chemical plant still housed in a few offices in the Pretoria suburb of Val de Grace. When construction began on the on the sophisticated research and production planting Midrand, Mijburgh invited him to serve as project manager, a task he willingly accepted. In the heyday of Project Coast, Delta G’s main purpose was production of CR, CR is extremely irritating. It burns the skin, eyes and nasal passages and causes severe flu-like symptoms in anyone who comes into contact with it. Scientists who worked with CR all felt the effects of the agent. The poor safety conditions under which they conducted their experiments left at least two of them chronically ill and unable to continue working in the industry. Delta G staff were also asked to develop defensive measures against chemical warfare agents, such as test kits that could be used by troops in the field.

On completion of the Midrand factory, Lourens was invited to stay on as resident site engineer, but the prospect held little attraction, and instead he discussed with Mijburgh the possibility of removing the defensive arm of the project from Delta G and running it himself. Mijburgh agreed, and at the end of 1986, with funding supplied by Basson, Lourens set up Systems Research & Development in Stardom Park, Randburg. In due course, SRD acquired a number of branches. One of these was Phoenix Service Station, where the super-Skylines were modified and serviced. Another branch concentrated on developing filters and chemical detection appartatus, while SRD Electronics supplied the military with surveillance equipment and debugging devices. A mechanical workshop operating as QB Laboratories became home to Morgan, who left EMLC at Basson’s request, and Bart Hettema’s main task was to pack CR into hand-held aerosol cans for the SA Police, while Morgan concentrated on the custom-made items he and Lourens called ‘applicators’ in English and the generic ‘screwdrivers’ in Afrikaans. These were devices containing secret compartments that could be filled with lethal toxins. Lourens said he received instructions from Basson to make the applicators. Basson, in turn, claims that the orders came from General Kat Liebenberg, who had ‘heard’ that such instruments could be used by covert agents.

Most of the finished products were delivered to Basson by Lourens, though a few were also handed to Immelman or Davies at RRL, where they were tested to check on their efficacy. RRL test reports show that the screwdrivers were tested on pigs, to see if they could operate silently and penetrate the skin in order to deliver their lethal payloads. The first generation screwdrivers were either spring-loaded or contained a low explosive charge that released the chemical substance on impact, while umbrellas were adapted to shoot a poisoned polycarbonate ball into a victim’s body. Polycarbonate was virtually impossible to detect during an autopsy, and Lourens was told that the micro-balls could not be picked up by security X-ray machines. He and Morgan also produced walking sticks that were really injectors and a folding knife-spoon that fitted into a cigarette box. This device was ideally suited for use in prison where spoon stabbings were commonplace. The victim could be stabbed with the spoon, inside which was hidden a container of poison. The intention was for the victim to die, the only visible cause of death being the stab wound. QB also made signet rings with a secret compartment for poison. The unique locking mechanism designed by Morgan allowed Lourens, during the Basson trial, to identify a signet ring used by police agent Leslie Lesia against ANC members in exile in African states.

In March 1988, Lourens quit SRD to focus his attention on the development of personal apparel offering protection against chemical attack. By that time, the defensive side of Project Coast was in a growth phase, with textiles, clothing and filtration systems all being tested against genuine chemicals rather than simulated substances. Leaving SRD in the hands of psychologist Johnny Koortzen, Lourens became managing director of a new company, Protechnik, holding this position until March 1993.

In January 1986, shortly after RRL launched into full swing, Goosen was removed from his position as managing director amid allegations that he was a poor administrator and had taken kickbacks from the building contractors. Goosen was moved to Roodeplaat Breeding Enterprises, a sub-section of RRL that was involved in the supply of guard dogs, and replaced by Special Forces dentist Wynand Swanepoel. The shift in leadership at RRL mirrored by the situation at Delta G Scientific, where Dr. Willie Basson was removed from his post as chief executive on the basis of equally vague accusations of bad management, to be succeeded by Philip Mijburgh. Two years later, Swanepoel asked Goosen to return to RRL to ‘sort out’ problems in the animal research centre, but in February 1989 Goosen found himself out on the street as the result of accusations that he was guilty of a major security breach.

The alleged offense had taken place during a conference in the Kruger National Park. Goosen, whose wife had recently died of cancer, was emotionally fragile at the time, and shortly after the conference suffered a nervous breakdown. To this day, Goosen believes his condition was deliberately induced by the administration of a psychotic drug, and denies he was guilty of a security breach. Nevertheless, he was told by Knobel that the offense was seen in so serious a light that, by rights, he ought to be going to prison. Instead he was told to quit Project Coast and sign a restraint of trade agreement that prevented him from pursuing a research career for 10 years. He also had to sign secrecy agreements, promising not to reveal the nature of the work he did at RLL. In return, he was paid R60 000 — the equivalent of three months’ salary and his contributions to the pension fund. By this time, Basson and Goosen were no longer on speaking terms.

Ironically, scientists who remained at RLL agree that from the moment Swanepoel became managing director, they ceased to be given any clear guidelines from management on what they were expected to do. In the absence of a scientific compass, they simply began working on projects that interested them personally, but did not necessarily have any military value. The microbiologist motivated their research to management by appending the phrase ‘has military application’ to their proposals to ensure they would be approved. This was how one of the junior scientists under Odendaal’s supervision perfected the genetic modification of the E. coli bacterium. Adriaan Botha’s objective was to develop a vaccine that would protect sheep against one of the lethal toxins expressed by Clostridium perfringens bacterium. E. coli can produce far larger quantities of toxin, so the idea was to modify E. coli. While Botha was clear about his intention to develop a harmless vaccine, he was fully conscious that his work could also lead to the development of a dangerous and frightening biological warfare agent.

Portions from pages 28 – 40

The reason they also used alcohol as a delivery agent is because it would assist in poisoning. Alcohol would have been utilized to disarm the liver rendering it useless against the poisoned assault.

https://renchemista.wordpress.com/2010/06/28/liver-functioning-chemical-synergies-an-excerpt-silent-spring-by-rachel-carson/

Sales List

Phencycladine (Returned)
Thallium acetate
Phencycladine
Aldicarb — Orange Juice
Azide — Whiskey
Paraoxon
Vitamin D
Vitamin D
Cantharadine
10ml Injections
Needles
Needles
Thallium acetate
Aluminum phosphide or Phosphine tablets
Spores and Letter
Capsules of Sodium cyanide
Beer can botulinum
Beer can thallium
Beer bottle botulinum
Beer bottle thallium
Sugar and Salmonella
Whiskey and Paraquat
Mercuric oxycyanide
Baboon foetus
Vibrio cholera
Azide
Capsules cyanide
Cigarettes B anthracis (anthrax)
Coffee chocolates B anthracis
Coffee chocolates Botulinum
Peppermint chocolates Aldicarb
Peppermint chocolates Brodifacoum
Peppermint chocolates Cantharadine
Peppermint chocolates Cyanide
Vibrio cholera
Capsules Propan Sodium Cyanide
Formalin and Piridine
Needles
Cantharadine — powder in packet
Methanol
Vibrio cholera — 10 bottles
Snakes
Mamba toxin (Brought back)
Digoxin
Whiskey + colchicine
B. melitensis
Salmonella typhimurium in deodorant
Culture from letters
B. melitensis
Salmonella typhimurium in deodorant

I think of all the vocal US scientists who died of cancer and more. Rachel Carson, Theo Colborn, Carl Sagan, Lynn Margulis, and Steven Jay Gould all spoke out against imperialism and its weapons.
“Shall we concentrate upon unfounded speculation for the violence of some—one that follows the determinist philosophy of blaming the victim—or shall we try to eliminate the oppression that builds ghettoes and saps the spirit of the unemployed in the first place?” – Steven Jay Gould
And of special note. The book, “The Nazi War on Cancer,” by Robert N. Proctor was dedicated “For Stephan Jay Gould, Richard Lewontin, Ruth Hubbard, Richard Levins, and the rest of the Bio 106 Gang.”
(I will put a picture of its contents in the messages below. Stephan Jay Gould knew it all.)
Stroke, heart attacks, brain hemorrhage, and cancer were preferred methods to eliminate their enemies.

“The anti-coagulant called Brodifacoum gives rise to fatal brain haemorrhage…” – Toxins in Little Bottles page 33

“The family of Lynn Margulis announced that she died at home on Tuesday, November 22, at the age of 73. She had suffered a serious hemorrhagic stroke on Friday, November 18 – so serious that there was no chance of recovery. Having authored dozens of books and scientific papers, Margulis was awarded the National Medal of Science in 1999.
In 2004, she began looking into the evidence against the official account of 9/11. She not only accepted it, but also – always known for her courage – announced her views, writing in 2007:

“Whoever is responsible for bringing to grisly fruition this new false-flag operation, which has been used to justify the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as unprecedented assaults on research, education, and civil liberties, must be perversely proud of their efficient handiwork.”

http://www1.ae911truth.org/en/news-section/41-articles/590-dr-lynn-margulis-1938-2011-a-beacon-of-light-for-911-truth.html

http://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(11)01375-3

The reason they used alcohol as an assassination delivery agent is because it would assist in poisoning. Alcohol would have been utilized to disarm the liver rendering it useless against the poisoned assault. Rachel Carson even explained it in “Silent Spring.”

https://renchemista.wordpress.com/2010/06/28/liver-functioning-chemical-synergies-an-excerpt-silent-spring-by-rachel-carson/

They brutally slaughtered opponents to send a message to others as well. Frank Olson was a CIA bacteriologist who the CIA murdered after he spoke out against the program he found himself in. He was a true hero. He discovered that they were utilizing his work to develop and implement biological weapons being used against North Korea and was deeply upset at that realization. His wife said he was going to quit but instead he was hit hard in the head and thrown out a window of a hotel. A message to other scientists to get in line. His son never gave up trying to find the truth and when his father was moved to join his mother after she passed, he had another autopsy. That autopsy concluded he was murdered. You can all watch Wormwood on Netflix to learn about what the US does to those who refuse to participate in war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Regarding the origins of Sarin and VX. Both were Nazis and Operation Paperclip scientists at the United States.

“Dr. Schrader said that he was not involved in full-scale production. That was the job of his colleague, Dr. Otto Ambros…. From Krauch, Major Tilley learned quite a bit more about Ambros. That he had been in charge of technical development of chemical weapons production at Gendorf and at Dyhernfurth. That Gendorf produced mustard gas on the industrial scale, and that Dyhernfurth produced tabun. Krauch also revealed a new piece of evidence. Dyhernfurth produced a second nerve agent, one that was even more potent than tabun, called sarin. Sarin was an acronym pieced together from the names of four key persons involved in its development: Schrader and Ambros from IG Farben and from the German Army, two officers named Rudiger and Linde…

On July 28, 1945, Dr. Hirschkind met with Ambros and Lieutenant Colonel Tarr in Heidelberg. Ambros brought his wartime deputy with him to the meeting, the Farben chemist Jurgen von Klenck. It was von Klenck who, in the final months of the war, had helped Ambros destroy evidence, hide documents, and disguise the Farben factory in Gendorf so that it appeared to produce soap, not chemical weapons. Jurgen von Klenck was initially detained at Dustbin but later released. The Heidelberg meetings lasted several days. When Dr. Wilhelm Hirschkind left, he had these words for Ambros: “I would look forward after the conclusion of the peace treaty [to] continuing our relations [in my position] as a representative of Dow.”

Only later did FIAT interrogators learn about this meeting. Major Tilley’s suspicions were now confirmed. A group inside the U.S. Chemical Warfare Service, including his former partner, Lieutenant Colonel Tarr, did indeed have an ulterior motive that ran counter to the motives of CIOS, FIAT, and the United Nations War Crimes Commission. Tilley’s superior at Dustbin, Major Wilson, confirmed this dark and disturbing truth in a classified military intelligence report on the Ambros affair. “It is believed that the conflict between FIAT… and LT-Col Tarr was due to the latter’s wish to use Ambros for industrial chemical purposes” back in the United States.” – Operation Paperclip by Annie Jacobson (portions from pages 146 -149, and 157 – 159)

The Nazi origins of the CIA assassination program

“This nerve agent was code-named VX (the V stood for venomous)–a battlefield killer that was three times more toxic than sarin when inhaled and one thousand times more lethal when it came into contact with the skin. Ten milligrams of VX could kill a man in fifteen minutes. VX would be more effective on the battlefield than sarin ever would be; sarin dissipated within fifteen or so minutes, but when VX was sprayed, it stayed on the ground for up to twenty-one days. Now, in 1957, the Chemical Corps began producing VX by the thousands of tons. Operation Paperclip scientist Fritz Hoffmann moved over from synthesizing tabun at Edgewood to working on VX munitions. But Fritz Hoffmann’s more haunting legacy lies in the work he performed for the CIA’s Special Operations Division and the Chemical Corps’ antiplant division. Antiplant agents include chemical or biological pathogens, as well as insects, that are then used as part of a program to harm crops, foliage, or other plant life.

After the death of Frank Olson, the SO Division continued its LSD mind control schemes, But Sidney Gottlieb, the man who had suggested poisoning Frank Olson at the CIA safe house in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, was assigned to also work on the CIA’s assassination-by-poison program. Fritz Hoffmann was one of the chemists at the locus of the program. “He was our teacher,” Edgewood laboratory director Dr. Seymour Silver told journalist Linda Hunt. “He was the guy who brought to our attention any discoveries that happened around the world and then said, ‘Here’s a new chemical, you better test it.'”…..

“During the Vietnam War, I remember one evening we were at the dinner table and the war was on the news,” Gabriella Hoffmann explains. The family was watching TV. “Dad was usually a quiet man, so when he spoke up you remembered it. He pointed to the news–you could see the jungles of Vietnam, and he said, ‘Wouldn’t it be easier to defoliate the trees so you could see the enemies?’ That’s what he said. I remember it clearly. Years later I learned one of Dad’s projects was the development of Agent Orange.”

The army’s herbicidal warfare program during the Vietnam War started in August 1961 and lasted until February 1971. More than 11.4 million gallons of Agent Orange were sprayed over approximately 24 percent of South Vietnam, destroying 5 million acres of uplands and forests and 500,000 acres of food crops–an area about the size of the state of Massachusetts. An additional 8 million gallons of other anti-crop agents, code-named Agents White, Blue, Purple, and Green, were also sprayed, mostly from C-123 cargo planes. Fritz Hoffmann was one of the earliest known U.S. Army Chemical Corps scientists to research the toxic effects of dioxin–possibly in the mid-1950s but for certain in 1959–as indicated in what has become known as the Hoffmann Trip Report. This document is used in almost every legal record pertaining to litigation by U.S. military veterans against the U.S. government and chemical manufacturers for its usage of herbicides and defoliants in the Vietnam War.

Fritz Hoffmann’s untimely death came like something out of a Special Operations Division’s Agent Branch playbook. He suffered a serious illness that came on quickly, lasted for a relatively short time, and was followed by death. On Christmas Eve 1966, Fritz Hoffmann was diagnosed with cancer. Racked with pain, he lay in bed watching his favorite television shows–“Cowboy westerns and Rod Serling in the Twilight Zone,” Gabriella Hoffmann recalls. One hundred days later, Fritz Hoffmann was dead. He was fifty-six years old.” Operation Paperclip by Annie Jacobson (portions from pages 387 – 388)

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The Dark Side of the Perfectly Manicured American Lawn: Is It Giving You Cancer?  By McKay Jenkins from the book Contamination 

On a beautiful April day, I decided to meet outside with my students at the University of Delaware, where I teach journalism. We sat on the central lawn between two buildings that just happened to bear the names of two gargantuan chemical companies: DuPont and Gore. In the middle of a conversation about agricultural pesticides, a groundskeeper, dressed from feet to neck in a white chemical suit, drove by us on a mower. He wasn’t cutting the grass, though; he was spraying it. And not from one nozzle, but from half a dozen. Up and back he went, describing parallel lines as neat as those in any Iowa farmer’s cornfield. Not a blade escaped the spray. This became a perfect teaching moment.

“Who’s going to ask him what he’s spraying?” I asked my students. One young woman marched over to the groundskeeper. He turned off his engine, they spoke, and she returned.

“He said he’s spraying 2,4-D,” she said. “He said we didn’t need to worry, because he sprayed where we’re sitting at five this morning.”

Which would mean about seven hours earlier. My students chuckled uneasily. He was wearing a full-body chem suit, and they were sitting on the grass in shorts and bare feet?

They’d never heard of 2,4-D, or 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid. But they had heard of Agent Orange, the notorious defoliant used in Vietnam, and 2,4-D, one of the most extensively used herbicides in the world, is a constituent of Agent Orange (it did not cause the bulk of the devastating effects associated with Agent Orange). It was developed during World War II, mostly as a weapon to destroy an enemy’s rice crops. Despite its history, 2,4-D has long been seen as safe for consumer use.

In the 1940s, botanist E. J. Kraus of the University of Chicago fed five and a half grams of pure 2,4-D to a cow every day for three months. The cow was fine, according to Kraus, as was her calf. Kraus said he himself had eaten half a gram of the stuff every day for three weeks and felt great. This was apparently good enough for the rest of the country; within five years, American companies were annually producing 14 million pounds of the stuff. By 1964, the number had jumped to 53 million pounds.

Today, annual sales of 2,4-D have surpassed $300 million worldwide, and it’s found in “weed and feed” products, like Scotts Green Sweep, Ortho Weed B Gon, Salvo, Weedone, and Spectracide. At first, its impact on humans seems mild—skin and eye irritation, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, stiffness in the arms and legs—and many lawn-care companies have dismissed health concerns. Plus, the businesses add that the amount of chemicals in sprays is very diluted.

With 80 million home lawns and over 16,000 golf courses, you get close to 50 million acres of cultivated turf in America.

But the effects are more worrisome when considered over time. Because 2,4-D is designed to mimic a plant’s natural growth hormone, it causes such rapid cell growth that the stems of treated plants tend to become grotesquely twisted and their roots swollen; the leaves turn yellow and die; and the plants starve to death (2,4-D does not have this effect on grass).

Unsurprisingly, 2,4-D also appears to affect human hormones. The National Institute of Health Sciences lists it as a suspected endocrine disrupter, and several studies point to its possible contribution to reproductive-health problems and genetic mutations. Although the EPA says there isn’t enough evidence to classify 2,4-D as a carcinogen, a growing body of research has begun to link it to a variety of cancers.

A 1986 National Cancer Institute (NCI) study found that farmers exposed to 2,4-D for 20 or more days a year had a sixfold higher risk of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Another NCI study showed that dogs were twice as likely to contract lymphoma if their owners used 2,4-D on their lawns.

Like flame retardants, this compound also tends to accumulate inside people’s homes even days after the lawn has been sprayed. One study found 2,4-D in the indoor dust of 63 percent of sampled homes; another showed that levels of the chemical in indoor air and on indoor surfaces increased after lawn applications. After 2,4-D was sprayed, exposure levels for children were ten times higher than before the lawns were treated—an indication of how easily the chemical is tracked inside on the little feet of dogs, cats, and kids.

Thanks to pressure from campus activists, my university replaced 2,4-D with “softer” herbicides and began putting signs on lawns that had just been sprayed. Of course, 2,4-D is one of scores of pesticides in use. According to David Pimentel, professor emeritus of entomology at Cornell University, 110,000 people suffer adverse health effects from pesticides every year, and 10,000 cases of cancer in humans may be attributable to pesticide exposure.

 

The Greening of America

In 1900, 60 percent of Americans lived in rural areas. Today, 83 percent live in cities or suburbs. With that change has come an astonishing shift in the landscape. Over the past half century, Americans have become obsessed with grass. When you add up the country’s 80 million home lawns and over 16,000 golf courses, you get close to 50 million acres of cultivated turf in the United States, an expanse roughly the size of Nebraska. This space is growing by 600 square miles a year.

By 1999, more than two thirds of America’s home lawns had been treated with chemical fertilizers or pesticides—14 million by professional lawn-care companies. A year later, the U.S. General Accounting Office reported that Americans were spraying 67 million pounds of synthetic chemicals on their grass every year, and annual sales of lawn-care pesticides had grown to $700 million.

The landscaping trucks rolling through our suburban neighborhoods seem to represent something more than a communal desire for lush grass. Could it be relief from anxiety? (Why else call a company Lawn Doctor?) For one thing, hiring lawn-care specialists is a public declaration that you have the money not to take care of your yard yourself.

Diligent lawn maintenance and chemical use are also associated with approval and social status, Ohio State researchers reported in 2012: “The main factor influencing a homeowner’s decision to use lawn chemicals is whether neighbors or other people in the neighborhood use them. Homeowners crave acceptance from their neighbors and generally want their lawns to fit in with their surrounding community, so they adopt their neighbors’ practices.”

We also create manicured lawns to play the most chemically dependent of pastimes: golf. By 2004, there were just under 15,000 golf courses in the United States—a patchwork of chemically treated turf the size of Rhode Island and Delaware combined.

Even grass seed comes coated with chemicals. A close look at a bag of Scotts grass seed reveals it has been treated with Apron XL fungicide, whose active ingredient is Metalaxyl-M, or methyl N-(methoxyacetyl)-N-(2,6-xylyl)-D-alaninate. The bag requests that the product be stored away from foodstuffs, kept out of the reach of children, and not be applied near water, storm drains, or drainage ditches. (A Scotts spokesperson says that its products are designed to be safe when used as directed.)

As the use of chemicals has become widespread, lawn companies have found an unexpected source of profits. Herbicides like 2,4-D preserve grass but kill weeds like clover. Clover, however, pulls nitrogen out of the air and fixes it in the soil. Without clover, soil becomes nitrogen poor and fails to support plant life. So chemical companies now replace the depleted nitrogen, which homeowners used to get for free from clover, with synthetic nitrogen, for which they have to pay.

In America’s watersheds, nitrogen runoff is considered among the worst problems for water quality. Since synthetic fertilizers are water soluble, a good amount runs off your lawn after a rain, where it mixes with runoff from other homes and ends up feeding the plants in bodies of water. Doused with chemicals, algae grow and grow, creating “algae blooms” that—as they decay and die—suck most of the oxygen out of rivers, lakes, and bays and lead to massive “dead zones,” in which neither fish nor plants can live.

In 2007, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation published a report card on the bay’s health that showed just how much trouble chemicals can pose. The bay received an F for nitrogen pollution, a D-minus for phosphorous, an F for water quality, an F for dissolved oxygen, and a D for toxics. On a scale of 100 (with 100 being the best), the bay’s health was rated at 28.

In California, scientists are discovering that algae blooms off the coast not only remove oxygen; they also release a toxin, domoic acid. It enters the food chain when fish eat algae, then moves into the sea lions that consume the fish. If a sea lion is pregnant, her fetus can be contaminated, and years later, that mammal may develop epilepsy.

 

One Man’s Chemical Conversion

Paul Tukey knows about pesticides; the man who invented 2,4-D was a distant cousin. When Tukey was a kid in the late 1960s, his grandfather hired a biplane to spray his 300 acres of fields in Maine a couple of times a year. The fields were mostly planted with cattle feed, not with crops intended for human consumption. For Tukey, spraying day was a thrill.

“My grandfather would go out in the field, dressed in his wool underwear and thick heavy pants, and wave the biplane over his field,” Tukey recalled. “They’d drop this white powder, and he’d get back in the truck looking like Frosty the Snowman. Then we’d drive to the next field, and he’d do it again. My grandfather was getting doused 20 times a day, but he would never let me get out of the truck. I always wondered why I couldn’t go out and get dusted.”

Tukey’s grandfather died of a brain tumor at 60.

Tukey also followed his family’s agricultural tradition but charted his own course. For years, he operated one of southern Maine’s largest landscaping services and considered his job ideal. He worked outside in shorts and sandals. He never bothered with putting on protective gear.

In 1993, he started getting nosebleeds. His vision became blurry. But with business booming, Tukey was too busy to worry. One of his jobs was tending the grounds of a hospital where he hired university students for the work. One day, their professor, an eminent horticulturist named Rick Churchill, came by to say hello to his students. Tukey went out to greet him.

Churchill’s eyes were focused on the weeds, which Tukey’s crew had doused with herbicides and which were curling up and turning brown.

Churchill said, “I asked him how anyone in good conscience could be applying pesticides on the grounds of a hospital where there were patients being treated for cancers that could be linked to their exposure to pesticides. I asked whether he knew anything about the toxicity ratings of what he was applying and how dangerous many of these compounds were to an individual compromised by illness.”

The words cut deeply. “It was devastating,” Tukey told me. “In Maine, Rick Churchill is an icon.”

“You have broken bags of poison,” Tukey told the manager. “They all say, ‘Keep out of reach of children’!”

Tukey did some reading, and what he found was troubling. Pediatric cancers in Los Angeles had been linked to parental exposure to pesticides during pregnancy. In Denver, kids whose yards were treated with pesticides were found to be four times more likely to have soft-tissue cancers than kids whose yards were not. Elsewhere, links had been found between brain tumors in children and the use of weed killers, pest strips, and flea collars.

Tukey also learned that exposure to lawn chemicals was particularly alarming for people who spread them for a living. One study showed a threefold increase in lung cancer among lawn-care workers who used 2,4-D; another found a higher rate of birth defects among the children of chemical appliers. When he finally went to the doctor for his rashes and deteriorating eyesight, he learned that he had developed multiple chemical sensitivity. And his son—conceived in 1992, during the height of Tukey’s use of synthetic chemicals—was diagnosed with one of the worst cases of ADHD his physician had ever seen. (Several recent scientific reports suggest that toxic chemicals may play a role in ADHD.)

“All the evidence indicates that you don’t want pregnant women around these products, but I was walking into the house every single night with my legs coated with pesticides from the knees down,” he said. “Even when my son was a year or two old, … [he] would greet me at the door at night by grabbing me around the legs. He was getting pesticides on his hands and probably his face too.”

Tukey’s Breaking Point

In the midst of his research, Tukey was driving one day when he saw a sign: A store was having a big sale on Scotts Turf Builder. Tukey made a beeline. He was going to buy the store’s entire stock. Once inside, he walked to the lawn-care section. Tukey noticed a woman standing by the lawn chemicals. At her feet, a girl was making sand castles from a broken bag of pesticides. Suddenly, something in him burst—the DDT squirting over his grandfather’s fields, the chemicals that he’d sprayed outside the hospital, and now a child in a pile of pesticides.

Tukey told me, “I said, ‘Ma’am, you really shouldn’t let your child play with that. It’s not safe.’ I’m fundamentally shy, but this just came out of me.”

The store wouldn’t sell the stuff if it wasn’t safe, she told Tukey. She took her child and walked away. A manager came up and asked him if there was a problem. Tukey said there was.

“You have broken bags of poison on the floor,” Tukey said to the manager. “All those bags say, ‘Keep out of reach of children’!”

Those labels are there because of government formality, the manager said. The stuff isn’t dangerous. The store wouldn’t carry it if it was.

“That really was the stake in the heart of my chemical career,” Tukey said. “By then, I’d already made myself sick. I’d already been questioned by Rick Churchill. When I saw that girl making sand castles out of the pesticides, [there] was just a sudden gut-level reaction I couldn’t have anticipated. I was shaking when I left the store.”

Tukey issued a decree to his employees: His business was going organic. It was time to start weaning his company—and customers—off synthetic chemicals. Most clients were fine with his decision, just as long as it didn’t cost any more and as long as their lawns continued to look the same.

More than 170 municipalities in Canada have banned lawn pesticides, especially on public spaces like school yards and sports fields. Denmark, Norway, and Sweden have banned 2,4-D. In 2009, the European Parliament passed laws banning 22 pesticides that can cause cancer or disrupt human hormones or reproduction.

 

How to Bring Back Butterflies

Certainly, switching to a less toxic lawn company can reduce your family’s—and neighbors’—exposure to synthetic chemicals. It would also reduce the pollutants you contribute to the watershed. But there is another option, one that gets into the more inspiring realm of restoration. There is a way to think of your yard as more than a burden that needs to be mowed and weeded. There is a way to think of your yard as transformational, even magical. Doug Tallamy can show you how.

When Tallamy, former chair of the entomology department at the University of Delaware, walks around his yard, he sees things most of us would not. He can look at a black cherry tree and spot the larvae of 13 tiger swallowtail butterflies. He has planted scores of trees: sweet gums, tulips, white oaks, river birches, and sugar maples. But he’s really interested in bugs and birds—and boosting their numbers.

Suburban development has been devastating to avian populations. Most of the birds we see in our yards are probably house sparrows and starlings, invasive species from Europe. If you study the population numbers for native birds, you’ll find the wood thrush is down 48 percent; the bobwhite, 80 percent; bobolinks, 90 percent. An estimated 72 million birds are killed each year in America by direct exposure to pesticides, a number that does not include baby birds that perish because a parent died from pesticides or birds poisoned by eating contaminated insects or worms. The actual number of birds killed might be closer to 150 million.

In mid-Atlantic gardening circles, Tallamy is a bit of a prophet, his message freighted with both gloom and promise. It is the promise of ecological renewal that he most wants people to understand. His vision is based on three ideas: If you want more birds, you need more native insects; if you want more native insects, you need more native plants; and if you want more native plants, you need to get rid of—or shrink—your lawn.

Tallamy says that when we wake up in the morning to birdsong, it’s often being made by hungry migratory birds that may have just flown 300 miles. What is there to eat? Too frequently, ornamental trees that bear none of the insects the birds need—and chemically treated grass. Tallamy’s prescription: Put in native plants that will make your yard a haven for caterpillars, butterflies, and birds. In the mid-Atlantic region, this can mean swamp milkweed, butterfly weed, buttonbush, joe-pye weed, and a rudbeckia species like black-eyed Susans. At the University of Delaware, Tallamy and a team are restoring native species to the campus.

And me? I ripped up 20 percent of my lawn and planted two flower gardens, two sets of flowering shrubs, and seven vegetable beds. Now my daughter helps me pick eggplants, tomatillos, okra, and Swiss chard. My son can identify not only monarchs and tiger swallowtails but also which plants they like to eat. How? Because last year the butterflies were not here, and this year they are. We replaced the grass, which monarch caterpillars can’t eat, with native flora they can consume. It’s as simple as that. Milkweed and joe-pye weed were born to grow here. All you have to do is plant them and wait for the butterflies.

 

Wise Moves for a Lush Lawn

1. Get tested. “Spending money on fertilizer without a soil test is just guessing,” says Paul Tukey. Good soil is key to a great lawn, and a soil test can tell you what’s in the dirt and what’s missing. For a test, call your county extension office (a national network of agriculture experts).

2. Plant clover with your grass. Clover competes with weeds and fixes nitrogen in the soil. John Bochert, a lawn and garden specialist in York, Maine, recommends a seed mix of white clover, perennial rye (it germinates quickly), fescue, and bluegrass.

3. Mow high, and leave the clippings. Taller grass provides more leaf for photosynthesis, develops deeper roots, and resists weeds. The clippings act as fertilizer. “Lawns mowed at four inches are the most weed-free,” Tukey says. “If you did only one thing, adjusting your mower height would be it.”

4. Cut back on watering. Frequent watering leads to shallow roots, so “water once a week if at all,” says Tukey

5. Apply compost. “Weeds need light to grow,” Tukey says. “Spreading compost on a lawn in the spring prevents weed seeds from germinating.”

6. Listen to weeds … “Weeds are nothing if not messengers,” says Tukey. “Dandelions are telling you the ground needs more calcium. Plantains are telling you the ground is too compact and needs aerating.”

7. … and to insects. Beneficial nematodes, which are microscopic worms, eat some 200 species of insects, including grubs that become Japanese beetles; you can buy them from farm and garden stores. Mix them in water, and spray them on your lawn.

 

 

 

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New battlefront for petrochemical industry: benzene and childhood leukemia by Kristen Lombardi for The Center For Public Integrity

ATHENS, Georgia — It was December 29, 1998, six years after Jill McElheney and her family had moved next to a cluster of 12 petroleum storage tanks. Jill was escorting her son Jarrett, then 4, to the doctor again. He had spent the day slumped in a stroller, looking so pale and fatigued that a stranger stopped her to ask if he was all right.

It was an encounter Jill couldn’t shake. For the previous three months, she had noticed her once-energetic preschooler deteriorating. He complained of pain in his knee, which grew excruciating. It migrated to his shoulder and then his leg. His shins swelled, as did his temples. At night, Jarrett awoke drenched in sweat, screaming from spasms. Jill took him to a pediatrician and an infectious-disease specialist. A rheumatologist diagnosed him with anemia.

Now, as Jarrett lay listless, Jill found herself back at the pediatrician’s office. Tests confirmed a blood count so low that she was instructed to get him to an emergency room immediately. Within hours she was at a hospital in Atlanta, some 65 miles from her home in Athens, watching nurses rush in and out of Jarrett’s room. Doctors identified a common form of childhood leukemia. “I heard the words,” Jill recalled, “and I only knew the bald heads and the sadness.”

In the waiting room, family members heard more unsettling news: A neighbor’s child also had developed leukemia.

Days later, Jarrett’s doctor penned a letter to federal environmental regulators about the two cancer patients, highlighting their “close proximity” to Southeast Terminals, a group of 10,000-gallon tanks containing gasoline, diesel and fuel oil.

“Could you please investigate,” the doctor wrote, “whether high levels of chemicals could have contaminated the water, possibly contributing … to the development of leukemia?”

Only then did the McElheneys consider the possibility that living beside one of the nation’s 1,500 bulk-oil terminals — known sources of cancer-causing benzene — had triggered their son’s leukemia.

“It was one of those light-bulb moments for us,” said Jeff McElheney, Jarrett’s father. “You never get over it.”

New battlefront for industry

Jarrett McElheney does not represent the standard benzene plaintiff. He’s not among the hundreds of thousands of people who toil in American oil refineries or other workplaces contaminated with the chemical and run the risk of developing leukemia. In the rancorous world of toxic-tort litigation, he stands virtually alone. A lawsuit filed by his parents in 2011 against Southeast Terminals owners BP and TransMontaigne is among a relatively few alleging leukemia caused by environmental benzene exposure. Among these, the McElheney case is rarer still: Most have hinged on adult leukemia.

Yet the case may signal an emerging quandary for the petrochemical industry, according to tens of thousands of pages of previously secret documents that have come to light in lawsuits filed against benzene manufacturers and suppliers on behalf of those who suffered from leukemia and other blood diseases, including Jarrett McElheney.

Internal memorandums, emails, letters and meeting minutes obtained by the Center for Public Integrity over the past year suggest that BP and four other major petrochemical companies, coordinated by their trade association, the American Petroleum Institute, spent at least $36 million on research “designed to protect member company interests,” as one 2000 API summary put it. Many of the documents chronicle a systematic attempt by the petrochemical industry to influence the science linking benzene to cancer. Others attest to the industry’s longstanding interest in topics such as childhood leukemia.

“A number of publications in the last few years have attempted to link increased risks of childhood leukemia with proximity to both petroleum facilities and local traffic density,” another 2000 API memo warns. “Although these publications have had little impact to date, the emphasis on ‘Children’s Health’ may cause these concerns to resurface.”

“This is indeed a battlefront for the oil industry,” said Peter Infante, a former director of the office that reviews health standards at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, who has studied benzene for 40 years and now testifies for plaintiffs in benzene litigation. He has worked on a handful of cases involving children sickened by leukemia.

“It’s in the industry’s economic interests to refuse to acknowledge the relationship between benzene and childhood leukemia,” Infante said.

In May, in a sign of the chemical’s continuing threat, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimated that 5 million Americans — excluding workers — face heightened cancer risks from benzene and 68 other carcinogens spewed into the air by the nation’s 149 oil refineries. The EPA has proposed a rule that would require refinery operators to monitor for benzene, in particular, along their fence lines.

Aimed at curbing “fugitive” emissions from equipment leaks and similar releases, the proposal would set a fence line limit for benzene of 3 parts per billion — a fraction of the 10 ppb the agency recommends as the maximum chronic exposure level for the chemical.

Industry groups are pushing back. In written comments, the API’s Matthew Todd called the proposal “a major and significant Agency action [that] will dramatically increase the paperwork and recordkeeping burden on refineries. It includes several precedent-setting proposals, will cost our industry hundreds of millions of dollars per year, increase safety risk [and] may impact fuels production and cost …. Production outages will likely occur.”

The EPA also heard from the people the rule is designed to protect. “We live near a refinery, and as a result my son can’t breathe,” a woman from Fontana, California, wrote in Spanish. “My cousin had respiratory problems while living near a refinery for more than 10 years,” a woman from Houston wrote, also in Spanish. “Unfortunately, he died 2 years ago from bone cancer. We believe this was a result of the ambient air where he lived.”

In June, California officials lowered the long-term exposure level for benzene from 20 ppb to 1 ppb — among the lowest in the country — setting the stage for further emissions cuts at refineries and bulk-oil terminals in that state. Officials say such regulatory actions aim to protect children, who are more susceptible to benzene’s toxic effects than adults because their cells aren’t as developed. California is considering classifying benzene not just as a human carcinogen, but as a “toxic air contaminant which may disproportionately impact children.”

“The fact that benzene impacts the blood-forming organs when you’re a developing child is a big deal,” said Melanie Marty of the state’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.

Hidden menace

ill McElheney agrees. A warm, garrulous mother of five who has schooled herself in the health effects of pollution, she has spent the past 16 years seeking the cause of her son’s leukemia. She has filed open-records requests and contacted state and federal agencies, piecing together a history of gasoline spills and diesel-fuel leaks at Southeast Terminals. She can cite endless details about lingering benzene contamination on terminal property — extensively catalogued in state enforcement files — located “a stone’s throw away” from the trailer park where her family lived for seven years.

Jeff, Jarrett and Jill McElheney stand in the former site of the Oakwood Mobile Home Park, where the family was living when Jarrett was diagnosed with a form of childhood leukemia. Phil Skinner for the Center for Public Integrity
Now vacant and overgrown with brush, the former site of the Oakwood Mobile Home Park lies across a residential street from Southeast Terminals, its tanks rising above a thicket of pines and oaks. All day, every day, trucks drive in and out of the facility’s gates, filling tankers with gasoline and other products.

What can’t be seen is the plume of benzene that has worked its way into the groundwater beneath the tanks. “It’s not like Cancer Alley, with smokestacks belching crap in your face,” Jill said. “It’s hidden — literally.”

When she and Jeff moved to Oakwood in 1992, they saw the 14-trailer community as something of an oasis — quiet, tight-knit. Nestled under shady trees, near churches and schools, it seemed like the perfect location. Even the park’s water supply, drawn from an unpermitted well dating back decades, appeared idyllic: Its pump house served as a beacon on park property, visible for all to see — including, court depositions later confirmed, terminal employees.

“We saw Oakwood as an opportunity,” recalled Jeff, a mustachioed, genial man who operates a roofing company and managed the park for his father, its previous owner.

Jarrett McElheney, center, with 3 of his 4 siblings. Courtesy of the McElheney family
Jarrett arrived two years later and, by his fourth birthday, had grown into an adventurous boy with an abiding love of water. His parents remember him splashing in the tub for hours. Often, he swam in an inflatable pool in their yard, dressed in what he called his “little blue [wet] suit.” He slurped on Kool Aid and popsicles made from well water whose purity his parents never questioned — until his 1998 diagnosis of acute lymphocytic leukemia, or ALL, a form of the blood cancer found overwhelmingly in children.

Within days of hearing the news, Jarrett’s parents tested their water. Samples from the Oakwood well revealed a brew of such chemicals as carbon tetrachloride and 1,2-dichloroethane, sparking a state investigation. The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) found benzene in the water of Oakwood’s well at levels up to 13 ppb — 26 times higher than the federal safety standard. In response, the agency shuttered the well and connected residents to public water.

Over the next year, state geologists worked to identify the contamination’s source. They dug monitoring wells and collected soil samples. Their initial investigation linked at least one pollutant in the park well — not benzene — to nearby abandoned grain silos. Geologists eventually eyed Southeast Terminals as a likely source of the benzene contamination, records show.

“The terminals are certainly suspects for the benzene detected in the [Oakwood] well,” one posited in a 2000 email. “The probable path is deep ground water.”

Another noted the presence of “a possible plume (with benzene) moving by Oakwood … and within a few hundred feet of the [park]’s former well, [thus] too close for comfort for a public-water supply well.”

Two years later, EPD investigators were still documenting high levels of benzene, ranging from 8,000 to 12,000 ppb, on terminal property — as well as the likelihood that, one 2002 EPD memorandum states, “the benzene contamination found in the trailer park well came from the Southeast Terminals.”

Ultimately, though, the state’s two-year, nearly $200,000 investigation yielded few answers. By 2008, groundwater monitoring results revealed only trace amounts of benzene at Oakwood. Today, EPD officials say they lack definitive proof tying the well’s benzene pollution to any source.

For Jill McElheney, the outcome of the inquiry was anything but satisfying. “It just seems to me that when you’ve got benzene in a well and a major source of it next door, you’d make the connection,” she said.

In fact, Jill already had been seeking answers elsewhere. In 2000, she turned to the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, or ATSDR, petitioning it for a public health assessment. Instead, the agency launched a less-thorough public health consultation, meant to ascertain the risk to human health posed by the contaminated well water at Oakwood.

The results brought little clarity. In a 2001 report, the ATSDR determined that “the groundwater contaminant plume” initially sampled in the Oakwood well “is a public health hazard.” At the same time, it singled out a pollutant other than benzene as the threat. For benzene, the agency found that “the likelihood someone would get cancer as a result of their exposure is very low.”

In a 2000 draft filed with the state, however, the ATSDR concluded that the highest concentrations of benzene in the water were of concern. “This risk DOES exceed an acceptable risk level,” the draft states, “and may result in an elevated risk of cancer for exposed individuals.”

An ASTDR spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment.

Mounting evidence on benzene and leukemia

The science linking benzene to cancer — particularly leukemia, in all its forms — has preoccupied the petrochemical industry for more than half a century. As far back as 1948, the API’s toxicological profile of the chemical discussed “reasonably well documented instances of the development of leukemia as a result of chronic benzene exposure,” cautioning that “the only absolutely safe concentration … is zero.”

Later, as scientific evidence of benzene’s hazards accumulated and regulatory limits on workplace and environmental levels tightened, the industry took a different stance. By 1990, the API and member companies such as BP, Chevron, Mobil and Shell had launched a research program meant to keep further restrictions at bay — or, minutes from an API meeting in 1992 state, research “that will be most useful in improving risk assessment and influencing regulation.”

Within months, the API task force overseeing the program was enumerating “developing issues.” Topping its list, according to minutes from a meeting in 1993, was this notation: “link to childhood leukemia?”

That possible link appeared on the industry’s radar again in 2000, documents show. At the time, API representatives were drumming up financial support for an unparalleled study of workers exposed to benzene in Shanghai, China, delivering what amounted to a sales pitch for the project. They touted what one 2000 API overview described as its “tremendous economic benefit to the petroleum industry” — helping to combat “onerous regulations” and “litigation costs due to perceptions about the risks of even very low exposures to benzene.” Childhood leukemia was mentioned explicitly.

Five years later, industry representatives grew concerned enough to bankroll their own research. Documents show the API task force approved funding for what minutes of one meeting in 2005 dubbed a “benzene regulatory response,” comprising a “childhood leukemia review” and “child-to-adult sensitivity to benzene” analysis, for a total of $30,000.

By then, the scientific evidence on benzene and leukemia in adults was well-established. Throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, studies of Italian shoe and leather workers indicated a relationship between the chemical and the cancer. Then, in 1977, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, launched a seminal study of two Goodyear plants in Ohio that made Pliofilm, a thin rubber wrap. The research quantified for the first time the leukemia risk for workers exposed to benzene, prompting OSHA to work on a stricter standard that took effect in 1987.

In years since, the science has solidified. Recent research has shown lower and lower levels of the chemical — less than the OSHA limit of 1 part per million — can cause leukemia as well as other blood and bone marrow disorders.

By contrast, experts say, the research on benzene and childhood leukemia isn’t as conclusive. Multiple studies have indicated that children whose mothers were exposed to benzene-containing solvents during pregnancy experience elevated risks of developing the disease. Others have shown that children living near gas stations or highways — breathing in benzene in the air — face heightened risks. One 2008 study reported a significant spike in the rate of the disease in Houston neighborhoods with the highest benzene emissions.

Taken together, the nearly four dozen publications on the topic strongly suggest the carcinogen can cause leukemia as much in children as adults, experts say.

“Children aren’t another species,” said Infante, the former OSHA official who has reviewed the scientific literature for medical associations and governmental agencies. “If benzene causes leukemia in adults, why wouldn’t it cause leukemia in children?”

The scientist behind the API-commissioned analysis would likely disagree. In 2009, David Pyatt, a Colorado toxicologist with long-standing ties to the petrochemical industry, published a journal article about his review, in which he reported examining 236 studies on the relationship between benzene and childhood leukemia. Many of the studies suggesting a link “suffer from the same limitations,” he concluded, such as poorly quantified exposure estimates.

“At this point,” Pyatt wrote, “there is insufficient epidemiologic support for an association or causal connection between environmental benzene exposure … and the development of childhood [leukemia].”

Some say the review reflects a common industry tactic: Compile studies on a subject, and then shed doubt on each one by claiming the data aren’t good enough.

Pyatt did not respond to repeated emails and phone calls from the Center seeking comment; nor did the API.

In depositions, Pyatt acknowledged that he has never testified for a plaintiff in a benzene exposure case. He has worked as a consultant and defense expert for such petrochemical giants as BP, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Shell, he has said; the API has financed additional work of his on benzene, as has the American Chemistry Council, the chemical industry’s main lobby.

In a deposition taken last year, Pyatt said he wouldn’t discount benzene’s link to childhood leukemia — at least, not to acute myeloid leukemia, or AML, a type rarely found in children.

“There is no reason to think that [children] are going to be protected,” he testified. “So I would certainly think that a child can develop AML if they are exposed to enough benzene.”

In other depositions, Pyatt has conceded no link between benzene and ALL, the type that attacked Jarrett McElheney.

‘They have to stop this practice’

For the McElheneys, the extent of the benzene contamination from Southeast Terminals only came to light years after Jarrett’s chemotherapy regimen had beaten back his leukemia. Yet state and federal enforcement records pinpoint on-site releases of the chemical in 1991, a year before the family moved to the area. At the time, managers of the terminal — jointly owned and operated by BP and Unocal Corp. — discovered a leak of diesel fuel seeping through soil where an underground pipeline was buried.

Terminal employees removed 40 cubic yards of “petroleum contaminated soils,” according to a report filed by BP with the state, and recorded benzene on site at levels as high as 81 ppb. Groundwater samples showed even higher concentrations: 12,000 ppb.

State regulators found such pollution “exceeds our ‘trigger’ levels,” a 1991 letter to the company states, and requested further action.

Under Georgia law, the company was required to develop what the EPD calls a “corrective action plan,” which, among other things, would have delineated the terminal’s benzene plume, as well as identified nearby public water wells.

In a 1991 reply, BP promised the EPD it would file its plan in four months.

Nine years later — after the McElheneys had tested their well water and the EPD had issued a 2000 citation against BP for failing to submit a “timely” corrective action plan — the company finally carried out that requirement, records show.

BP, in charge of the terminal’s daily operations, declined to comment for this article. At different times, Unocal, Louis Dreyfus Energy and TransMontaigne have been BP’s partners at the site. TransMontaigne, its current partner, did not respond to repeated emails and phone calls. TransMontaigne purchased Louis Dreyfus Energy in 1998. Chevron, which merged with Unocal in 2005, declined to comment.

Today, state regulators attribute their own delay in cracking down on the diesel leak to an internal debate over which EPD division had authority over the terminal’s benzene contamination — its underground storage tank program, which has purview over the pipeline; or, its hazardous waste branch. For years, compliance officers in that branch, along with their counterparts at the EPA, had been monitoring the facility’s practice of dumping benzene-laced wastewater on site — a practice later confirmed by terminal employees in court depositions.

In 1990, the EPA issued new rules classifying benzene as hazardous waste and requiring bulk-oil terminals to have permits for discharging the “bottoms water” in petroleum tanks. This wastewater can become tainted by the chemical when mixed with gasoline. Rather than treat the water, Southeast Terminals funneled it through an “oil/water separator” to skim off fuel, and then dumped it into a ditch on the ground.

Company records at the time show that terminal supervisors admitted they drained the wastewater “direct into streams” or “a dike area which eventually drains offsite into a stream.”

“I remember thinking, ‘They have to stop this practice,’” said John Williams, an EPD environmental specialist who inspected the terminal in 1993 and documented the dumping.

Three months later, the EPD issued a notice of violation against Southeast Terminals, forcing supervisors to test the bottoms water. Regulators found benzene at levels four times greater than the legal limit of 0.5 ppb, prompting the EPA to take action.

“We saw an issue there,” said Darryl Hines, of the EPA’s regional office in Atlanta, explaining why officials initiated a 1997 civil enforcement action against the facility.

In its complaint, the EPA accused BP and then-partner Louis Dreyfus Energy of violating federal hazardous-waste law — disposing waste without a permit, and failing to categorize it as hazardous. The agency ordered the companies to shut down the oil/water separator, and implement a plan addressing “any groundwater contamination.”

By the time Jarrett developed leukemia a year later, the EPA had negotiated a settlement with the companies and laid out a series of requirements for cleaning up the benzene. Without admitting fault, BP and Louis Dreyfus agreed to spend at least $100,000 to remove leaking underground pipelines and install above-ground infrastructure. They also paid a penalty of $15,000.

When BP finally filed its long-delayed action plan, it revealed the presence of what EPD project officer Calvin Jones described as a “dissolved hydrocarbon” plume containing benzene — “a bigger problem than we had thought.” The chemical, concentrated at 500 ppb and counting, had spread beyond the immediate spill areas. Of greater concern to regulators, the plan identified “free product” in groundwater.

“There was actually gasoline floating on the water,” explained Jones, of the EPD’s underground storage tank program, who oversaw the facility’s protracted cleanup. Referring to gasoline’s ability to dissolve in water, he said, “You can’t get higher concentrations of benzene … than free product.”

Despite a decade-long cleanup — 35.2 million gallons of contaminated groundwater and 1,009 pounds of benzene were collected — the chemical still saturates much of the nearly 19-acre Southeast Terminals site, records show. Last year, the EPD issued a letter declaring “no further action required,” which released the companies from remediation. At the time, the state-sanctioned benzene count remained at 1,440 ppb.

Over the years, enforcement records show, company consultants and regulators alike have tried to trace the path of the wastewater at the terminal. One company analysis details a trail beginning at the property line and then spilling into adjacent woods before hitting a tributary. Another document, produced by the EPA, depicts the discharge as moving offsite through woods and into a resident’s backyard.

“It’s where the drainage flows,” said Jeffrey Pallas, deputy director of the agency’s hazardous waste division in Atlanta, who oversaw the case against BP and Louis Dreyfus, explaining that the document, complete with photographs, was only intended to verify the hazardous-waste law violations.

“We cannot substantiate from the documentation we have that the benzene left the site,” he said.

Seeking accountability

The McElheneys have seen the evidence they need to connect Southeast Terminals to the benzene in the Oakwood well — and Jarrett’s suffering. They believe all the state and federal enforcement actions have yielded few consequences for the facility’s owners. If Jarrett hadn’t gotten sick, they say, they might never have known about the benzene hazard. “The companies would have paid off their small fines,” Jill said, “and nobody would have been the wiser.”

Seeking some accountability, the family filed a lawsuit three years ago against BP, TransMontaigne and seven other previous owners, alleging that the “illegal discharge and release of toxic chemicals” at Southeast Terminals contaminated the surrounding environment and caused Jarrett to develop leukemia.

In court filings, the companies denied the allegations and dismissed any link between benzene and childhood leukemia. Last year, defense lawyers invoked a familiar tactic: They cited the Pyatt review to support their claims that the chemical couldn’t have caused Jarrett’s illness. The family recently has agreed on a settlement in principle and is working toward resolving the litigation.

“I thought, ‘This is par for the course,’” said Jill, who has read some of the industry documents uncovered by the lawsuit. “The oil industry has fought regulations and lawsuits for workers and adults. Now they’re going to do it with children.”

Jarrett is now a slight, reserved 20-year-old in remission. He remembers his bout with leukemia through a child’s eyes — the “really cool” ambulance rides, the nurses with coloring books, swinging golf clubs in hospital hallways. “I remember being stuck over and over again by needles” while getting a bone-marrow aspiration or a chest catheter or countless blood draws, he said. “But it wasn’t until much later I realized what happened to me didn’t happen to other kids.”

Today, he has had to grapple with cancer’s lasting effects — the feebleness, and the fatigue — as well as its lingering fears. As a leukemia survivor, he is at risk for developing osteoporosis, cataracts, or even another cancer. Sitting in an Olive Garden in Athens, sandwiched between his parents, Jarrett came across as exceedingly shy, uncomfortable in the limelight. Often, his parents did the speaking for him.

Moments earlier, Jill had explained how leukemia had changed her son, taken an emotional toll.

“He had a really loud voice as a toddler but that voice has mellowed,” she said. “I’ll take that voice over anything.”

Maryam Jameel contributed to this story.

Click on the link below to access the original article at the Center for Public Integrity

http://www.publicintegrity.org/2014/12/08/16356/new-battlefront-petrochemical-industry-benzene-and-childhood-leukemia

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Scientists discover DNA body clock

Newly discovered mechanism could help researchers understand ageing process and lead to ways of slowing it down.

by Ian Sample, science correspondent

A US scientist has discovered an internal body clock based on DNA that measures the biological age of our tissues and organs.

The clock shows that while many healthy tissues age at the same rate as the body as a whole, some of them age much faster or slower. The age of diseased organs varied hugely, with some many tens of years “older” than healthy tissue in the same person, according to the clock.

Researchers say that unravelling the mechanisms behind the clock will help them understand the ageing process and hopefully lead to drugs and other interventions that slow it down.

Therapies that counteract natural ageing are attracting huge interest from scientists because they target the single most important risk factor for scores of incurable diseases that strike in old age.

“Ultimately, it would be very exciting to develop therapy interventions to reset the clock and hopefully keep us young,” said Steve Horvath, professor of genetics and biostatistics at the University of California in Los Angeles.

Horvath looked at the DNA of nearly 8,000 samples of 51 different healthy and cancerous cells and tissues. Specifically, he looked at how methylation, a natural process that chemically modifies DNA, varied with age.

Horvath found that the methylation of 353 DNA markers varied consistently with age and could be used as a biological clock. The clock ticked fastest in the years up to around age 20, then slowed down to a steadier rate. Whether the DNA changes cause ageing or are caused by ageing is an unknown that scientists are now keen to work out.

“Does this relate to something that keeps track of age, or is a consequence of age? I really don’t know,” Horvath told the Guardian. “The development of grey hair is a marker of ageing, but nobody would say it causes ageing,” he said.

The clock has already revealed some intriguing results. Tests on healthy heart tissue showed that its biological age – how worn out it appears to be – was around nine years younger than expected. Female breast tissue aged faster than the rest of the body, on average appearing two years older.

Diseased tissues also aged at different rates, with cancers speeding up the clock by an average of 36 years. Some brain cancer tissues taken from children had a biological age of more than 80 years.

“Female breast tissue, even healthy tissue, seems to be older than other tissues of the human body. That’s interesting in the light that breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. Also, age is one of the primary risk factors of cancer, so these types of results could explain why cancer of the breast is so common,” Horvath said.

Healthy tissue surrounding a breast tumour was on average 12 years older than the rest of the woman’s body, the scientist’s tests revealed.

Writing in the journal Genome Biology, Horvath showed that the biological clock was reset to zero when cells plucked from an adult were reprogrammed back to a stem-cell-like state. The process for converting adult cells into stem cells, which can grow into any tissue in the body, won the Nobel prize in 2012 for Sir John Gurdon at Cambridge University and Shinya Yamanaka at Kyoto University.

“It provides a proof of concept that one can reset the clock,” said Horvath. The scientist now wants to run tests to see how neurodegenerative and infectious diseases affect, or are affected by, the biological clock.

“These data could prove valuable in furthering our knowledge of the biological changes that are linked to the ageing process,” said Veryan Codd, who works on the effects of biological ageing in cardiovascular disease at Leicester University. “It will be important to determine whether the accelerated ageing, as described here, is associated with other age-related diseases and if it is a causal factor in, or a consequence of, disease development.

“As more data becomes available, it will also be interesting to see whether a similar approach could identify tissue-specific ageing signatures, which could also prove important in disease mechanisms,” she added.

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NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE and AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY: Criminal Indifference to Cancer Prevention and Conflicts of Interest by Samuel S Epstein, M.D.

The Public Remains Uninformed of Escalating Incidence if Childhood Cancer and Its Avoidable Causes.

From 1975 to 2000, the incidence of childhood cancer has escalated to alarming proportions, warned the Cancer Prevention Coalition’s in its May 2003 report, “The Stop Cancer Before It Starts Campaign.” Childhood cancers have increased by 32% overall to 9,000 annually: acute lymphocytic leukemia, 57%; brain cancer, 50%; kidney cancer, 48%; and bone cancer, 29%. Childhood cancer is their number one killer, with 1,500 deaths annually, second only to accidents.

The NCI and the American Cancer Society (ACS) have failed to inform the public of the increasing incidence of childhood cancer, Furthermore, the NCI claims that “the causes of childhood cancers are largely unknown.” This is contrary to substantial scientific evidence on their avoidable causes, the wide range of carcinogens to which fetuses, infants, and children are exposed and their much greater vulnerability than adults. Additionally, most carcinogens cause other toxic effects hormonal or endocrine disruptive, neurological, and immunological.

Avoidable carcinogenic exposures of the fetus, infants, and children fall into three categories:

1. Environmental and Occupational

– Pesticides:contaminants in drinking water; urban spraying; uses in schools, including wood playground sets treated with chromated copper arsenate.
– Petrochemical and other industrial pollutants: atmospheric emissions; contaminants in drinking water. – Combustion pollutants: power plants; incinerator stacks; diesel exhaust.
– Radioactive pollutants: atmospheric emissions from nuclear energy plants; contaminants in drinking water.
– Occupational carcinogens: parental exposures during pregnancy.

2. Domestic/Household

– Pesticides: uses in the home, lawn, and pet flea collars; contaminants in nonorganic food.
– Ingredients and contaminants in lotions and shampoos.
– Residence near: hazardous waste sites; chemical and power plant municipal incinerators.

3. Medical

– Radiation: diagnostic X-rays in late pregnancy; high dose radiation CAT scans of infants and children.
– Pediatric prescription drugs: Lindane shampoos; Ritalin, for treatment of attention deficit disorder.
– Drugs prescribed during pregnancy: the estrogenic DES; the anti-epileptic Dilantin.

NCI’s silence on such causes of childhood cancer violates the charge of the 1971 National Cancer Act, launching President Nixon’s War against Cancer “to disseminate cancer information to the public.” This silence is also contrary to NCI’s 1998 Congressional testimony that it had developed a public registry of avoidable carcinogens. Not surprisingly, the media remain as uninformed as the public. An April 1, 2003, New York Times article, “Success Stories Abound in Efforts to Prevent and Control Cancer,” stated that while amazing progress has been made in treating childhood cancers, “their causes remain a mystery.”

Besides the NCI silence on avoidable causes of childhood cancer, it has failed to provide scientific guidance to regulatory agencies as reflected in their inconsistent and questionable policies. This is illustrated in the well-intentioned current proposal of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Environmental Protection Agency to develop new guidelines for regulating risks from Early-Life Exposure to Carcinogens.

The minimal priorities of NCI for research and providing the public with information on avoidable causes of childhood cancer reflect imbalanced policies and not lack of resources. NCI’s annual budget has increased some 25-fold, from $200 million to $5.2 billion, since passage of the 1971 National Cancer Act. NCI expenditures on prevention of avoidable causes of cancer have been estimated as under 4% of its budget.

pages 11 – 13

The links below provide additional information and book purchasing information

NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE and AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY: Criminal Indifference to Cancer Prevention and Conflicts of Interest by Samuel S Epstein, M.D.

http://www.amazon.com/NATIONAL-CANCER-INSTITUTE-AMERICAN-SOCIETY/dp/1462861342

http://www.preventcancer.com/consumers/

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Privatization of the National Cancer Program – An Excerpt – National Cancer Institute and American Cancer Society: Criminal Indifference to Cancer Prevention and Conflicts of Interest by Samuel S. Epstein

Privatization of the National Cancer Program

In 1998, ACS created and funded the National Dialogue on Cancer (NCD), co-chaired by former President George Bush and Barbara Bush. Included were a wide range of cancer survivor groups, some one hundred representatives of the cancer drug industry, and Shandwick International PR, whose major clients include RJ Reynolds Tobacco Holdings.

Without informing NCD’s participants and behind closed doors, ACS spun off a small legislative committee. Its explicit objective was to advise Congress on the need to replace the 1971 National Cancer Act with a new National Cancer Control Act, which would shift major control of cancer policy from the NCI to the ACS. The proposed Act would also increase NCI funding from this year’s $4.6 billion to $14 billion by 2007. The ACS was assisted by Shandwick in drafting the new Act besides managing the NDC.

Subsequent to von Eschenbach’s appointment, NDC was spun off into a nonprofit organization. NDC then hired Edelman, another tobacco PR firm, following a pledge that it would sever its relations with the industry. Edelman represents the Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company and the Altria Group, the parent company of Philip Morris, the nation’s biggest cigarette maker; Edelman also represents Kraft and other fast-food and beverage companies now targeted by antiobesity litigation. Edelman is also a board member of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Foundation, which fosters relations between the centers, ACS, and the NCI. Edelman has thus become firmly embedded in national cancer policy making. In July 2003, it was discovered that Edelman had reneged on its pledge and was continuing to fight tobacco control programs from its overseas offices. Attempting damage control, Edelman claimed that this was just an oversight. Once more, it agreed to terminate tobacco support programs and to donate this income to charity.

Equally disturbing was the growing secretive collaboration between the NCI and the ACS-NDC complex as revealed in the August 2003 Cancer Letter. The latest example was the planned privatization of cancer drug trials together with the creation of a massive tumor tissue bank. This would have cost between $500 million and $1.2 billion to operate apart from construction costs in the billions. This initiative would be privatized, rife with conflicts of interest, exempt from provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee and Freedom of Information Acts and free from federal technology transfer regulations.

page 16 – 17

For more information on this critically important book and to purchase a copy please click on the link below.


National Cancer Institute and American Cancer Society: Criminal Indifference to Cancer Prevention and Conflicts of Interest by Samuel S. Epstein


http://www.samuelsepstein.com/

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Childhood Cancers – An Excerpt – Chemical Carcinogenesis And Cancers by W.C. Hueper, M.D. (Chief Environment Cancer Section of National Cancer Institute) & W.D. Conway, PhD (Former Senior Chemist Environmental Cancer Section of National Cancer Institute) – 1964

d. Childhood Cancers

The observed rise in cancers during childhood may finally be cited as another illustration of the changing epidemiologic cancer panorama which may reflect the influence of the growing chemicalization of the human economy and its pollution with carcinogenic chemicals. Childhood cancers arising on an exogenous basis may have their origin from two sources. Carcinogens may be introduced into the fetal organism through a transplacental penetration of carcinogens with which the maternal organism came in contact before or during pregnancy (Hueper). Such exposures may result in the development of cancers as well as of “congenital” malformations in the offspring, according to observations made in experimental animals with various chemical carcinogens (ionizing radiation, thiouracil, methycholanthrene, urethane, selenium, 2-acetylaminfluorene, trypan blue) (Shay et al.; Nurnberger and Lipscomb; Porteous; Williams and Schrum; Dargeon; Saye, Watt, Foushee and Palmer; Wilson et al.; Wilson, Brent, and Jordon; Russell and Russell; Danforth; Schinz and Fritz-Niggli; Aaron et al.; Nishimura and Kiginuki; Gruenwald; Hisaoka; Ford, Paterson, and Treuting; Holmberg, Nelson and Wallgren; Manning and Carroll; Peller; Stewart, Webb, Giles and Hewitt; Wilson; Gillman et al.; Larsen). The co-existence of mongolism and leukemia increasingly reported in recent years may be one of the associations related to such transplacental action of carcinogens. (Ingalls; Steyn; O’Connor et al.; Fischler and Farchy; Schunk and Lehman).

Chemicals which modify the mitotic process should primarily be suspected as teratogenic and cancerigenic agents (Steyn; Lawrence and Donlan; Stewart and Barber; Tuchmann-Duplessis and Mercier-Parot).

The second route by which carcinogens are transferred from the mother to the child is through the milk. Many chemicals, including carcinogenic ones (arsenicals, goitrogenic chemicals, chloroform, methylcholanthrene, DDT isoniazid, sulfonamides, radioactive chemicals, mouse milk factor) are excreted with the milk (Clements; Briziarelli; Dao et al.; Sapeika; Shay et al.; Rieben and Druey). The production of cancers in the suckling offspring of mothers excreting such carcinogens with the milk has been reported. Conditions prevailing in modern postnatal life provide for infants an increasingly common contact with environmental and especially dietary, sanitary, and medicinal carcinogenic factors of various types (radioactive chemicals, waxes in milk, and mineral oil in vaccines, x-radiation, etc) sustained by the very young may be of especially serious significance as to the subsequent development of cancers in later life, because observations made recently on newborn animals have shown that such very young animals react with cancerous responses to much smaller doses of carcinogens than adult animals (Pietra et al.; Svec and Hlavayova; Roe et al.; Stich; Kelly and O’Gara; Fiore-Donati et al.; Smith and Rous; Poel and Kammer; Lijinsky; Boutwell and Bosch).

The recent increase in frequency of cancers in infants and children is strikingly illustrated by the fact that twenty years ago cancer was not listed among the ten most frequent causes of death in children, while it has become now the third most frequent cause among children one to four years of age (Ariel and Pack). During 1954 to 1956, the cancer death rate among white males rose from 9.2 per 100,000 population under age one, to 12.7 of the same number. Kiesewetter and Mason quoted statistical data of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare as showing that in 1945 cancers accounted for 6.9 per cent of all deaths in children under fourteen years of age, while they formed 8.3 per cent of the causes of death among children in 1955. This percentage stood at 7.3 in 1948 (Andersen). Similar observations have been recorded in England (Campbell, Gaisford, Paterson and Steward; Brown and Doll). Apart from chemical factors, genetic influence as well as prenatal and postnatal exposures to ionizing radiation have been considered as possible causes of this development (Stewart and Barber). The importance of carcinogenic exposures sustained before puberty in the development of cancers later in life are indicated by the suggestion of Kennaway and Kennaway that cancers of the stomach are arising after the second twenty-five years of life may be predestined to occur by factors to which the body was exposed during the first twenty-five years. The existence of such time-relations between exposure to a carcinogen (smegma) during the first few years of life and the appearance of penile cancer in adult life is well established (Kennaway).

These observations and considerations supply a substantial scientific basis for the assumption that exposures of pregnant mothers and infants to environmental carcinogenic chemicals, including radioactive agents, sustained to an increasing degree during recent decades, are at least in part, responsible for the observed rise in cancers and especially leukemias, in childhood (Kiesewetter and Mason; Dargeon; Andersen; Ariel and Pack; Stewart and Barber; Burnett; Brown and Doll; Campbell, Gaisford, Paterson and Steward).

pages 158 – 160

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