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History repeats itself when lessons are not learned.

“The whole propaganda weight of the Scherl newspaper and news agency combine, controlled by Ruhr industrialists, was thrown into the political scales in Hitler’s favor.”

“Of all the volumes that have been written on Nazi Germany, I know of but a very few which have properly interpreted that political phenomenon. The best, in my opinion, is Frederic L. Schumann’s The Nazi Dictatorship, published long before the present war. Most of the others have accepted the very name of the present German State, National Socialism, the most ridiculous and devoid of content of all the concepts of Nazi ideology—as a real representation of what Hitlerism is. They have accepted Nazism as a form of Socialism. They have also accepted the Nazi revolution as a bona fide Revolution. In actual fact, Nazism is the most reactionary and vicious form of capitalism that has ever existed, and Hitler has destroyed systematically every element in his state which was, in any degree, revolutionary.

A revolution, as that term has customarily been used in history, is something which, however horrible and destructive in may be in practice, is progressive in idea. Hitlerism has been retrogressive. Hitler has turned back the clock of social history backwards; his ship of state has ridden the wave, not of the future, but of the blackest past.

Revolution means nothing if it does not mean an overthrow of existing rulers of a society by the ruled-over elements of that society. The existence of those two social factors in that particular relation has characterized every revolution to which history has given the name: the French Revolution, the American, Russian, and Mexican Revolutions. Revolution also means a vast, sweeping change of a whole system of society. Nazism possesses neither of those two requisite features.

The rulers of German society not only did not struggle against the Nazi rise to power in the early 1930’s; they suborned, abetted, and aided Hitler to gain power with all their vast resources of money and influence—a strange manner of revolution, indeed! And, contrary to the views of the majority of observers, Nazism was not a vast social change. Superficially, things appeared to be altered: people were put in gay uniforms; there were new salutes and a new flag, and new, but empty ideas—empty baubles on a highly and cheaply decorated Christmas tree meant to hide, by its brightness, the basis of corrupt German society which Hitler left intact. The only actual change that occurred with the rise of Hitlerism consisted in this: the old, corrupt system of acquisition was dying, and Hitler was called upon—and he and his followers were ready to accept their historical assignment—to save that moribund society by reinforcing its most unsalutary features and crushing all opposition to unlimited militarism, by which, alone, his system could be preserved for any period of time. The only new feature the Nazis introduced was a set of measures to make permanent the existing basis of society possessed before 1933. To use a simile applied by one acute observer, Hitler locked himself and the German ruling classes in the top storey of society and threw the key out the window.

Compare the Russian with the so-called Hitler Revolution. The Bolsheviks never called on the Tsarist rulers for aid; and never got anything from them save opposition as ruthless as their own. Hitler not only called on Germany’s wealthiest families, but received generous gifts of millions of marks. The whole propaganda weight of the Scherl newspaper and news agency combine, controlled by Ruhr industrialists, was thrown into the political scales in Hitler’s favor. Dr. Dietrich in his little volume Met Hitler an die Macht, relates how the Fuehrer, addressing a luncheon meeting of Germany’s biggest capitalists in Dusseldorf before the Machtuebernahme, outlined to them the danger to their society, told them what he could do to save it and melted their solid gold hearts into a flow of funds for the Nazi party. Dr. Dietrich tells, with surprise, that these hard-fisted men whose hearts, one would have thought, were in their pocketbooks, mellowed and softened under the Leader’s words, and, at the end, applauded thunderously.

Whether one likes it or not, the Bolsheviks came to power on the shoulders of the working classes of Russia. When foreign nations intervened and occupied Vladivostock and, after arresting all active reds and banning Communists from the polls, held a “free” election to allow the people of that city to choose its own government, the results showed a Communist majority over the combined votes of all the legal parties which participated! Also, whether one likes it or not, the Nazis came to power against the will and violent opposition of the German working class which acted with singular unity at the last, late moment. Too many observers have allowed themselves to be fooled by the fact that, for reasons of expediency, Hitler chose to call his party the National Socialist German Workers Party. In the last partially free elections to the Reichstag in Germany in 1933, the two working class parties presented a solid phalanx and balloted 40 per cent of the votes, against Hitler. One of the two working class parties, the Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands achieved the highest representation in the Reichstag it had ever enjoyed—one hundred deputies. And this was after the Brown Terror had begun; when a working man took his own life in his hands by voting against the new dictator! Hitler did not, and—I am convinced of it after living in Germany for two war years—has not yet won the German workers to his cause. In the year 1940, after eight years of Nazi rule, a German S.S. man I knew told me there was but one dull element in National Socialism’s bright, triumphant perspective at that moment (this was just after France had fallen and Nazism was enjoying its happiest period). That, he said, was the German workers. They were following, but reluctantly. They do not believe it can last, he said, and if we ever slip badly they’ve got “their damned red flag hanging over our heads.”

When the Bolsheviks achieved power they did so by the ruthless suppression of every agency supporting the old order. They destroyed all capitalist institutions. They placed all factories in the hands of the state and forbade the issue of dividends to private individuals. They made Trade Unions the almighty dictators over the Russian economic state. When Hitler came to power, he destroyed the Trade Unions and the workers’ political parties; confiscated their funds and shot or imprisoned their leaders. The funds he confiscated were used, indirectly, to buy armaments and to pay profits to his wealthy supporters. The economic history of Nazism ever since has been, in plain language, the systematic confiscation of workers’ incomes to pay profits to the owners of material Germany. As for the principal institutions supporting the old order, the industrialists’ associations, which were formed long ago to keep prices up, he either maintained them as they were or allowed them to reform themselves into more powerful capitalists’ combines—indeed, the most powerful capitalists’ combines that have ever existed in any nation in history. What elements of Socialism existed before Hitler assumed power, he abolished. The few shares of private industry which the former Social Democratic government’s weak attempt at socialization was a monetary gain, good business for the industrialists who had been the target of the Socialist attack.

Many people maintain Hitlerism is a form of Socialism are willing to admit that Hitler came to power with the aid of the wealthy, and favoured them at first; but, they say, digging themselves in the traditional last ditch, Hitler has, since that time duped them. He deceived his wealthy supporters, and instituted something entirely new, neither Capitalism nor Imperialism, but an oppressive form of state which is oppressive to capital and labour alike. In truth, what Hitler has instituted is just as new as the Old Army Game. Hitler’s government is shot through with the representatives of wealth. Goering dictates to the economic state, but Goering, himself, has become an economic royalist in the bountiful Nazi decade and receives his advice as to what measures must be adopted from several dozen boards, representing each big industry, and each board is made up of the men who live on profits from those industries. Walther Funk wears a brown coat and a military cap, rather than the traditional civilian array of the plutocrat, people are inclined to think of him as a party functionary rather than, what he is first and above all, a man born and bred in the atmosphere of profit making ownership.

The only basis on which to judge the relative oppression of the two social classes by National Socialism is the manner in which German national wealth has been, and is, distributed between the two said classes, one of which lives by its labour, and the other by its ownership. The individual incomes of workers have fallen each year of Hitler’s rule, and fallen severely. Nazi statistics on this matter are faked, but even on the grounds of Nazi statistics the real wages of workers have fallen. Money wages have been frozen or lowered, since 1933, and the prices of the goods workers can buy with them have risen without interruption. A better way of determining the same development is simply to ask Germans. In the course of the past two years in Germany I have, inevitably, talked to thousands of German workers in taverns, in tubes, trams, and in offices, and without a single exception, I have never heard of a case in which a worker’s real income has risen. They all agree, even a few workers who claim to be Nazis, that what they get to eat and wear with their wages is less and worse than before 1933. Even the little bureaucrats in Dr. Goebbels’ propaganda ministry testify to the same fact; they are all miserably under-paid. Dr. Froelich, who bears the high sounding title of Referant for the American Press and Radio in the Propaganda Ministry, was paid a salary lower than that of an office-boy in the editorial office of the United Press—an American concern. There cannot be the slightest doubt about it that the wages of German workers have fallen each year of Hitler’s rule, and are nor unbelievably low.

The Nazi indices for the earnings of capital, on the other hand, on the other hand, show a steady rise since 1933. Both, the figures for total net profits for major industries as published in the magazine of Reichmarshal Goering, Der Vierjahreplan, and the index for the average value of all German stocks and shares as published in the industrial periodical Der Deutsche Volkswirt show falling profits and share-values from 1929 until 1933, when Hitler came to power, and from then on an unbroken rise. If Hitler had duped his benefactors, it has been for them, indeed, a pleasant manner of deception. It is a strange form of oppressing wealth which allows the oppressed owners of mills, mines, and factories to earn more and more each year, and even, as in the case of Krupp works, to reach and break records for annual profits, while the standard of living for the other ninety-eight per cent of the population falls precipitately. Of course there is always the argument which admits that German capitalists make egregious profits, but maintains all these profits are taken away in taxes. Since the people who determine the tax scale are the representatives of the fattest, richest banks in Germany, which in turn, are owned body and soul by the arms-makers, this is obviously false on the surface. Did you ever hear of a man granted the power of making out his own tax returns gypping himself? Anyhow, the above facts are based on statistics of Reingwinn: pure profits after taxes have been extracted from profits; and nevertheless the munitions factories break records! Of course, after the pure profits are turned into dividends and made the private funds of individuals they are taxed as private incomes. But a member of the American embassy once worked out a schedule for me to show conclusively that plutocratic American capitalists pay more taxes per unit of income than German capitalists who are supposed to be fighting plutocracy. Furthermore, those funds which are taken from the German industrialists in taxes go to pay the same industrialists for more arms. Germany is good business—for millionaires.

There is no denial of the fact that Nazism was and is a retrogression, not a revolution; it is not socialism, but a form of capitalism that is virtually feudalistic in the safeguards granted to and preserved for the wealthy, as well as in the total servitude it demands of those who possess nothing but their hands and brains to work with. These great “warriors against plutocracy” have established one of the best protected plutocracies any nation or civilization has ever known. I am not, here, exploiting the theory that Hitler is a will-less puppet of the German capitalists. It is not nearly so simple as that. That is an over-simplification and it is untrue. Hitler rules, and there is no doubt about it. But no man can govern alone, for it is humanly impossible for a single man to run a whole state. He governs with the aid of governors and bureaucrats who agree heartily with him, and they are the wealthy families of Germany. Hitler is president of a board of directors which runs Germany, and each member of the board is, by birth, as Krupp and von Borsig, or by party influence, as Goering and Ley, a member of that class of German society which has a stake in the game of Profit-making, and stands to lose by higher wages and labour costs.

If the point can be considered established, then a concession can safely be made: though the net effect of Hitlerism has been retrogressive rather than revolutionary, there was indubitably one revolutionary feature in the rise of National Socialism. That feature was the rise of the German petty bourgeoisie; the irrepressible Kleinbuergertum, the middle classes of the little shopkeepers, white-collar clerks and bureaucrats and a goodly portion of the unprosperous professional classes.

Lodged uncomfortably between the upper and the nether millstones of society, the great middle-classes were being painfully ground in the depressed years from 1929 to 1933. They were crying for organized leadership; they were God’s gift to a clever, unscrupulous demagogue. They were begging for leadership, for a little colour to brighten their dull lives, and for rescue from extinction, and History gave them a Man and a Platform. Hitler promised death to the proletarian left wing with its trade unions which kept wages and labour costs above the head of the pinched independent shopkeeper, and made prices for their goods higher. He promised to bridle the wealthy right-wing privilege, to break the Zinsknecht-schaft, the slavery of interest, and make capital flow more easily to the small shops and stores. And he promised death to the Jew, who was, to the German middle-classes, the symbol of the prosperity they envied.

Nazism was Spiessbuergertum in Revolt, the Timid Soul in shining armor. There had been revolutions for Capitalists, and Revolutions of the Proletariat, but there has never been a Revolution of the middle classes, and the attraction of the idea was overwhelming to Germany’s millions of Little Men. Those were the days when Hitler was still called the Apotheosis of the Little Man. It was their Revolution, and they carried their Leader—who in his very personal appearance was another prosaic, ordinary exemplar of each of them—to power on a wave of middle-class enthusiasm.

The financial basis of the Nazi ascension was the rich privileged class. Its main basis, and its revolutionary impetus, however, came from the middle classes. The little men also furnished it with its Army—proudest element in Hitler’s little state within a state, the colorful, exciting Storm Troops, who beat up the Jews and the Communists and “freed the streets” in Germany cities, in outright armed political warfare. The generals of the Brown Army of the shopkeepers and clerks were Hitler’s war comrades, young men who grew up in World War, whose minds were warped by war, and who were utterly worthless for anything else. They were the neurotic lost generation who suffered torture worse than death when the only element of excitement in their lives, the Army, was taken away from there by Versailles, and the trend of German opinion, after the revolution, turned against militarism. Ernst Roehm, their psychopathic, homosexual commander-in-chief was leader and prototype at once. To this uninformed body flocked the sons of the middle classes, bored, suffering from personal and national inferiority complexes, thirsty for colour and excitement, and they learned well the precepts of their warped generals and idols. It was organized Rowdyism, it was tough and ruthless, but it was truly the vanguard of the middle-class revolution, the Army of the Middle Class state.

When Hitler won, they were content with the world, and sat back to watch the realization of their hopes, the materialization of the first State founded on a Dictatorship of the “small” Buerger. Results were swift in coming, satisfactory beyond expectations. The Fuehrer eliminated the proletarian Left from politics in a series of lightening, dramatic blows, and with incredible ease: the Reichstag fire brought an end of legal Communism, the imprisonment of its leaders and the crippling of the movement for evermore. By next May Day, the Day of Labour, the Socialists too, had been eliminated, and with them their Trade Unions. Wages were henceforth at the mercy of Dr. Robert Ley, of the middle classes, and of the big industrialists, who enjoyed a community of interests with the Little Men on this particular economic question. In the National cabinet, one portfolio after another was given to brown-uniformed Party men, or their present holders were forced to don brown uniforms and administer their offices according to the interests of the Kleinbuergertum.

Now, in every society the two most important elements are Wealth and Force. Those who own much and have great resources can deal out favours and exercise most influence. It is almost proverbial that power goes with ownership, and always has in the history of Society. As for the second element, it is the ultimate authority in every State. A legislature is no good if it has no force to back up its authority. And whosoever controls the Armed Forces of a nation can also control the nation itself on assuming power. Hitler systematically shoved the representatives of the Little Men into almost every phase of government. But precisely these two he did not grant them. The middle classes did not even get a smell of real economic power. His economic state Hitler shaped in the form of twelve Wirtschaftsgruppen, each “corporation” possessing dictatorial powers of life and death over the industry concerned; the fixing of prices, the granting of raw material import licenses, and export subsidies—all decisive factors in the ultimate economic function of a state: the determination of how the nation’s wealth, and the power that goes with wealth, shall be shared. The administrators of each Gruppe were the wealthiest capitalists in the particular industry it wealth with. In short, the wealthy were made supreme judges in their own case. Such change as this signified was not revolutionary change in favour of the rising middle classes, but reactionary change in favour of those who already ruled economic Germany: the top storey and the key out the window.

Nor did the Brown Army achieve its coveted destiny of becoming and controlling the Armed Forces of the nation. The army, which Hitler set about rejuvenating and expanding, remained in the hands of the old Prussian caste, the military counterpart of the wealthy dictators of German economic life.

The Little People enjoyed the spectacle of apparent gains in certain phases of power, but the promised millennium was not immediate. In fact, events took the opposite direction from what they had hoped. The more prosperous shops were taken from Jews in stages, but only to be co-ordinated into the Wirtschaft combines. What the independent shopkeepers really disliked was not that the big stores were run by Jews, but that their competitive strength was so enormous that the little shopkeepers could not vie with them, and this feature was not changed except in so far as it was reinforced to the disadvantage of the little men. Wholesale prices, which the little men paid for the commodities they retailed, did not fall with lowered labour costs, but rose with bigger profits for the big men, and higher government taxes to build up the army. The middle classes were disappointed, and did not hide the fact.

Discontent among the masses usually first overtly expresses itself in the deflection of a section of their leaders. The first overt indication of the disappointment of the small Buerger in Germany was the deflection of Otto Strasser, one of the Nazi Party’s big numbers, and an ardent believer in middle-class socialism. Strasser broke with Hitler and fled the country. A more serious indication was the projected “revolt” of Ernst Roehm, leader of the Storm Troops, in 1934, which called forth the “blood surge” of the Brown Army. Although the “revolt” apparently did not correspond to the lurid accounts in preparation for it which the Nazis issued to the world, it is generally accepted that the elements of a revolt were there. There was certainly no plan to liquidate the beloved Fuehrer, but there is no doubt that disgruntled Storm-troop leaders hoped to eliminate many of Hitler’s direct underlings, on whom they blamed the deception from which they suffered.

The Roehm affair was more than a weather-vane of disappointment; it also marked a milestone in Nazi history. It was the first and last revolt of the middle classes. After the blood surge, which crippled the basis of what Force the Little Men had on their side, the revolutionary element of Nazism, its program for the Little Men, entered on a long decline. The existence of the Kleinbuergertum, as reasonably independent economic elements, grew more precarious each year. The chain-stores increased in power and became ubiquitous; Aryans enjoyed far more rigid monopolies in the retail trade than the hated Jews had ever exercised. Many little businesses were destroyed deliberately by economic decrees issued as part of Hitler’s vast, severe rationalization program. The planning of imports to fit the arms program, banning certain imports in order to spend more of the national income on imports of war-important raw materials, eliminated the raison d’être of many. Others died because, with their own costs rising, they could not compete with the big combines. Not only small shopkeepers, but little industries suffered. According to Nazi statistics, by 1939, just before the outbreak of war, there were only half as many joint stock companies in Germany as there had been in 1933, when many had already been weeded out by depression. In Berlin, hundreds of small retail wine and liquor shops were gobbled up by a large combine which formed by the Kaiserhof Hotel under Nazi paternity.

The war, of course, only hastened this process. While big industry, the arms and chemical industries, grew bigger, wealthier and mightier, little shops and little industries have died like flies. Where death was caused before by rationalization and inability of small concerns to compete with the new large ones, it was now caused, at a swifter rate, by the calling up into the army of their owners and their few employees. Still more powerful a casual force has been the dwindling to zero, or near it, of the imports most of them depended on. The Russian war period hastened the development even more, drawing, as it did, many more men, and older men, into the armed forces, and bringing scarcities and disappearances of all kinds of retail commodities. Coupled with this came the fall in the average production of German laborers, and the need to compensate for this by increasing the quantities of workers available for industry.

The significance of this development I have tried to indicate in another part of this book. It means that the popular basis of Nazism has suffered a diminution. During the Russian period, the development gathered such speed that it assumed the proportions of a wholesale annihilation. The economic basis of the lower middle classes has been systematically carried almost to extirpation. The social strength of the whole Nazi movement was, in the beginning of that movement, the middle strata of German society, and the people of those strata were Nazis because they had roots in a particular way of life, and saw in Nazism an opportunity to preserve that way of life and make it even better for themselves. Each little family owned a little something, and looked on itself as a shareholder in the German state. But for eight years, Nazism has had the effect of gradually uprooting them from the soil of German society, setting them adrift and removing their interest in Nasism’s permanence.

Of course, membership in the middle classes is not purely an economic matter. It is also a psychological one. A little shopkeeper can lose his little shop, but still consider himself higher in the social scale that a mere wage-worker. And though he has descended to the level of a mere wage-earner, he may still act politically and socially according to that pattern of behavior which the middle classes generally follow. In every respect except as regards his economic status, he thus remains what he was before his economic status changed. Middle-Class pride, people call that. In view of this, it is perhaps even more symptomatic of how far the social mutation inside Germany has gone, that the middle-class people are ceasing to behave according to their old standards. The matter of Middle-Class Morality, that factor glorified by Shaw’s Mr. Doolittle, is a case in point already referred to. Morality has lapsed badly in Germany. Sexual license of people once proud of their respectability has virtually run the prostitutes out of business. In the place of a couple bottles of cool wine, they are guzling—the verb is properly descriptive—everything and anything they can get. The aim is not mild titillation in either case, but intense excitement; to get rip-roaring drunk and forget about the unpleasantness of reality. The shock has come too quickly and been too great for them. That is part of what I meant when I said the pretty red apple was getting rotten-ripe.

They are the only section of the German people who can truly claim to have been duped, and sadly disappointed. The nether millstone knew what was in store for it when Hitler won; and the German workers fought tooth and nail to avoid it, but unfortunately they fought in disunity until too late. The upper millstone was not duped. The hermetically sealed top caste has every reason to be satisfied with the results of Hitlerism thus far. (Uneasiness has crept into their ranks as well now, but for different reasons; but more of that in its proper place.) But the little men have been done in, and they have only just begun realizing how completely they have been done in.

The last apparent hold they had on a lever of influence, after their shops were closed and falling salaries robbed them of any economic weight, was the once glorious Brown Army. The Storm Troops were only an apparent lever, and the polish of their glory tarnished badly. The old elements had been promoted long since into the Schutzstaffel, the S.S., the Gestapo, where they could continue being aggressive and brutal to their own people, and later to other peoples. The more clever of the old Storm Troops got in the lift of economic profits and soared to the top. And the sons of the middle classes were left to their own devices in the Brown-shirted legions. The Storm Troops expanded in size, but deflated in meaning. But the Storm Troops at least continued to exist as the last symbol and the last trace of the middle class revolution.

Then, in August, last year, the axe fell. A tipster told me. He brought to me a copy of the official newspaper of the Storm Troops—the S.A. Mann. On its mast-head was the old drawing of a firm-faced, brown capped man, frowning rays of will-power and holding in his hand the great Swastika banner which the Storm Troops had carried to Power. The newspaper was dated August 22, 1941. The tipster told me this was the most remarkable edition of that newspaper that had ever been published. I looked it over, but could find only the usual emptiness, save for loud editorial boasts and one chapter of a serial novel with the words: Fortzetzung folgt—to be continued in the next issue—at the bottom. I asked him what was so sensational about it, and he told me that the serial story was not continued; the story was left hanging in mid-air. I asked him to stop being cryptic and he said what he meant was, the S.A. Mann had been banned!…

In September, I learned the official newspaper of the Storm Troops was banned for some other reason. This, a storm-trooper, a young employee in a shipping office told me, and other Nazis confirmed later. An anonymous authority, not Hitler or Viktor Lutze, the S.A. chief of staff, by name, but just an anonymous authority issued an order labelled streng geheim, strictly secret, to each district group of the Storm Troops. The order stated that the Brown Shirts were to hold no more meetings. There was to be no more drill, no more political lectures, and no future political demonstrations of any kind. The brown uniforms were henceforth to be worn only on specific orders, not at will. The man told me this, dolefully said it amounted to dissolution of the Storm Troops…. Hitler had not just bitten the hand which once fed him; he had devoured it. The middle classes were deprived of every ounce of real influence in the Nazi state, and now they were robbed of even the raiment of power. All that was revolutionary in the Nazi revolution was over for ever….

On last May Day, when rumours of a coming conflict between Germany and Russia were rife, almost every worker in the industrial suburbs of Berlin wore some spot of red in his or her clothing, in hats, in coat-lapels, etc. On the fiftieth birthday of Ernst Thaelmann, the prison farm in Hanover where he is being held, was deluged with thousands of telegrams of congratulations which people had dropped in mailboxes with money attached to pay for transmission; and the German postal authorities transmitted them! Bouquets of red roses and carnations were sent by telegraph from foreign countries, especially from Russia, and one big bouquet bore the name Molotov. Prison authorities, however, withheld all telegrams, flowers, and presents from Thaelmann except a message from Thaelmann’s wife, who lives in Berlin…..

The Little Men who realize they have become workers and nothing better are steadily increasing in number. All over Germany last year this bitter question-answer joke was circulated: what is the difference between Germany and Russia? And the answer: in Russia the weather is colder. Germans who had been told for eight years there was no slavery greater than that of Communist Russia, were telling themselves in this bit of bitter-sweet frankness that they, too, were proletarians….

“Should anyone among us,” Hitler said, “seriously hope to disturb our front—it makes no difference where he comes from or what camp he belongs to—I will keep an eye on him for a certain period. You know my methods. That is always the period of probation. But then there comes a moment when I strike like lightening and eliminate that sort of thing.”

It was then, too, that the Fuehrer declared that the Nazi organization, by which he meant the Gestapo, watches every single house and “zealously keeps watch that there shall never be another November 1918.”
The manner in which this particular speech was handled by the Propaganda Ministry and the German press is still more significant. The Fuehrer’s speech of November 8, alone of all the Leader’s addresses, was not broadcast to the German people. About six hours after the Fuehrer had spoken, the official Nazi news agency issued an expurgated, or better, a slaughtered version of the speech. The version was empty….

Almost every foreign correspondent in Berlin plagued the Propaganda Ministry with inquiries about the unusual handling of the address that evening. I telephoned twice, to beg for the actual text to use in a radio broadcast that night. In the past, the Propaganda Ministry had been all too happy to provide the texts of Hitler’s speeches. In the past, each speech had been broadcast by radio in Germany and all over the world. … But on this occasion, for the first time, the Ministry was reluctant; it had no interest. The occasion, it was said, was purely a party occasion, and the rest of the world could have little interest in what amounted to a routine meeting of party officials. Two hours after the first version was issued, a second, much fuller version was released, doubtless due to the embarrassing solicitation of the foreign correspondents. But it was obvious that there were gaps even in the second version…. it was obvious that the Fuehrer had said much more than the party authorities considered good for the world’s ears. The fact that he was speaking to old Storm-troop comrades, on a Storm-troop red-letter day indicated the theme of his expurgated remarks….

As the Russian war proceeded into winter and the bottom dropped out of the standard of living, the Nazis turned from explanatory propaganda and the fiasco of the Jewish campaign to the propaganda of Fear. Simultaneously, with this alteration in propaganda policy, the Gestapo began carrying out actual measures to meet revolt, to make certain as possible that “another November 1918,” would not happen: Himmler who next to Goebbels is about the only big Nazi leader who concerns himself with German internal affairs any more, began taking up positions for battle. What he did was circulated over Berlin by way of rumour, apparently by the Nazis themselves, with the object of intimidating grousers; but the content of the rumour was real. The Gestapo began confiscating buildings, and setting up headquarters in purely residential districts of Berlin. The first buildings occupied were a Catholic convent in West Berlin…. In all the confiscated properties, the S.S. not only set up information headquarters, but also arsenals, storing away machine guns, small arms and ammunition. It should be noted that the confiscated rooms and buildings were all in purely residential quarters of Berlin; districts with no military importance whatever…. But I have had reports of similar wholesale seizures by the S.S. black guards in Leipzig, Dresden, Kiel, and other towns. In Berlin, it is also worth noting that almost all the confiscations I have been able to confirm occurred in the bourgeois West End, which belongs to the Kleinbuergertum as much as Wedding belongs to the working class. That may be, however, due to the fact that as early as 1933, the Gestapo had already begun building up a network of arsenals in the latter section of Berlin…

Less than a month after Hitler’s singular threat to destroy any menace to his power, his black Army, specially formed to put down civilian revolt, had donate same thing his green coated armies do when they prepare to invade a foreign victim. The confiscations, and the arsenals meant simply the Aufmarsch, the deployment of his forces for battle. Not mainly for combat against Plutocrats, or Jews, or Communists. But for eventual battle against those who called on his to save them from destruction, and whom he destroyed.

– Excerpts from the Chapter:8 The End of The Nazi Revolution.

It’s important to understand how the Council of Gods/IG Farben Directors and the Ruling Class of Germany destroyed journalism throughout Europe. Howard K. Smith explains how they destroyed journalism.

“The rotten inside is the whole fabric of Nazi society.

This is a serious statement to make. I sincerely believe that a journalist who consciously misinforms his people and allies about the state of the enemy in time of war for the sake of sensation is the second lowest type of criminal (the lowest type being anyone who profits out of arms production). I have always sought to avoid underestimating the strength of the Nazis. I refer to the internal strength of the Nazi system, which this book concerns itself with alone, not the military strength. But, with these self-imposed restrictions in mind, I am sure of what I say: Nazi society is rotten from top to bottom and in all its issues, save the strong hermetically closed hull. The people are sick of it…

Another was a crude but clever mimeographed cartoon which was secretly circulated over Berlin, showing a German propaganda soldier standing above a trench across Russian lines and holding up a big placard to the enemy which read: “Russians! You have to cease to exist!” It was signed “Dr. Dietrich.” At the moment of drawing, however, the said propaganda soldier had become involved with a Russian shell and his various members were flying in all directions. Below him in the trench a very Prussian lieutenant, who had been looking through a periscope, had turned to a quizzical general behind him and was saying: “Stupid, these Russians; they apparently don’t understand a word of German!”

Less funny, but more incisive was the little observation which might be called the “Three Climaxes of Hitler,” which circulated at the same time. It has no particular punch-line., but belongs to the same category of expression for, like them, it was always introduced with the traditional preface: “Do you know what the people are saying?…” According to this, the first climax was the climax of Diplomacy—Munich. After that diplomacy never again played an important part in Hitler’s policies; the rest was guns. The second was the military climax: the campaign in France, the perfect application of Blitzkreig with the perfect ending: the total destruction of a great army. The third was the climax of propaganda: the Dietrich speech. After Hitler’s little press chief had raised the spirits of his people to the skies and then let them fall again down into the abyss of despair Germany propaganda could never influence to any important degree the morale of the German people. From now on a wall of distrust separated the Ministry of Dr. Goebbels from his people. The shepherd boy had hollered “Wolf!” too often.

This was more than a cogent little analysis suitable for table talk. The evidence for its truth is overwhelming. The first sign was the decline in newspaper sales. To test word-of-mouth reports that a decline had occurred, I asked my newspaper vendor in a large kiosk on Wittenberg Platz, and was told that the sales of newspapers had fallen off in all the kiosks operated by her particular concession-holder. In her kiosk the drop had been greater than forty per cent. As Berliners will, they invented a joke about the German press after that. It concerns a Berlin paper called the “B.Z.,” meaning Berliner Zeitung. You were supposed to ask, to make the joke click, why it was that the only newspaper people read any more was the “B.Z.” The answer was: because it lies only from B to Z, while all the others lie from A to Z.

More important still, because it was a positive sign people were seeking news elsewhere, rather than the negative one that they were ceasing to look for information from Nazi sources, was the rapid increase in listening to news broadcasts from foreign capitals—especially London and Moscow. An official of the Propaganda Ministry told me arrests for this “crime” in Germany triples after the Dietrich speech. In the newspapers it was announced that two individuals were punished with the extreme penalty, death, for listening to London! One October 30, Dr. Goebbels confirmed the increase by publishing in every newspaper in Germany a list of stations to which people might listen, stations in Germany and occupied countries; and he coupled with it a warning not to overstep these limits, which were clearly drawn exactly for this purpose. In November, every citizen in Germany received, with his ration-tickets for the month, a little red card with a hole punched in the middle of it so that it might be on the station-dial of a radio set, and on the card was the legend: “Racial Comrades! You are Germans! It is your duty not to listen to foreign stations. Those who do so will be mercilessly punished!” A week later in my neighborhood houses were visited by local Nazi chiefs to make sure the cards had been fastened to radios and were still there. People who had no radio sets were told to keep the cards anyhow, and to let them be a reminder not to listen to the conversation of people who did have radios and tuned in on foreign stations. The conclusion to be drawn from this is obvious: there had been a tremendous increase in listening to enemy radio stations; people distrusted their own propaganda and threats against listening was to make those who had been afraid to do so curious, and to convert them into regular listeners of enemy stations. After all, it is almost impossible to catch a person actually listening to foreign stations; it is so easy to switch back to the Deutschland Sender the moment the door-bell rings. Almost all those who have been arrested were apprehended, not while listening but while telling others, in public places, what they had heard….

But all Goebbels’ little propaganda stratagems were not so harmless. A Nazi in embarrassment is a dangerous Nazi, and he will resort to any method to rescue himself. To support his line about the bestiality of the Soviet troops, Goebbels also published in German press dozens of pictures of dead, tortured bodies of Soviet civilians, killed by the retreating Bolsheviks, the captions said. Jean Graffis, the Berlin representative of the American Acme News picture agency, picked several of these out of the files of the Nazi Hoffman picture agency and offered to buy them. But the agent, blushing at the situation he found himself in, told Graffis he was sorry but those were not for sale; they were only for internal consumption. Graffis had wanted to buy them because he read on their backs the date of 1920—they were dead bodies from the Russian Civil War! These photographs were being published in German newspapers as snapshots taken by German troops in the war of 1941! Again, a group of foreign correspondents was taken to Lemberg to see a real Soviet torture chamber, in order to reinforce the same line of propaganda in the outside world. The walls of one of the rooms, the “execution chamber,” was picked with bullet-holes from the rifles of Soviet firing squads. When the conductor of the tour left the room, one of the correspondents searched the room’s contents and found a Russian propaganda poster with Stalin’s photograph reproduced on it; it was shot through with holes. He placed it against the wall, and the punctures tallied exactly, hole for hole! Obviously the Germans themselves were responsible for their “atrocity.”

But the press stuck to its guns…

(America is also rotted from the inside out but America will never be able to see what she’s become because it’s not covered on their TVs nor in their newspapers. )

It happened long before the Russian war. The Foreign Press Association, Der Verein der auslaendischen Presse, was a unique institution inside Nazi Germany. In eight years of power, the Nazis had carried out a Gleichschaltung of all other organizations in Germany; every organization of every kind had been either placed under control of Nazis, or disbanded and then refounded as purely Nazi organization with the exception of the Foreign Press Association. Last year, after almost a dozen nations had been conquered by Germany, the German Foreign Office and the Propaganda Ministry, launched their long delayed campaign to crush the independence of the Foreign Press and bring it under control of the Nazi government to the same extent as the German press was. The method was by dilution; by flooding the ranks of the Foreign Press corps with a sort of Axis fifth column. Each conquered or quislinged nation was invited by the German government to withdraw its former correspondents (if these had not listened to Nazi reason and changed their ways) and replace them with an increased number of carefully chosen hacks who could be depended on to take orders. An amazing, motley crew of fake newspapermen began to show up in press conferences. Old friends, able friends from Holland, Norway, and Belgium disappeared and their places were filled by local Nazis, some of them barely able to write their own names! All, by virtue of being accredited journalists, were allowed to join the Foreign Press Association. It was a considerably increased burden to the expense account of the Propaganda Ministry, but Goebbels was expansive and invited especially the little Balkaneers by the dozen to the big city. They were noisy and exuded odours clearly indicative of their unaccustomedness to soap and water. At first, the Nazis gave them the free run of facilities, but eventually even the Nazi journalists began complaining about the plague, and both press clubs, Goebbels’ and Ribbentrop’s, ultimately forbade most of their invited newcomers entrance, refusing to issue them guest cards! The Propaganda Ministry used to maintain a service whereby all journalists could telephone in at a certain time of evening and be told whether or not there was a likelihood of an air-raid that night. The reason was that all the little quisling newspapermen took advantage of the service by arranging with restaurant owners to tell them when an air-raid was coming, so that the restaurant might warn its patrons; this in exchange for free meals for the informers every evening! The dignity of the new Foreign Press corps in Berlin left considerably much to be desired. The first considerable black market for Balkan currencies in Berlin was instituted by the new employees of Dr. Goebbels. But, like it or not, these individuals were poured in to the Verein, even as German “tourists” were poured into nations marked for conquest.” ……

But while the Propaganda Ministry and the Gestapo were straining their every resource to keep the new developments from ears and eyes of the outside world, unmistakable admissions of their existence were blurted out by none other than—Adolf Hitler himself! Speaking to party comrades on November 8, 1941, Hitler, for the first time mentioned the existence of opposition to him inside Germany. The Fuerhrer said: “Should anyone among us seriously hope to be able to disturb our front—it makes no difference where he comes from or to which camp he belongs—I will keep an eye on him for a certain period of probation. You know my methods. The is always the period of probation. But then there comes a moment when I strike like lightening and eliminate that kind of thing.” The Fuehrer then stated that the Nazi organization “reaches into every house and zealously keeps watch that there shall never be another November, 1918.”
Since 1933, opposition to Hitler inside Germany had been a strict “unmentionable” for party speakers and even the Fuehrer himself. The deviation, at this particular time, was significant.

(Pages – 166, 108 – 110, 100, 236 – 237, 80)

“People in the outside world who know the Nazi system only from photographs and films; from dramatic shots of its fine military machine and the steely, resolute faces of its leaders, would be amazed at what a queer, creaky makeshift it is behind its handsome, uniform exterior. It is not only that the people who support those stoney-faced leaders are timid, frightened and low-spirited. It is also, the government, the administration of those people and their affairs. In “The House that Hitler Built,” Stephen Roberts drew as nearly perfect of picture of that strange complicated mechanism as it was in peace time, as it is possible for a human to draw. But even that capable author would be buffed by a thousand queer, ill-shaped accretions that have been added illogically to it and the contraptions that have been subtracted illogically from it since the beginning of war. It looks roughly like a Rube Goldberg invention, inspired by a nightmare, but it is more complicated and less logical. And there are no A, B, C directions under it to show how it works. The men who work it have no idea how it works, themselves. The old, experienced, semi-intelligent bureaucrats who made the old contraption function wheezingly in peace, have been drained off to the war machine where their experience can be used more valuably. The new screwier contraption is operated haltingly by inexperienced little men who do not like their jobs and know nothing about them. The I.Q. of the personnel in the whole civil administration machine has dropped from an average of a fifteen-year-old to that of a ten-year-old.

For example, it is strictly against the law for any foreigner to remain in Germany more than a month without a stamp on his passport called by the formidable name of Aufenthaltserlaubnis, a residence permit. But nowadays, between the time you apply for one and the time you get it, a year generally passes; you break the law for eleven months because nobody knows what to do with your application once you’ve filled it out. Most foreigners never get one at all. But that is one of the more efficient departments. My charwoman’s sister, who worked in a hospital, disappeared once. Together my charwoman and I tried every police and Gestapo agency in town to find out about her, but nobody knew anything, or what to do to find anything out. Thirteen months later, it was discovered she was killed in a motor car accident in central Berlin, and the record of it had simply got stalled in the bureau of some little official who didn’t know which of eleven different departments he should have passed it on to. He tried three of six possible departments, but they didn’t know what to do with it.

Nobody knows who is zustaendig (responsible) for anything. When I complained to the Propaganda Ministry about being refused trips to the war-front, I was told the Ministry had nothing to do with the matter, that I should see the radio people. I went to the radio people who were not zustaendig for such matters and who sent me to the censors. The Foreign Office censor knew nothing about it and told me to see the High Command censor, who told me to go back to the Propaganda Ministry itself and complain there. Ultimately, Dr. Froelich, in the Ministry, showed an uncommon sense of the state of affairs and shrugged his shoulders and told me neither he, nor anybody else, had the least idea who the responsible official was, or which the responsible department. I was simply banned from trips to the front by nobody for no reason, but no one could do anything about it. When I was finally banned from the air, I went to the American embassy and asked the proper officer to protest to the Nazi authorities. He smiled and said: “It has become hopeless to protest to the Nazis about anything. Not only because of their ill-will towards Americans, but also because they frankly do not know which department any particular protest should be delivered to.” He told me the whole Nazi civil government is in a state of unbelievable chaos. Hitler no longer pays the slightest attention to the civil side of German life, and his underlings have followed the transition of his interests to the purely military side of things. Nobody of any consequence has any interest in the government of the German people, and it has become hopelessly confused and chaotic, and, in its innards, irremediably constipated. It is, in short, going to hell in a hurry…” – (Portions from pages 168 – 170)

Howard K. Smith made many observations.

“The attitude, frozen into the fabric of the “ruling class mind” by years of privilege was one of indifference to the people…

After that my sense sharpened and I guided them to fill out my impressions. I watched propaganda in the newspapers, placards on street-corner billboards, listened to it on the radio, I took closer note of the trends and tone of lectures in Heidelberg, listened more attentively to conversations with university professors, chosen for their ability as propagandists rather than as teachers, at Saturday night social gatherings in the Institute for Foreigners. Everything I saw and heard confirmed my new-born fear. I had now gone through all the stages save one—that is when fear has matured and been converted to political action. In its own way, that came later…. 
First: the object of any government in any state in the world is to maintain and increase the well-being of the people living in it. And on their success or failure at this, governments must be judged. 
Second: Hitler took over a nation in which the well-being of the people was prevented from being well by several serious problems. The Principle problems were:
(a) a low standard of living;
(b) millions of unemployed workers; and
(c) an economic crisis was in course, in which industry, which furnishes the people with the necessities of food, clothing, and shelter was virtually paralyzed.
Third: Hitler’s success of failure must be judged on the extent to which he has solved, or failed to solve, these problems….
Hitler’s solution to the crisis was not by making useful goods but by producing the greatest aggregation of arms, which nobody can eat, or wear, in all history…
Krupp… enjoyed record profits in 1935 and broke the record in each successive year, including 1941!) So, from the outset, Hitler had not solved the problem of economic crisis in our sense, for he has not added to, but subtracted from the quality and quantity of consumers’ goods which existed in 1933.

I asked about a Communist dock-worker I had met before and learned he had been placed in a concentration camp for trying to talk up a dockers’ strike for higher wages.

Once, however, I broke my routine and took a trip to Russia. That land impressed me disgustingly favorably for an individual who was still more Liberal than Socialist. Contrary to the development of my reactions in Germany, Russia looked better the longer I stayed and the more I saw….

You got the impression that each and every little individual was feeling pretty important doing a pretty important job of building up a State, eager and interested as a bunch of little boys turned loose in a locomotive and told to run it as they please. It showed promise like a gifted child’s first scratchings of “a house” on paper. Klein aber mein; a little but mine own, as the proverb goes. What is more the standard of living was definitely rising nor falling… I knew all along the atmosphere reminded me of a word, but I couldn’t think what it was until I got back to Germany. The word was “democracy.” That, I know, is a strange reaction to a country which is well known to be a dictatorship, but the atmosphere simply did not coincide with the newspapers’ verdict.

Schlaf schneller, Genosse had been for a year more than a book to me, it had been a close friend. It was the only Soviet Russian book which the Germans had allowed to be published in Germany after the German-Russian pact… I wrote that the Nazis permitted this book alone because it was obviously unfavorable, and according to their calculations its publication would, at once, show that Germany was not afraid of Communist literature, and it would cast a bad light on Russia. I added that the result was a little alarming to the Propaganda Ministry which an official in that institution confirmed to me, for the little book was sold out three days after the first edition had reached the bookshops, and several more editions had to be printed. Germans were delighted, and one German woman who borrowed my copy, because the edition had been exhausted when she had tried to buy a copy, told me afterwards: “It’s unbelievable. Why no German author could say things like that about Germany. He would lose his head. It raised Russia’s stock far higher than the book censors had calculated.
Well, the volume was missing from the window, for the first time in a year. I wandered on home, but the observation stuck in my mind all day and the next morning. So the following afternoon I went back to the bookshop, went inside, and, working on a hunch, told a salesgirl I wanted something on Russia and what did she have? My hunch was a square hit. She took me to a shelf filled with political books and pointed to…. the screaming titles, “The TRUTH about the Soviet Paradise,” “The Betrayal of Socialism,” “My Life in Russian Hell.” My friend, Sclaf schneller was no where to be seen. I told the salesgirl no and returned home…

Yes, he said, there were rumors: Hitler had presented a list of demands to Stalin. The most important was the lease of the Ukraine to Germany for ninety-nine years…

Being called out of bed at three in the morning, I knew from several past occasions, meant one thing: Germany was going to save the world from somebody again…”

When the war entered its third month, however, a moral depression set in which joined the economic decline. The downward movement was slow; then, from the beginning of autumn, both declines gathered speed, reacting on one another. By the end of October it became obvious that this was no mere “seasonal” drop, but a dangerous, perhaps permanent movement. People began grumbling openly, tempers were perceptibly short. This together with the decay of capital equipment caused a leveling off of war production for the first time in Nazi history, then a steep decline in production. The German propaganda machine adopted new tactics, introduced all kinds of of new “explanatory” propaganda and finally instituted a new anti-Jewish campaign to divert bitterness. The campaign failed entirely of its goal. From appeasing the people to offering them scapegoats, the Government then turned to threats and force. The Storm-troops, the “fighting vanguard of the Kleinbuergertum,” were in effect disbanded because of disaffection in their ranks. The Berlin garrison of the Gestapo was doubled in numbers and the Gestapo took up strategic positions in residential districts, set up arsenals; and the number of arrests tripled.

The Nazis took excessively great pains to keep these things quiet. Probably the most revealing measure they adopted was to muzzle the American press with an open censorship. This is the first time censorship of the foreign press has been resorted to in the nine years of Hitler’s power. For the three radio correspondents, of whom I was one, there had always been a censorship; but when the Great Depression of late 1941 set in, it was converted into a verifiable strait-jacket. I could no longer give a reasonable accurate picture of what was happening in Berlin; pressure was even applied to make me tell blunt falsehoods. I was actually ordered by the Nazis to use their propaganda material! I, of course, promptly reported these incidents to the American Embassy in Berlin. The situation was unbearable, and I sent a telegram to Paul White, director of News Programs for the Columbia Broadcasting System, in New York, telling him so. The Nazi censors informed me they would not send the telegram or any other information containing complaints against them. Then I telephoned White, and and told him the facts. Telephone conversations were still uncensored, but they were listened to by the Gestapo… The following day we were all informed that the German radio refused to allow us the use of facilities any longer, and that we might, thus, no longer work in Germany. They did not forbid our companies from operating from Berlin, and they did not throw us out. Had they done either of these things, we would be able to leave the country and to speak freely, once outside, without the fear of reprisals being taken on our companies in Berlin. But instead, they even refused to let us leave. We stayed in Berlin another month able neither to work nor to leave; until eventually our companies agreed to send substitutes for us who, in Nazi eyes, would serve as hostages against our talking. – (Page 78 – 79)

…dangerous diet of people in any totalitarian country where news is twisted or kept from them.. (Page 90)

But while the Propaganda Ministry and the Gestapo were straining their every resource to keep the new developments from ears and eyes of the outside world, unmistakable admissions of their existence were blurted out by none other than—Adolf Hitler himself! Speaking to party comrades on November 8, 1941, Hitler, for the first time mentioned the existence of opposition to him inside Germany. The Fuehrer said: “Should anyone among us seriously hope to be able to disturb our front—it makes no difference where he comes from or to which camp he belongs—I will keep an eye on him for a certain period of probation. You know my methods. The is always the period of probation. But then there comes a moment when I strike like lightening and eliminate that kind of thing.” The Fuehrer then stated that the Nazi organization “reaches into every house and zealously keeps watch that there shall never be another November, 1918.”
Since 1933, opposition to Hitler inside Germany had been a strict “unmentionable” for party speakers and even the Fuehrer himself. The deviation, at this particular time, was significant. – (Page 80)

When the telephone rang, I was lying in bed with a miserable cold an a skull-splitting headache. It was the secretary of Dr. Froelich, the Propaganda Ministry’s liaison officer for the American press and radio. She was excited, and told me I should come to an important special press conference at noon sharp; something of extremely great importance….

Cameras snapped and flashlight bulbs flashed. On the great stage behind the central figure, Dietrich, the red velvet curtains were drawn apart to reveal a monstrous map of European Russia thrice as high as the speaker. The effect was impressive… With an air of finality, Dietrich announced the very last remnants of the Red Army were locked in two steel German pockets before Moscow and were undergoing swift, merciless annihilation…..

Behind his unrecorded words there arose, in the minds of his listeners, inevitable images. Russia, with her rich resources in Hitler’s hands: an increment of almost 200,000,000 units of slave labour to make implements of war, bringing total man-power at Germany’s disposal to a figure greater than that of England, and North and South America. Hitler’s armies, ten million men, flushed with victory, eager for more of the easy, national sport, were in the main free to return west and flood England, at long last, with blood and Nazis….

The civil population were hanging wreaths of roses on German tanks in joy at being liberated. It would be announced in a special communique tonight or tomorrow. In the days that followed, bookshops got in new sets of Russian grammars and simple readers for beginners in the tongue, and displayed shop windows full of them; the eagerness to get a job in the rich, new colony was everywhere. The economics minister of the Reich, Dr. Walter Funk, at himself down and wrote a fine speech about Germany’s colonial mission in Russia, entitled “The contribution of the East to the New Europe,” and the next day the papers published it under the heading; “Europe’s Economic Future Secured.”

– (Portions from pages 18 – 21, 25, 37, 65-67, 69, 90, 80, 84, 85, 86, 90)

Howard K. Smith also wrote about the health of the working class citizens of Germany.

“The war dragged on beyond schedule and another cut became necessary. But an official reduction was never made. From a source in the Nazi food ministry, whose reliability cannot be doubted, I learned that the food ministry had determined to introduce the cut, lopping off another 50 grammes, leaving the total ration at 350 grammes a week. And, if the campaign lasted much longer, this too, was to be reduced by another 50 grammes…. the squabble that began with meat and then led into other departments of the food problem, eventually cost Walther Darre, the Nazi agricultural minister, his job. He retained the title, for purposes of front, for some time, but Hitler, in anger at the unexpectedly swift drop in all resources, took away from him the administration of one department after another, accusing him of having given false information to the party leadership concerning the abundance of supplies with which Germany began the Russian war.

The solution to the meat problem was eventually settled by compromise—and here we have another typical Nazi “solution” to a given problem. The cut would be made. But it simply would not be announced. Appearances would thus be maintained, and the two parties concerned satisfied; only the people were left out of consideration. So, while there was no official announcement, less meat was delivered to butchers’ shops and to restaurants. In restaurants, for a 100-gramme meat coupon, the chef simply dealt out an 80-gramme piece of meat.

But even this could not be maintained. Food supplies were not, to use a figure, walking down a staircase; they were sliding down a chute, and a very slippery one. More reductions were introduced in the same manner….
For almost two weeks there were no potatoes in Berlin…

Other vegetables came to count as luxuries. Tomatoes were rationed too for a while, then disappeared altogether to canning factories where they could be preserved and sent to the Eastern front. Two-vegetable meals became virtually extinct. Scarcities were made more severe by the prudence of the food ministry which, having its palms slapped once, began to play it safe by preparing more and more canned goods for the troops in the event that the war should last through the winter….

Ersatz foods flourished. Icing for the few remaining pastries tasted like a mixture of saccharine, sand and cheap perfume. White bread was issued after the third month of the campaign only on the ration cards formerly for pastry. A red coloured paste called Lachs Galantine, resembling salmon in color and soggy sawdust in taste, appeared in restaurants on meatless days. Several strange bottled sauces made of incredible combinations of acid-tasting chemicals made their appearance in shops to answer the public’s growing demand for something to put a taste of some kind in their unattractive and scanty meals.
Cigarettes suffered the most rapid decline in quality… My tobacconist told me “Johnnies” were made of the same dry, powdery, inferior tobacco as other cigarettes, but the leaves were sprayed with a chemical to give them a distinctive flavour and kill their original one. The chemical, he said, was severely damaging to the lungs, which I can believe…

It caused visible pain to the old bar-tender to answer an order for a cocktail saying he was dreadfully sorry but today, precisely today, he had run out of all the ingredients. But perhaps tomorrow. Actually, all he had was some raw liquor the management had been able to squeeze out of a farm-house outside Berlin, Himbeergeist, or a fake Vodka that took the roof off your mouth, or wood alcohol with perfume in it which was served under the name of Sclibovitz, two fingers to a customer and no more…

Civilian hospitals are overcrowded and doctors overworked. Environment, which has a great deal to do with mental health and well-being has grown seedy and ugly. Hours are longer and real wages immeasurably lower than they were before the Russian war. Families are losing their youngest and strongest members, or seeing them some home legless and armless. The horizon of the average German is desolate….

Today, also after two years of war, there are only two meat dishes on the menu, one of which is struck through with a pencil mark along the strategy of the Kaiserhof Hotel. The other is generally two little sausages of uncertain contents, each about the size of a cigar butt. Before the meat they give you a chalky, red, warm liquid called tomato soup, but which a good-natured waiter-friend of mine always called: Ee-gay Farben Nummer zwei nulleex! all of which means, “Dye trust formula number 20-X.” With the meat you get four or five yellow potatoes with black blotches on them… (Portions from pages 120 – 149)

Hitler’s solution to the crisis was not by making useful goods but by producing the greatest aggregation of arms, which nobody can eat, or wear, in all history…

Krupp… enjoyed record profits in 1935 and broke the record in each successive year, including 1941!” – (Page 21)

IG Farben united all the German industrialists. NATO united all Western industrialists. They continued their capitalist market expansion plans.

“And so in capitalist society we have a democracy that is curtailed, wretched, false, a democracy only for the rich, for the minority. The dictatorship of the proletariat, the period of transition to communism, will for the first time create democracy for the people, for the majority, along with the necessary suppression of the exploiters, of the minority.” – Vladimir Lenin – State and Revolution (1917)

“Should anyone among us,” Hitler said, “seriously hope to disturb our front—it makes no difference where he comes from or what camp he belongs to—I will keep an eye on him for a certain period. You know my methods. That is always the period of probation. But then there comes a moment when I strike like lightening and eliminate that sort of thing.” It was then, too, that the Fuehrer declared that the Nazi organization, by which he meant the Gestapo, watches every single house and “zealously keeps watch that there shall never be another November 1918.”

The Weird DARPA/Facebook “Coincidence” You Never Heard About by corbettreport https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1_yMGQ5Uv0I

Important history into DARPA.

“DARPA’s mandate, as was instructed to Congress when DARPA was created in 1958, was “to create vast weapon systems of the future” – that was its job.” – Annie Jacobsen

“Many scientists, from rocket pioneer Dr. Wernher von Braun to former Gestapo chief Klaus Barbie, the “Butcher of Lyon,” entered the country under the aegis of Operation Paperclip.” – Medical Apartheid by Harriet A. Washington (Fellow in ethics at Harvard)

DARPA’s origin is Operation Paperclip which imported the Nazi war machine to the US and expanded to all NATO nations.

“We stayed in Berlin another month able neither to work nor to leave; until eventually our companies agreed to send substitutes for us who, in Nazi eyes, would serve as hostages against our talking. …dangerous diet of people in any totalitarian country where news is twisted or kept from them..

But while the Propaganda Ministry and the Gestapo were straining their every resource to keep the new developments from ears and eyes of the outside world, unmistakable admissions of their existence were blurted out by none other than—Adolf Hitler himself! Speaking to party comrades on November 8, 1941, Hitler, for the first time mentioned the existence of opposition to him inside Germany. The Fuehrer said: “Should anyone among us seriously hope to be able to disturb our front—it makes no difference where he comes from or to which camp he belongs—I will keep an eye on him for a certain period of probation. You know my methods. The is always the period of probation. But then there comes a moment when I strike like lightening and eliminate that kind of thing.” The Fuehrer then stated that the Nazi organization “reaches into every house and zealously keeps watch that there shall never be another November, 1918.”

Since 1933, opposition to Hitler inside Germany had been a strict “unmentionable” for party speakers and even the Fuehrer himself. The deviation, at this particular time, was significant.” – Last Train From Berlin by Howard K. Smith, 1942.

And FB enables them to reach into every single home and zealously keep watch that there will never be another November, 1918.

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Phenols, Breasts and Brains: An Unnatural History Lesson Rooted in Nazi Concentration Camps

A Phenol is essentially the oxidation of benzene and is an important building block in PVC and many other synthetics. Benzene is a known carcinogen and its estrogenic properties have been written about since the 1920s. It promotes and accelerates estrogen receptive breast cancer. Its history and its biological impacts are important.
PVC was created by the “Council of the Gods” aka Nazi bastards in Auschwitz and Sachenhausen concentration camps.
“The First World War had made it clear that Germany had too few natural raw materials for armed conflict with its neighbors and so artificial ones had to be created: synthetic gasoline produced from coal as well as “Buna” (synthetic rubber evolved to PVC and other plastics made from coal tar and benzene) were at the center of the development of IG Farben, which had gone on growing in power within the Nazi state and had consolidated its position as a global player in the chemical industry. Its board described itself as the “Council of the Gods.”
“Sachenhausen concentration camp, twenty-one miles north of Berlin on the edge of the small town of Oranienburg, was opened in 1936, the year of the Olympic Games…
A single machine gun could keep all the prisoners covered. Altogether over 200,000 people from around forty nations would be confined here until just before the end of the war: political opponents, Jews, Sinti and Roma, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, the citizens of occupied European countries, “anti-social elements,” alcoholics, drug addicts. Tens of thousands of detainees perished from hunger, illness, forced labor, mistreatment, and medical experiments. In the autumn of 1941 an estimated thirteen to eighteen thousand Soviet prisoners of war were executed with a shot to the back of the neck in a special facility that was designed to standardize the killing process.
One other perfidious specialty of the camp was the so-called shoe-walking unit. Prisoners had to test the resilience of the soles for the German shoe industry on uninterrupted forced marches…
The German economics ministry paid for the maintenance costs of the shoe-walking track. The Reich economics office controlled the material tests centrally, and only allowed leather substitute materials to of into production once they had been successfully tested in Sachenhausen. It paid the camp six reichmarks per day, per prisoner. In the case of rubber soles, after several improvements they could withstand 1,800 miles, or a seventy-five-day march. Still most materials were unusable long before that. Leather fabrics barely survived 600 miles, but a sole made of Igelit, a form of soft PVC, survived for over 1,200 miles. All of this was painstakingly noted down. According to estimates, up to twenty people die on the track every day. The SS called this “extermination through labor.” – Blitzed: Drugs during the Third Reich by Norman Ohler (Portions from pages 199 – 201)
Nazi technologies continue to destroy people today….
p-Nonyl-phenol: an estrogenic xenobiotic released from “modified” polystyrene by A M Soto, H Justicia, J W Wray, and C Sonnenschein – 1991 (1991! Pay attention to the commercials on your TVs. They’re why you never received this critically important information.)
This significant discovery was documented in the book Our Stolen Future.
“Somehow the plate didn’t look right, so Sonnenschein adjusted the microscope and looked again. His eyes were not playing tricks. The whole plate–every single colony growing in a specially modified blood serum–was as crowded as a subway train at rush hour. Regardless of whether they added estrogen or not, the breast cancer cells had been multiplying like crazy.
In all their years of cell work, they had never seen anything like it. At first, they felt stunned. They didn’t know what to think except that something had gone seriously wrong.
They carefully prepared another batch of plates with breast cancer cells, and once again, the breast cancer cells began mulitplying like crazy. It wasn’t a fleeting event. The mysterious contamination was still somewhere in the lab. They considered every possible explanation from carelessness to sabotage. In the end, the cause proved beyond their wildest imaginings, something even stranger and more unsettling than human sabotage.
When they stored the hormone-free blood serum in some of the test tubes, their breast cancer cells showed an estrogenlike response and multiplied like mad. But the cells showed no response to serum stored in other identical-looking tubes. Although the medical school lab kept ordering the tube number they had used for years, Corning was now supplying a lab tube that had a different chemical composition. When Soto asked about the chemical content of the new resin, Corning declined to disclose the information on the grounds that it was a “trade secret.”
It took months to purify the compound in the plastic that caused an estrogenlike effect in their experiments and do a preliminary identification using mass spectrometry analysis. Finally, they were ready to send a sample of the substance across the river to chemists at MIT for final identification.
At the end of 1989–two years after their detective work had started – they had a definitive answer: p-nonylphenol. Manufacturers add nonylphenols to polystyrene and polyvinyle chloride, known commonly as PVC, as an antioxidant to make plastics more stable and less breakable.
Soto & Sonnenschein found many concerning studies. One found that the food processing and packaging industry used PVCs that contained alkylphenols. Another reported finding nonylphenol contamination in water that passed through PVC tubing. They even discovered that nonylphenol is used to synthesize a compound in contraceptive creams. They also learned that the breakdown of chemicals found in industrial detergents, pesticides, and personal care products can likewise give rise to nonylphenol.
450 million pounds in 1990 in the United States alone and 600 million pounds globally.” – Our Stolen Future by Theo Colborn
The promotion of breast cancer is not the only biological effect.
The documentary “Trade Secrets” uncovers industry’s concealment of all the ways vinyl chloride destroys human health.
Vinyl chloride also causes bone to dissolve.
“NARRATION: In other words, they knew vinyl chloride could cause the bones in the hands of their workers to dissolve.
MOYERS: What does this memo tell you? This particular memo?
ROSNER: Oh, it tells me the industry never expected that they would be held accountable to the public about what was happening to the work force. They never even expected their workers to learn of the problems that they were facing and the causes of it.
NARRATION: Bernie Skaggs’ hands were eventually X-rayed.
SKAGGS: I was really shocked.
MOYERS: What did you see?
SKAGGS: Well, on the hands, my fingers were all–you know, showed up–the bones showed up white in the x-ray.
MOYERS: In a normal x-ray.
SKAGGS: Yeah, normal x-ray, yeah. And mine were okay till they got out to this first joint out there. Then from there out, most of it was black. Some of them had a little half moon around the end, and then just a little bit beyond the joint. And I said, “What is that? You’ve really surprised me.” He said, “That–the bone is being destroyed.”
MOYERS: The black showed that there was no bone there.
SKAGGS: Yeah, right. The bone was disappearing, just gone…
Vinyl chloride destroys all the places calcium accumulates. Calcium is very important in the brain.
“Because the “chemo-” part of chemoelectric messages sent by the nerve cells in the brain has largely to do with calcium, the neuron-firing communication networks of the brain depend as much on calcium as telephone communication does on copper telephone wire.” Microcosmos page 184.
“Doctor LeFevre theorizes that vinyl chloride is absorbed in body fats and carried to the brain.”
NARRATION: Despite the startling prospect that vinyl chloride could affect the brain, the companies took no action – and told no one. NARRATION: So workers like Dan Ross were not told why they were getting sick.
ROSS: He came home from work one day, and he was taking off his boots and socks, and I looked at his feet. The whole top of ’em were burned. Now, he had on safety boots, steel-toed, and the whole top of his feet were red where the chemicals had gone through his boots, through his socks, under his feet, and burned them, both feet.
MOYERS: You knew that chemicals had caused it?
ROSS: Oh, yeah. There was no doubt in his mind, because he had been standing in something. I don’t remember what it was. I said, “My God, what was it that goes through leather, steel-toed boots and your socks to do that?” You know, I said, “Don’t get in it again, whatever it was. Don’t get in it again.”
HOFFPAUIR: I got chlorine gas and I went to the hospital, but, you know, it, it was just part a the – it wasn’t an everyday thing that you got chlorine. It was a everyday thing you got vinyl and EDC. Chlorine’s a bad, “bad news doctor” there. It’ll hurt ya. But you weren’t aware. You knew that instantly. You weren’t aware that this insidious little monster was creeping up on you, vinyl chloride was creeping up on you and eating your brain away. And that’s what it all tended out to prove out that it was doing. Just eating your brain up. Who was to know? No one told us. No one made us aware of it.
– Trade Secrets documentary
Ross died of brain cancer. Vinyl chloride was utilized in many applications. It was even used as a propellant in hair spray products in the 1960’s as a “trade secret” ingredient.
NARRATION: Once again, buried in the documents, is the truth the industry kept hidden.
March 24, 1969. BF Goodrich Chemical Company Subject: Some new information.
“Calculations have been made to show the concentration of propellant in a typical small hair dresser’s room. …All of this suggests that beauty operators may be exposed to concentrations of vinyl chloride monomer equal to or greater than the level in our polys.”
NARRATION: The threat of lawsuits gave the industry second thoughts about marketing aerosols.
Union Carbide. Internal Correspondence. Confidential.
“If vinyl chloride proves to be hazardous to health, a producing company’s liability to its employees is limited by various Workmen’s Compensation laws. A company selling vinyl chloride…”
MOYERS: “A company selling vinyl chloride as an aerosol propellant, however, has essentially unlimited liability to the entire U.S. population.” What does that mean?
ROSNER: The problem that they’re identifying is the giant elephant in the corner. It’s the issue of what happens when worker’s comp isn’t there to shield them from suits in court, what happens if people who are not covered by worker’s comp suddenly get exposed to vinyl chloride and begin to sue them for damages to their health.
MOYERS: Unlimited liability.
ROSNER: Unlimited liability. Millions and millions of women, of workers, of people exposed to monomer in all sorts of forms. This is catastrophic. This is potentially catastrophic.
Interoffice Memo. Ethyl Corporation.
“Dow … is questioning the aspect of making sales of vinyl chloride monomer when the known end use is as an aerosol propellant since market is small but potential liability is great.”
ROSNER: They consciously note that this is a very small portion of the vinyl chloride market. So why expose themselves to liability if this minor part of the industry can be excised and the huge liability that goes with it excised?
Allied Chemical Corporation. Memorandum. Subject: Vinyl Chloride Monomer.
“Concerning use of vinyl chloride monomer as aerosol propellant, serious consideration should be given to withdrawal from this market.”
MARKOWITZ: Here you have the industry saying we are going to give up this part of the industry, the aerosol part of the industry, because the liability is so great. But they are not going to inform the work force. They are not going to do anything about protecting the work force because the liability is limited for them. And so it’s a very cynical way of deciding on how you are going to deal with this dangerous product.
They have put people in danger. They have exposed a variety of people to a dangerous product, and, yet, they are not willing to say this is something we did, we didn’t know it, we, you know, had no way of knowing it, whatever excuses they wanted to make up, but they don’t even do that.
NARRATION: Some companies would give up the aerosol business – but quietly. No public warning was issued. Now, 30 years later, those hairdressers and their customers are unaware of the risks to which they were exposed. And it is impossible to know how many women may have been sick or died – without knowing why.
The Trade Secrets documentary

PVC is not the only problem.
For those not familiar with benzene technologies and why all polycarbonates are harmful… hint… they are rooted in fossil fuels.
“The Polycarbonate Problem.”
BPA, Benzene, Phenols, & Carbonyl Chloride (also known as Phosgene)
“Although it’s only in the past few years that news of bisphenol A’s health impacts began to reach a nonscientific general public–news that has since spread rapidly–it was first recognized as a synthetic estrogen in the 1930s. Papers published in the journal of Nature in 1933 and 1936 describe its estrogenic effects on lab rats. These papers also commented on the possible carcinogenic activity of materials with similar or comparable composition to bisphenol A–specifically materials synthesized from petroleum (from which bisphenol A is ultimately derived) and coal tar.
Some two decades later, bisphenol A was launched into everyday life with the development of commercially produced polycarbonates. Major production of these plastics began in the United States in the late 1950s after a General Electric engineer named Daniel W. Fox formulated a material based on BPA that GE called Lexan. The invention was not so much deliberately planned as it was the result of what Fox called his ability to take “a few clues and jump to conclusions that frequently panned out.”
While experimenting with different materials that might ultimately make a good moldable polymer, Fox decided to work with bisphenols, compounds derived from petroleum processing that were then being used to make various epoxy resins. As molecules, bisphenols have a structural feature that makes them useful as potential chemical building blocks. Attached to their hydrocarbon ring is what’s called a hydroxyl group, an oxygen and hydrogen that together form a site to which other molecules can bond. This structure is common to both synthetic and naturally occurring compounds, a coincidence that will later turn out to be important to how bisphenol A behaves.
Fox’s interest in the hydroxyl group was as a polymer building site, not for its biological activity. But when attached to a hydrocarbon ring as it is in bisphenol A, the entire chemical grouping becomes a molecule known as a phenol–an aromatic hydrocarbon, a ring made up of six carbon atoms and five hydrogen atoms plus a hydroxyl group. Phenols are commonly made by oxidizing benzene, which essentially means adding oxygen to benzene. Phenols are toxic, but they are also known for their antiseptic properties and so were used to kill germs in the nineteenth century surgical procedures.
This molecular group consisting of six carbon-five hydrogen rings with a hydroxyl group attached, however, is also part of the structure of substances produced naturally by the human body, compounds that include estrogen and thyroid hormones. Introducing a manufactured chemical that includes the phenol group into a cellular environment may therefore pose a problem because the synthetic material may compete biochemically with the similarly structured naturally occurring chemical. Thinking in green chemistry terms, the presence of a phenol group on a synthetic, therefore, should be a sign to investigate that substance’s potential as an endocrine disruptor.
The potential cellular toxicity of phenols has actually been known for decades. Research done in the 1950s, written about by Rachel Carson in Silent Spring, discussed the mechanisms by which pesticides constructed with phenols had the ability to prompt oxidation processes that upset cellular metabolism. These reactive chemical groups can disrupt formation of enzymes vital to energy production, which in turn may interfere with how an organism produces and differentiates cellular material. These processes of cellular reproduction are involved in virtually every bodily system, from how an individual processes sugars and calcium to how its reproductive system functions. Carson described the introduction of xeniobiotic phenols as thrusting “a crowbar into the spokes of a wheel. Had Fox been a green chemist, our current synthetic landscape might look very different.
But because Fox and his colleagues were focused on functional performance and on working with readily available chemical ingredients, bisphenols seemed a good choice. As an additional building block that might combine with the bisphenol molecules’ hydrocarbons to yield a useful polymer, Fox chose a chlorine compound called carbonyl chloride. Carbonyl chloride was then–and is currently–a common ingredient in the synthetics known as isocyanates that are used to make any number of products, including polyurethanes that go into varnishes, paints, and plastic foams. By the 1950s it was known that chlorinated hydrocarbons made useful synthetics so this was a logical route for Fox to follow–but no one had yet made the kind of moldable, shatter-resistant plastic that Lexan turned out to be.
If you’re building a polymer, a linked chemical chain in effect, you need lots of the same repeating pieces; ideally you’ll work with shapes that are easy to find and lend themselves to chemical bonding. It’s here that a Tinkertoy or Lego analogy comes to mind. To add pieces to a chemical structure, you need sites where new sticks and building blocks can be attached. So it was with the choice of bisphenols and carbonyl chloride, which lend themselves to such bonding and were both readily available industrial chemicals. Had Fox been practicing green chemistry, however, he would never–even with what was known in the 1950s–have launched a product that required copious quantities of carbonyl chloride.
Carbonyl chloride is also known as phosgene and is so toxic that it was used as a chemical weapon during World War I. The isocyanates it’s used to make are also highly toxic. One such compound, methyl isocyanate, was the gas involved in the deadly 1984 disaster at the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India. Lest anyone wonder if nerve gas is lurking in your bike helmet or CD cases, however, let me quickly explain that no phosgene or even any chlorine ends up in the final bisphenol A polymer; the chlorine compound is simply a reagent, an ingredient that enables the desired chemical bonding to take place.
Yet speaking to an interviewer in 1983, Fox acknowledged that using large quantities of a chemical such as phosgene was indeed hazardous. But, Fox continued, it “was not a totally frightening undertaking because we had good advice. I would say that we have been tightening up our whole phosgene handling ever since, investing in an awful lot of money in trying to make the stuff doubly safe and then triply safe and quadruply safe.” Still, the interviewer pressed, “Has there ever been a problem?” To which Fox responded, “We have had one or two small discharges. To my knowledge, I don’t think GE advertised it, but I think we probably had a ‘casualty’ from phosgene.” Did this give anyone second thoughts about going into business? “I don’t think it did,” Fox replied.
At the time Fox was working, new material inventions like carbonates were just that–inventions that came first, with applications and markets found later. “When we invented polycarbonates in the early 1950s we had a polymer with an interesting set of properties and no readily apparent applications,” Fox said in 1983. But what was known about polycarbonates’ behavior early on that might have hinted at what’s since been discovered about their physical and biological behavior” Could this information have been used to prevent what are clearly problems of chemical contamination? Endocrine-disruption science is relatively new, but some of what was known early on about bisphenol A and polycarbonates would seem to indicate a material perhaps not ideally suited for use, say, with food, heat, and dishwashing detergents.
That polycarbonates built from bisphenol A were vulnerable to certain detergents, solvents, and alkali solutions (household ammonia would qualify) has been known since at least the 1970s. Ammonium hydroxide (essentially a solution of ammonia in water) was discussed as a possible way to break polycarbonates down to its chemical constituents–for materials recovery and reuse and as a way to remove unwanted polycarbonate from another surface. It was also known that various additives used to modify polycarbonate mixtures could leach from the finished plastics when they came into contact with certain liquids. Documents filed with the Federal Register in 1977 list chloroform, methylene chloride, and chlorobenzene among these additives. (The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services considers chloroform and methylene chloride suspected carcinogens, while chlorobenzene is known to cause liver, kidney, and nervous system damage and produce a precancerous condition in lab rats.) Correspondence between GE Plastics Division personnel in the 1970s and 1980s also voiced concern over the presence of chlorobenzene in water stored in polycarbonate bottles (but not bottles made by GE as it happened) and about how the stability of these polymers might affect their ability to be used with food.
A memo circulated within the Lexan division of GE in 1978 also noted that “through reaction with water,” polycarbonate resin can degrade. “The two largest applications of Lexan resin for which hydrolytic stability is critically important are baby bottles and water bottles,” ran the 1978 memo.
In each application the finished parts are subjected to conditions which will cause, after prolonged treatment, molecular weight reduction. However, in each application, actual product failure is usually observed before significant molecular weight reduction is detectable by the usual techniques…..Baby bottles are subjected to autoclaving at 250 degrees F in saturated steam and fail under these conditions by becoming opaque, and sometimes by shrinking and deforming. Milk and water bottles are washed in aqueous solutions of alkaline or caustic cleaning agents and fail by stress cracking. The relationship between practical failure modes and the fundamental physical and chemical processes involved is not fully understood.
That polycarbonates might degrade when heated, washed, or exposed to sunlight was also discussed in company memos in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Three decades later, the plastics industry assures consumers that such wear and tear of polycarbonate baby bottles poses no health concerns for infant users.” – Chasing Molecules by Lizzie Grossman (Pages 58 – 62)
BPA as a breast cancer accelerator was also written about in Our Stolen Future. BPA is also used in our water infrastructure throughout the United States.
“Researchers soon realized the estrogenic effect was due to a contaminant rather than a hormone that was causing the breast cancer cells to rapidly multiply. They determined that the contaminant was bisphenol-A – BPA and that the source of the contamination was the polycarbonate lab flasks used to sterilize the water used in the experiments….
In a 1993 paper, the Stanford team reported their discovery and their discussions with the manufacturer of polycarbonate, GE Plastics Company. Apparently aware that polycarbonate will leach, particularly if exposed to high temperatures and caustic cleaners, the company had developed a special washing regimen that they thought had eliminated the problem.
In working with the company, however, the researchers discovered that GE could not detect bisphenol-A in samples sent by the Stanford lab-samples that were causing proliferation in estrogen-responsive breast cancer cells. The problem proved to be the detection limit in GE’s chemical assay-a limit of ten parts per billion. The Stanford team found that two to five parts per billion of bisphenol-A was enough to prompt an estrogenic response in cells in the lab.” Our Stolen Future, pages 130 – 131
They even profit from the cancers they cause.
Astra Zeneca, the corporate founder, and editor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month has no moral conscience.. just money on their minds.
Astra Zeneca co-owns Syngenta, the company that manufactures Atrazine. This popular pesticide acts as a chemical estrogen or aromatase enhancer, and pollutes rain water, rivers and produce across the United States. Many laboratory studies have shown that Atrazine, now banned in Europe, increases the risk of prostate, breast and ovarian cancers in lab animals and in humans.
Astra Zeneca also manufactures Arimidex, one of the aromatase inhibitor drugs, used to protect individuals against a recurrence of estrogen positive breast cancer. Arimidex works by blocking aromatase or future estrogen levels in the body.
This means that women who eat produce and grains and drink water tainted by Astra Zeneca’s Atrazine pesticide, increase their risk of developing breast cancer. But now women can also purchase Astra Zeneca’s Arimidex, to help them survive, once they actually develop estrogen positive breast cancer.
How do these corporate fathers and mothers of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month sleep at night come October, when it is time to bring out the pink ribbons?
Dr Tyrone Hayes, an award-winning tenured professor of biology at the University of California at Berkeley discovered Atrazine’s adverse hormonal effects on laboratory animals while working for Astra Zeneca as a research consultant. Hayes has now named Astra Zeneca a one-stop shopping experience.

Even chemotherapy is rooted in Nazi war technologies.

One of the first effective chemotherapy agents, not surprisingly, was valued not for its curative properties but for its efficacy as a killer chemical. We know this chemical today as a notorious agent of war—mustard gas. Deployed by the German Empire during the First World War on the battlefields of Europe, most infamously in Ypres, Belgium, mustard gas—a relatively simple combination of sulfur, carbon, and chlorine—killed hundreds of thousands of French and colonial troops. Over a million others were sickened or maimed for life.* (Side note – this figure is wrong. There were 15,000 and of those 1/4 were killed that’s according to Joseph Borkin, a Treasury investigator who wrote a book about IG Farben and his figures are aligned with others) Once it made its way into the body, the chemical also affected tissues with larger proportions of dividing cells. Wartime autopsies found the lymph nodes, spleens, and bone marrow of victims depleted of white cells…. Mustard gas may have been “gone” from the battlefield, but it was by no means forgotten—which ostensibly explains why, in 1943, the American Liberty ship John Harvey was carrying a load of mustard gas bombs. The bombs were intended for retaliation, just in case the Germans reneged on the treaty. Docked in the old port city of Bari, Italy, the cargo likely would have slipped through the war and evaded the history books had the Germans not raided the port. On December 2, as German planned bombarded Bari, sinking 28 cargo ships including the John Harvey, nearly 100,000 pounds of mustard gas spilled across the harbor and rose into the night sky. Thousands of soldiers and citizens were exposed. Hundreds were hospitalized with chemical burns and blindness. At least 83 died. The cause was a mystery to all but a few “in the know.” Upon autopsy, it was found that the victims’ white-blood-cell counts were oddly depleted.
By the time of the Bari incident, leukemia was fairly well characterized as a cancer of the white blood cells. And secretive studies into the effects of mustard-gas-derived chemicals on white blood cells were beginning to bear fruit. Experiments by pioneering pharmacologists Alfred Gilman and Louis Goodman revealed astonishing efficacy of one mustard-like chemical that targeted white blood cells in laboratory mice afflicted with lymphoma. Typically, laboratory mice with lymphoma lived about 21 days. The first mouse treated with the mustard agent lived a remarkable 84 days. After two doses its tumor regressed. The chemical agent seemed to target cancerous white blood cells. What Goodman and Gilman couldn’t have known then was how the mustard derivative worked—why it seemed to target white cells and not most others. Years later, studies revealed that the chemical slips into the DNA molecule, rendering it incapable of normal replication. Ultimately, the hobbled cells die. Since it targets cells in the process of replicating—those that reproduce most often, including cancerous white blood cells, are preferentially killed. Unfortunately, the chemical’s efficacy was fleeting. Cancer cells, observed Gilman, were remarkably resilient. When dosing stopped, the cancer bounced back. Worse, it became increasingly tolerant to drug exposure. Yet, even though cancer control was short-lived, the ability to melt away a tumor through chemical treatment was unprecedented. In 1942, the first human subject suffering from as advanced leukemia was injected with nitrogen mustard. The response, writes Gilman, “was as dramatic as that of the first mouse.” Exposure to the mustard-gas derivative had chased the cancer into remission within days. However, as with the mice, disease respite was temporary…. Still, chemotherapy derived from mustard gas and other chemicals granted cancer patients a reprieve from death: a few weeks, months, or years—sometimes long enough for the next drug.” – Unnatural Selection (portions from pages 62 – 64.)
Water infrastructure and our food system for our communities do not have to be rooted in fossil fuel-based products that destroy health. There are far better methods of supplying communities with water and food than our current infrastructure. We unfortunately did not learn the most important lessons from history. The ruling class have created an economic model rooted in fossil fuels that destroy the health of our communities. We have the ability to redesign our economic model and communities that do not sicken and destroy the health of our people and our environment. There are water and food infrastructure designs that restore health to our environment and ourselves. There are solutions but only if we destroy the ruling class cartel and their horrific economic and government model that makes profits from war and the suffering.

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“Instead of deliberately favoring democratic industrialists, we have spent most of our billions in backing predatory institutions which, based on their history and present activities, will probably align themselves against us in the showdown between East and West—and this policy alone could easily  make the difference between defeat and victory for democracy. Would that we had such desperate faith in democratic institutions that we could afford the gamble of similar billions for their survival! For every dollar we have spent in Europe to strengthen democracy and arm it against conquest, we have thrown several dollars within reach of the enemy.

In the Far East, as well as Europe, the United States has backed other totalitarian-minded groups as a “bulwark” against communism. By the end of World War II, the peoples of China, Korea, Indo-China, and the Philippines had suffered for years under the “New Order for Asia” sponsored by the Japanese equivalent of Farben, the Zaibatsu cartels. These cartels by force of arms won a stranglehold on the economies of these countries. Instead of rebuilding the Far East generally as fast as we could, we have peddled the fear that Russia would rob and plunder the people, while at the same time we backed the very forces which had already robbed and plundered them. The Zaibatsu cartels are as strong as ever. In Indo-China, we have backed the collaborators of the “Japanese New Order.” In South Korea, faced with a variety of truly democratic choices, we backed Syngman Rhee and the few landowners and cotton millers who cast their lot with the “New Order” gang.

The Voice of America must sound weak to those forced by the United States to choose between Communism and reliving the dark era of World War II. Their will to resist Communism is weakened—to put it mildly—by our facing them with this black alternative.

Can we expect millions of former vassals in Asia to rally around their erstwhile totalitarian oppressors? Can we rally Europe solely around the fear of Soviet enslavement while we deliberately sustain the forces which twice in recent history have enslaved that continent?

On the answer to these questions depends on our survival.” – Page 363

“To the inmates of Camp I, the word “Buna” (which included “Leuna”) was more frightful than “Auschwitz” — the Farben site more terrifying than any place except a large wooded area three kilometers east of Camp I. During the first weeks of construction the workers at Camp I were routed out of bed every morning, stood roll call, ate a poor breakfast, and were marched by the SS five kilometers to the plant. Until this day of testimony, Ambros had insisted several times that disciplinary actions on the site were the responsibility of the SS. Now for some strange reason, he admitted: “I do know for sure that already in 1941 one began to fence off squares, blocks, and in these squares no SS had any further business. That was the preliminary stage for having the entire plant fenced in.” The workers had confirmed this. Once inside the plant enclosure, they found that the Farben overseers outnumbered the SS by 10 to 1…. “We struggled to carry cables, collapsing under the strain; the work was too heavy even for a nourished man.” “Once the inmates were assigned to Farben Meister, they became his slaves.” The prisoners of war, who were given easier jobs, remembered better and longer than most. “The inmates were forced to carry one-hundred C-weight bags of cement. It took four men to lift one bag and put it on the back of one man. When inmates couldn’t go along quickly enough to satisfy the Farben Meister, the Meister beat them with sticks and iron bars and punched them with his fists and kicked them. I have often seen them beaten to death with iron bars.” “When inmates first arrived at the I.G. Farben factory,” one of Ambrus’ underlings had testified, “They looked reasonably well. In two or three months, they were hardly recognizable as the same people; the worst thing was the lack of food… I am not a scientist, Mr. Counselor, I would not pose as an expert on calories or grams or liters. I can merely say what I saw…. And my Czech physician friend was an expert. The Czech physician said: “The prisoners were condemned to burn up their own body weight by working.” Before construction was finished, nine out of ten punishments were meted out by the Farben plant employees. The SS at Camp I became concerned with the depletion of the labor supply. The most ironical occurrences were the repeated complaints of an SS man to his superior that a Farben foreman was beating the prisoners too often — it happened at the plant as it happened at the mine. “I did not observe anything of that kind,” Ambros said – Portions from pages 178 – 181

The buna factory they wanted to build would have a capacity larger than any of the others. They would need a million tons of hard coal, and Oswiecem was on the southern border of the Silisian coal fields. The plant needed as much power as the city of Berlin, and here at Oswiecem three rivers united—the Sola, the Przemsze, and the Little Vistula. East of the town was another river which could furnish extra power and would take off the waste from plant.

A buna factory needed a lot of water, even in winter. They planned to cut a canal to connect the Vistula to the Oder a few miles away. Oswiecem was on a level plain, and all the waters of all the rivers around could be harnessed without flooding. Oswiecem fell on a line between Krakow and Vienna, and the old short stretches of railways could be joined to ship the buna back to the Reich. Said Ter Meer: “There were really so many of our industrial prerequisites that one has to admit that this location, Auschwitz, was ideal industrially.”

Ter Meer and Ambros looked over the people. “Nature had endowed this place, “Ambros said. “There were men and women [in the whole territory] working partly in industry and also doing part-time farming work. Sociologically, the most ideal condition is to find workers who also have a small plot of ground. This meant everything a chemist could dream of.”

The impressions gleaned by the two doctors were almost Biblical. They were rapt in contemplation of a business which would offer a pastoral craft to the rural inhabitants. Early in the morning, the farmer would get up and milk his cows, then stroll off—lunchbox in hand—to the plant. He would work there in the afternoon while his wife and daughter toiled in the vineyard. Everything about the picture was charming—except that there were not 15,000 such farmers near-by.

But Ter Meer didn’t believe that Ambros, in inviting him there, had mentioned a concentration camp. ”I do not recall that he at the time discussed that some of the labor would be drawn from the near-by concentration camp, but I will say that Ambros, who in his reports was very exact, probably mentioned it, though I am not positive.”

Ambros was very exact.  A few weeks later, he reported twice to a group of buna colleagues at Ludwigshafen that plans were being made to build a second concentration camp at Auschwitz: “The inhabitants of the town of Auschwitz itself are 2000 Germans, 4000 Jews, 7000 Poles. The availability of inmates of the camp would be advantageous.”

Three thousand people were in Camp I. Then the second camp swelled the prison population to 14,000—Dr. Ter Meer was never to share his lunch with them. During the first two years of construction, reports came to his office of daily trainloads of “workers” coming to Auschwitz. Then Camp III and Camp IV were built, both nearer the buna factory than the other two camps. Then at last, in 1943, Ter Meer made a third visit to Auschwitz. Returning to Frankfurt, he had himself transferred to Italy, where he became plenipotentiary for the Italian chemical industries. Ambros’ appeals followed him: “More workers are needed.” “Herr Doctor Ambros is asking for assistance at Auschwitz.”….

Q. We have heard from four other witnesses that there was supposed to have been a large chimney in this camp, too. Do you have any recollection of it?

A. I have no recollection of it.

pages 155 – 156

Ambros bowed as he took oath, exhibiting his sketch in all directions. He waved his counsel aside for the moment. He explained: “This tree of many branches I choose to call the Ethylene Tree to symbolize the Good and Evil in nature.”
Ethylene oxide, he went on, was the trunk which bore many branches “green with peaceful uses” and a few that were rotten with potential destruction. He pointed to lines he had drawn to cut off the rotten branches. Green branches had been his sole interest: soap for dirty soldiers, paint and cleaning agents for vehicles. “I still do not understand why I am here. The collapse promised everything but that I would be arrested.”
At Gerdorf, after those senseless investigations, the Americans had been kind enough to lend him a jeep and driver, to take him back home. Surely, if he had deserved arrest, the French at Ludwigshafen would have picked him up. He’d lived in Ludwigshafen since the mid-1920’s; people there thought he was just born for the place. If Heidelberg was the seat of chemical knowledge, Ludwigshafen was nature’s laboratory; and Ambros was the sort of man who liked earth running through his fingers. At Ludwigshafen, more productive than any other single Farben installation, were planted the synthetic seeds of every Farben product. Ludwigshafen put out the elementary compounds that became hormones and vitamins under Hoerlein at Elberfeld. At Ludwigshafen, the organic roots under careful cultivation grew their first ersatz offshoots. His “mother” was Ludwigshafen, said Ambros; but he owed a good deal, too, to his real father, a professor of agricultural chemistry, who had taken him into the laboratory before he could toddle. It was understandable that, at first sight of Oswiecem, he noted it was “predominantly agricultural terrain.”
When Bosch and Krauch hired Ambros, they got a young man with brains as well as feet in the soil. Bosch, recognizing a young excitable genius, turned him loose to study natural dyes and rosins and yeast breeding and sugar fermentation. Soon the Ethylene Tree was bearing synthetic twigs based on his studies.  – page 170

“Sure, we must have a theory. It’s just like what the first caveman said when he caught his neighbor dragging his wife away: ‘Would you please wait a minute while I get hold of a lawyer?’ When a hungry man steals a chicken, that’s larceny if the statute says it’s larceny. But stealing whole territories is not larceny — that’s foreign policy.”

The car almost went off the road as I listened to him expound. “Murder is a crime in every country in the world, but it’s no crime in the world-at-large because the Second Circuit Court of Appeals never said so. Ask Senator Taft. He never took the trouble to call it murder before anyway, so now he says: ‘How can you call it murder after the war is over? The charges are very badly drafted, Joe. We should have charged excusable larceny and justified, premeditated killing. That’s the kind of theory they’ll be happy with.”
“That’s hardly fair,” I said. “If judges felt that way, they wouldn’t be sitting on this trial.”
If only a “theory” were as simple as he had put it! The bitter edge of his tone suggested the simple injustices that “civilized countries,” one by one, had tried to remedy, but against which the world-at-large had done almost nothing. Yes, there was a lot of truth in Minskoff that couldn’t be squeezed into a usable idea for next Monday morning — or could it?….

“A surprise is coming up,” Minskoff said. “Get ready for a sharp right.”

Around the turn, behind a high barbed-wire fence, deep-green grass leveled out for more than a mile ahead. Set back a good distance from the road was a group of buildings covering an area of about three city blocks. Midway between the road and the building was a large sign: “Prager Verein.”
“We should have stopped in Pilsen,” Minskoff said. “In Pilsen, they still call this place ‘Farben.’ When Farben took over here, they impressed about 1100 people from Pilsen. Six hundred of them ended up at Auschwitz. Of course we’re in Bohemia now, but this is the parent factory of the first two chemical outfits Farben grabbed in Sudetenland—isn’t that right?”
I agreed. This is not being a part of his job, he must have learned the fact somewhere around here.
“Farben got to Czechoslovakia before Hitler did, didn’t they?”
I nodded as the car slowed down. Stopping, we got out and went up the main gate. The guard listened to our explanation, smiled, and asked rhetorically, “Americans?” and let us through. I thought of Paul Haefliger again, and of how Farben was always months ahead of the Nazis. Somehow that should mean more than it did. The Farben doings in Czechoslovakia were linked to the Farben doings in Austria the previous year by purpose and method, but from the legal standpoint they seemed to stack up as separate ventures. According to the Munich Pact the territories of Bohemia and Moravia were supposed to remain Czech. Therefore, technically Prager Verein was still “free” when Farben took over its two subsidiaries, in the Sudetenland. Regarding the taking over of the subsidiaries, I recalled a couple of sentences from the Farben report: “One 1st October began the marching in of the German troops. On 3rd October, Falkenau factory was occupied.” But Farben had been “negotiating” in Sudetenland a long time before that….

We might have been stopping at any one of three or four factories on Route 25 between Newark and Camden, New Jersey — except for that institution of evil. Farben had been months ahead of Hitlerin organization financial power and in the conquest of productive installations. The Munich Pact had been signed in September 1938. But even before Munich — and several months before the Nazi troops had marched here in Bohemia — Farben had been negotiating to try and take over this parent company. Also before Munich, another firm had arrived in Prague to compete with Farben. Von Schnitzler had sold a piece of Prager Verein to this competitor before he even had any part of it to sell. (Farben was to get this piece back after gaining a majority control.)
In Von Schnitzler’s own words, seldom had a “great international agreement been concluded so quickly.” At a conference in November 1938, in Berlin, to which the Prager Verein managers were “invited,” Schmitz and Ilgner had come to form an impressive audience to Von Schnitzler’s demands.
The pressure had culminated in a December meeting, Von Schnitzler presiding. The occupation of Prague was still four months away. Von Schnitzler used the Sudetenland occupation as the persuader. He told Prager Verein representatives that he knew they were trying to “sabotage” the deal and that he was going to report to the German government that Prager Verein’s resistance was menacing social peace in the Sudeten area. Unrest could be expected at any moment, he said, and Prager Verein would be responsible. Actually, there were not many Jews in Prager Verein, and Hitler had no plans at all for taking it over.
Missoff chuckled over Von Schnitzler’s commercial generalship. Farben had not only swallowed the lignite mines and dyestuffs of Prager Verein, but all intermediate plants, stocks, good will, patents, and trademarks. Altogether it was no small feat to do in a couple of months the paperwork that turned the fourth largest business on the Continent into a Farben subsidiary. Minskoff was chuckling even after we hit the road again. He quoted Cardozo’s dictum: “Every man has a little larceny in his heart.”

– Portions taken from pages 104 – 106

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Trade Secrets Documentary by Bill Moyers

 

 

Trade Secrets – Transcripts

TRADE SECRETS: A MOYERS REPORT
PROGRAM TRANSCRIPT

TEASE:

NARRATION: They are everywhere in our daily lives – often where we least expect them.

DR. PHILIP LANDRIGAN, CHAIRMAN, PREVENTIVE MEDICINE, MT. SINAI SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: We are conducting a vast toxicologic experiment, and we are using our children as the experimental animals.

NARRATION: Not a single child today is born free of synthetic chemicals.

AL MEYERHOFF, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR THE NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL: With chemicals, it’s shoot first and ask questions later.

NARRATION: We think we are protected but, in fact, chemicals are presumed safe – innocent – until proven guilty.

SANDY BUCHANAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, OHIO CITIZEN ACTION: Years of documents have shown that they knew they were hurting people, much like the tobacco industry.

PROFESSOR GERALD MARKOWITZ Ph.D, JOHN JAY COLLEGE: Historians don’t like to use broad political terms like “cover-up,” but there’s really no other term that you can use for this.

NARRATION: In this special investigation, we will reveal the secrets that a powerful industry has kept hidden for almost fifty years.

TRADE SECRETS: A Moyers Report

PROLOGUE:

NARRATION: There is a three-hundred mile stretch along the coast where Texas and Louisiana meet that boasts the largest collection of petrochemical refineries and factories in the world.

Many who live and work here call it “Cancer Alley.”

RAY REYNOLDS: Many, many nights we were walking through vapor clouds and you could see it. You know how a hot road looks down a long straight? Well, that’s exactly what it looks like – wavy. We would complain about it, and they would pacify us by saying, there’s no long term problem. You might have an immediate reaction like nausea, but that’s only normal. Don’t worry about it.

NARRATION: In the living room of his house a few miles from the chemical plant where he worked for 16 years, Ray Reynolds waits out the last days of his life. He is 43 years old. Toxic neuropathy – poisoning – has spread from his nerve cells to his brain.

MOYERS: What’s the prognosis? How long do they give you?

REYNOLDS: They don’t. There’s too many variables, and there’s too much unknown about it.

NARRATION: Dan Ross had no doubt about what made him sick. Neither does his wife of 25 years, Elaine.

ELAINE ROSS: Went to a dance one night, and he walked in the door, and I had never seen him before, didn’t know what his name was or anything, and he started shooting pool with a bunch of his friends, and the friend that I was with, I told him, I said, “That’s who I’ll spend the rest of my life with.”

MOYERS: Love at first sight?

ROSS: Uh huh.

MOYERS: Did he think that?

ROSS: No.

MOYERS: You had to, had to…

ROSS: I had to persuade him. When we got married, he was still in the Air Force, so he spent eighteen months overseas. When he got back, he had an eighteen-month-old daughter. And so probably the main thing was, he was worried about making a living for everybody, for us.

NARRATION: The plant where Dan Ross made that living produces the raw vinyl chloride that is basic to the manufacture of PVC plastic.

ROSS: Danny worked for them 23 years – and every single day that he worked, he was exposed. Not one day was he not exposed.

As the years went by, you could see it on his face. He started to get this hollow look under his eyes, and he always smelled. I could always smell the chemicals on him. I could even smell it on his breath after a while. But even up until he was diagnosed the first time, he said, “They’ll take care of me. They’re my friends.”

NARRATION: In 1989, Dan Ross was told he had a rare form of brain cancer.

ROSS: He and I never believed in suing anybody. You just don’t sue people. And I was looking for answers. Since I couldn’t find a cure, I wanted to know what caused it.

NARRATION: Looking for an answer, she found something that raised more questions instead.

ROSS: I was just going through some of his papers, and I found this exposure record. It tells you what the amount was that he was exposed to in any given day.

MOYERS: Somebody’s written on here, “Exceeds short-term exposure.” What does that mean?

ROSS: That it was over the acceptable limit that the government allows. So this exceeded what he should have been exposed to that day.

NARRATION: There was also a hand-written instruction.

MOYERS: And then there’s writing that says?

ROSS: “Do not include on wire to Houston.”

MOYERS: Don’t send this to the headquarters?

ROSS: Right.

ROSS: My question was: Why wasn’t it included – why was it held up from going to Houston?

MOYERS: What did you take that to mean?

ROSS: Somebody’s trying to cover something up. Why?

NARRATION: Her discovery led Dan and Elaine Ross to sue.

ROSS: And I promised him that they would never, ever forget who he was, ever.

DOCUMENT WAREHOUSE

NARRATION: And this is the result of that vow.

MOYERS: How long did it take you to gather all this?

WILLIAM BAGGETT, JR, ATTORNEY: Ten years.

NARRATION: Over those ten years, attorney William Baggett, Jr. waged a legal battle for the Rosses that included charges of conspiracy against companies producing vinyl chloride. Dan’s employers – and most of the companies – have now settled. But the long legal discovery led deeper and deeper into the inner chambers of the chemical industry and its Washington trade association. More than a million pages of documents were eventually unearthed.

In these rooms is the legacy of Dan Ross.

We asked to examine the documents buried in these boxes – and discovered a shocking story.

It is a story we were never supposed to know – secrets that go back to the beginning of the chemical revolution.

NARRATION: It was love at first sight. In the decade after World War II, Americans opened their arms to the wonders of chemistry.

Synthetic chemicals were invented to give manufacturers new materials – like plastic.

Pesticides like DDT were advertised as miracle chemicals that would eradicate crop pests – and mosquitoes.

The industry boomed.

Since then, tens of thousands of new chemicals have been created, turned into consumer products or released into the environment. We use them to raise and deliver our food. We clean our carpets and our clothes with them. Plastics carry everything from spring water to cooking oil. They’re in our shower curtains and in our blood bags. They are the material of choice in our children’s toys.

But there are risks that come with the benefits of the chemical revolution.

MT. SINAI SCHOOL OF MEDICINE

MOYERS: In this arm?

NURSE: Preferably, if that’s where your vain is good at.

NARRATION: Specialists in public health at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York – led by Dr. Michael McCally – are trying to assess how many synthetic chemicals are in our bodies. For the purpose of this broadcast, I volunteered take part in their study. A much larger project is underway at the US Centers for Disease Control.

MOYERS: And you’re looking for chemicals?

DR. MICHAEL McCALLY, VICE-CHAIRMAN, PREVENTIVE MEDICINE, MT. SINAI SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: Not the body’s normal chemicals. We’re looking for industrial chemicals, things that weren’t around 100 years ago, that your grandfather didn’t have in his blood or fat. We’re looking for those chemicals that have been put into the environment, and through environmental exposures – things we eat, things we breathe, water we drink – are now incorporated in our bodies that just weren’t there.

MOYERS: You really think you will find chemicals in my body?

McCALLY: Oh yes…no question. No question.

DOCUMENTS

NARRATION: These secret documents reveal that the risks were known from the beginning. The chemical industry knew much more about its miracle products than it was telling. And one of the most toxic was vinyl chloride – the chemical Dan Ross was working with.

PROFESSOR GERALD MARKOWITZ Ph.D., JOHN JAY COLLEGE: One of the indications they knew they should have been telling the work force and public about this is that they mark all these documents “secret,” “confidential.” They tell each other in these documents – “Keep this within the company, do not tell anybody else about this problem.” So they know this is dynamite.

NARRATION: Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner are historians of public health in New York. They were retained by two law firms to study the Ross archive.

DAVID ROSNER, Ph.D., COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: They certainly never expected historians to be able to look into the inner workings of their trade association and their vinyl chloride committee meetings and the planning for their attempts to cover up and to basically obscure their role in these workers’ deaths.

NARRATION: The hidden history begins with a document from May, 1959.

To: Director, Department of Industrial Hygiene, The BF Goodrich Company.

“We have been investigating vinyl chloride a bit. … We feel quite confident that 500 parts per million is going to produce rather appreciable injury when inhaled 7 hours a day, five days a week for an extended period.”

NARRATION: It is early correspondence among industry medical officers who were studying the effects of working with vinyl chloride. At the time, workers were regularly exposed to at least 500 parts per million.

November 24, 1959. Inter-company Correspondence, Union Carbide.

“An off-the record phone call from V.K. Rowe gives me incomplete data on their current repeated inhalation study. …Vinyl chloride monomer is more toxic than has been believed.”

NARRATION: BF Goodrich was one of the vinyl chloride producers in on the industry’s private conversations.

BERNARD SKAGGS: I started there in June–it was June the 3rd, 1955.

MOYERS: ’55.

SKAGGS: Uh-huh.

MOYERS: When you began, did you think the work might be dangerous?

SKAGGS: No. They told us it wasn’t. The only thing we had to watch about the vinyl chloride was not getting enough of it pass out.

NARRATION: Fresh out of the Army, Bernard Skaggs went to work at the BF Goodrich plant in Louisville, Kentucky.

There, vinyl chloride gas was turned into a dough-like mixture that was then dried and processed into the raw material for PVC plastic. Bernie Skaggs’ job was to climb into the giant vats that spun and mixed the vinyl chloride – and chip off what was left behind. Workers called it “kettle crud.”

SKAGGS: There was vinyl chloride everywhere. The valve, overhead valves had charging valves over there where the vinyl chloride was pumped into the reactors. All of those leaked and dripped. Most of them dripped on the floor all the time. They said it had to be – I think it was – 1,500 parts per million before you could smell it. Not only could you smell it, you could see it. It would – it would get into a vapor, and through the sunlight it waved, waves, and you see it. It was all the time that way.

My hands began to get sore, and they began to swell some. My fingers got so sore on the ends, I couldn’t button a shirt, couldn’t dial a phone. And I had thick skin like it was burned all over the back of my hand, back of my fingers, all the way up under my arm, almost to my armpit. And after enough time, I got thick places on my face right under my eyes…

MOYERS: Did you think it might be related to your job?

SKAGGS: At the start, no.

NARRATION: BF Goodrich would discover the truth.

From: The BF Goodrich Company To: Union Carbide, Imperial Chemical Industries, and The Monsanto Company.

“Gentlemen: There is no question but that skin lesions, absorption of bone of the terminal joints of the hands, and circulatory changes can occur in workers associated with the polymerization of PVC.”

NARRATION: In other words, they knew vinyl chloride could cause the bones in the hands of their workers to dissolve.

“Of course, the confidentiality of this data is exceedingly important.”

MOYERS: What does this memo tell you? This particular memo?

ROSNER: Oh, it tells me the industry never expected that they would be held accountable to the public about what was happening to the work force. They never even expected their workers to learn of the problems that they were facing and the causes of it.

NARRATION: Bernie Skaggs’ hands were eventually X-rayed.

SKAGGS: I was really shocked.

MOYERS: What did you see?

SKAGGS: Well, on the hands, my fingers were all–you know, showed up–the bones showed up white in the x-ray.

MOYERS: In a normal x-ray.

SKAGGS: Yeah, normal x-ray, yeah. And mine were okay till they got out to this first joint out there. Then from there out, most of it was black. Some of them had a little half moon around the end, and then just a little bit beyond the joint. And I said, “What is that? You’ve really surprised me.” He said, “That–the bone is being destroyed.”

MOYERS: The black showed that there was no bone there.

SKAGGS: Yeah, right. The bone was disappearing, just gone.

MOYERS: Dissolving?

SKAGGS: Yeah.

RICHARD LEMEN Ph.D., FORMER DEPUTY DIRECTOR, NIOSH: It was the slowness of action on the industry’s part that was the most striking issue in reviewing these documents.

NARRATION: Dr. Richard Lemen was deputy director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health until he retired five years ago. The Baggett law firm hired him to analyze the secret documents.

LEMEN: The basic tenet of public health is to prevent, once you have found something, immediately stop exposure.

MOYERS: So they should have told the workers right then.

LEMEN: They absolutely should have told the workers. Even if it was only a suspicion, they should have told the workers what they knew and what they could do to prevent their exposure to what they thought was causing the disease.

NARRATION: That is not what happened. BF Goodrich did not tell the workers, even though its own medical consultants were reporting the truth.

October 6, 1966

“The clinical manifestations are such as to suggest the possibility of a disabling disease as a later development.”

NARRATION: What the company’s advisers feared was that the dissolving hand bones could be a warning of something even more serious.

“May be a systemic disease as opposed to a purely localized disease (fingers). …They (Goodrich) are worried about possible long term effect on body tissue especially if it proves to be systemic.”

MOYERS: “…proves to be systemic.” What’s that saying? Interpret that for a layman.

LEMEN: What that’s saying is that this disease may be much beyond just the fingertips, that it could have effects on other organs in the body or other parts of the body.

MARKOWITZ: If all the doctor is looking for is concerns about tops of the fingers and has not been told in the medical literature that this might be a systemic disease, that this information is kept within the chemical industry, then that worker is going to be misdiagnosed. The worker’s condition is going to get worse, and there is no telling what the effects are going to be for that worker.

MOYERS: He could die not knowing what had killed him.

MARKOWITZ: Absolutely.

NARRATION: Goodrich executives did tell other companies what was happening. But they hoped…

“They hope all will use discretion in making the problem public. …They particularly want to avoid exposes like Silent Spring and Unsafe at Any Speed.”

MARKOWITZ: They understand the implications of what is before them and they are faced with a situation that could explode at any minute, and they are…

MOYERS: Politically.

MARKOWITZ: Politically, culturally, economically – this could affect their whole industry if people feel that this plastic could represent a real hazard to the work force, and if it could present a hazard to the work force, people are going to wonder, consumers are going to wonder what is the impact that it could have for me.

WASHINGTON, D.C.

NARRATION: On April 30, 1969 – ten years after Bernie Skaggs first complained to the company doctor about the pain in his hands – members of the industry’s trade association met at their Washington offices. On the agenda was a report from a group of medical researchers they had hired.

Confidential. Recommendations.

“The association between reactor cleaning and the occurrence of acroosteolysis is sufficiently clear cut. The severity of exposure of reactor cleaner to vinyl chloride should be kept at a minimum…”

NARRATION: The advisers recommended that exposure to vinyl chloride be reduced by ninety per cent – from 500 parts per million to 50 parts per million. But the Occupational Health Committee rejected the recommendation.

“A motion to accept the report as submitted was defeated by a vote of 7 to 3.”

NARRATION: Instead, they changed the report.

“Eliminate the last sentence ‘Sufficient ventilation should be provided to reduce the vinyl chloride concentration below 50 parts per million.'”

MOYERS: What’s stunning to me is that at this meeting were, representing the companies, many people with MDs behind their name, MD the chairman, MD the vice chairman, MD, MD, MD. And they were among those voting against the researchers who had said we’ve got a problem here.

LEMEN: I think that that reflects who the medical doctor’s patient really was. Was their patient the workers in the plant – or were they representing their employer? This is a fundamental problem that we’ve had in public health for a long time – and that is, who is more important? Is it the chemical being produced or is it the human being producing the chemical?

NARRATION: For ten years, the bones in his fingers were disappearing. In that time, the industry never told him what it knew. Bernie Skaggs was kept in the dark – until a few months ago, when we handed him one of the secret documents.

MOYERS: There it is, in black and white. Do you want to read it?

SKAGGS: “There is no question but that skin lesions, absorption of bone of the terminal joints of the hands and circulatory changes can occur in workers associated with polymerization of PVC.”

MOYERS: That was describing the condition you had.

SKAGGS: Right, right.

MOYERS: At the same time they were –

SKAGGS: They were resisting anything –

MOYERS: They didn’t say they knew anything –

SKAGGS: And that bothers me, you know. Well, to think that they’d be this dishonest with me. After all of these years – and I put 37-1/2 years in that place – and that they could be dishonest enough not to even ever admit to me that what they did and what they had was what caused my problem.

MOYERS: Then there’s another. Let me read this. The consultants said “This may be a systemic disease, as opposed to a purely localized disease.”

SKAGGS : This is the first I’ve heard of this. I didn’t know that. The company did a good job of I guess I’d call it brain washing. They actually told us, and they told us this, that this vinyl chloride won’t hurt you.

MOYERS: What do you think when you look at all these documents?

SKAGGS: Makes me more bitter than I was.

NARRATION: By the early 1970s, Dustin Hoffman had been famously advised in the movie, “The Graduate,” that “plastics” was the future. But the vinyl chloride industry was hearing something else.

A scientist at an Italian plant, Dr. P.L. Viola, had exposed laboratory rats to vinyl chloride – and discovered cancer. As he steadily lowered the exposure levels in his tests, the cancer persisted. The discovery cast a pall over the promising future of plastic.

NARRATION: On November 16, 1971, the men from twenty vinyl chloride-producing companies gathered at the Hotel Washington to discuss the bad news.

“Publishing of Dr. Viola’s work in the US could lead to serious problems with regard to the vinyl chloride monomer industry.”

MOYERS: How would you characterize the industry discussion?

ROSNER: Close to panic. There is a whole new ball game out there about who is going to regulate industry, how much influence industry will have over these agencies, and the discovery of cancer, of course, is, you know, potentially not only a public relations disaster, but a regulatory disaster for this industry.

NARRATION: At the meeting, one of the European industry’s own scientists presented an even more disturbing report.

“Doctor LeFevre theorizes that vinyl chloride is absorbed in body fats and carried to the brain.”

NARRATION: Despite the startling prospect that vinyl chloride could affect the brain, the companies took no action – and told no one.

“The present political climate in the US is such that a campaign by Mr. R. Nader and others could force an industrial upheaval via new laws or strict interpretation of pollution and occupational health laws.”

NARRATION: A year later, another Italian researcher, Dr. Cesare Maltoni, found evidence of a rare liver cancer – angiosarcoma. In studies sponsored by the European industry, cancer appeared in rats exposed to levels of vinyl chloride common on factory floors in the US. The panicked industry came running.

MARKOWITZ: Two or three American representatives of the chemical industry go over to Bologna and the Europeans tell them that there are cancers now not only at the very high levels, at thousands of parts per million, but down to 250 parts per million. And yet they are determined to keep this secret. And they go so far as to even sign a secrecy agreement between the Europeans and the Americans so that each of their researchers will be secret from everybody outside the industry.

MOYERS: They get together, the American representatives and the European representatives, and they say this is top secret, we are not going to make it public…

MARKOWITZ: Exactly. They…

MOYERS: …to anybody? To the workers?

MARKOWITZ: To the workers.

MOYERS: To the doctors?

MARKOWITZ: To the doctors. No one is going to get this information except the companies who have signed the secrecy agreement.

NARRATION: Conoco, BF Goodrich, Dow, Shell, Ethyl, Union Carbide – some of the founding fathers of the chemical revolution – were among those who signed the secrecy agreement, even as they were admitting to themselves the bad news.

February 13, 1973. Union Carbide. Internal Correspondence. Confidential.

“Dow Chemical Company reviewed the work on the European study. They report the results on rats are probably undeniable.”

Ethyl Corporation. Inter-Office. Subject: Vinyl Chloride.

“All agreed the results certainly indicate a positive carcinogenic effect above or at 250 parts per million.”

NARRATION: The companies knew. Working with vinyl chloride – even at low levels of exposure – could cause cancer.

WASHINGTON, DC

NARRATION: By 1973, the federal government was trying to catch up with the chemical revolution.

A new agency – the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health – NIOSH – published an official request seeking all health and safety information regarding vinyl chloride.

Two months later, a staff member of the industry’s trade association sent a letter to member companies urging that they tell NIOSH about Dr. Maltoni’s findings.

March 26, 1973

“There is the aspect of moral obligation not to withhold from the Government significant information having occupational and environmental relevance… ”

MCA BUILDING

May 21, 1973. Manufacturing Chemists Association. Minutes of meeting.

NARRATION: But meeting in their conference room in Washington, they discussed keeping secret what they knew of the dangers posed by vinyl chloride.

“We should not volunteer reference to the European project, but in response to direct inquiry, we could not deny awareness of the project and knowledge concerning certain preliminary results.”

MARKOWITZ: It is an extraordinary situation where they know they should be telling the Government about this problem. They know that they are wrong not to tell them. And then they admit that their engaging in this kind of activity can be legitimately seen as evidence of an illegal conspiracy.

May 31, 1973. Union Carbide. Internal Correspondence. Confidential.

NARRATION: A Union Carbide executive reported to corporate headquarters that if the March letter admitting knowledge of Maltoni’s work ever became public, it could…

“could be construed as evidence of an illegal conspiracy by industry…if the information were not made public or at least made available to the government.”

ROSNER: You kind of avoid as a historian the idea that there are conspiracies or that there are people planning the world in a certain way. You just try to avoid that because it’s–it seems too–too unreal and too frightening in its implications. Yet, when you look at these documents, you say yes, there are people who understood what was going on, people who thought about the crisis that was engulfing them or about to engulf them and tried in every which way to get out of that crisis and actually to, in some sense, to suppress an issue.

MOYERS: Do you think all of this added up to, to use your word, a conspiracy?

ROSNER: In a moral sense, I think it was a conspiracy.

NARRATION: We have learned from the secret archive that when the industry met with NIOSH, it did not mention Maltoni or angiosarcoma.

Union Carbide. Internal Correspondence. Confidential.

“The presentation was extremely well received and …the chances of precipitous action by NIOSH on vinyl chloride were materially lessened. NIOSH did not appear to want to alienate a cooperative industry.”

MARKOWITZ: Historians don’t like to use broad political terms like “cover-up,” but there is really no other term you can use for this because the industry had the information. They knew the significance of the information they had, and they refused to tell the Government because they were afraid the Government would take action to protect the work force.

MOYERS: And yet, during this time, Dan Ross and others like him, working in vinyl chloride plants, were being told there was nothing to worry about, that there is no danger.

MARKOWITZ: That’s correct. The industry kept assuring the work force that there was not anything that they need to be concerned about and that they were going to protect the work force.

MOYERS: But they didn’t.

MARKOWITZ: No, they certainly did not.

LAKE CHARLES, LOUISIANA

NARRATION: The companies involved were among those producing more than five billion pounds of vinyl chloride every year – and they were expanding. In 1967, one of them – Conoco – was finishing construction of a new complex in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Dan Ross moved his family into a small house less than a quarter of a mile from the new plant’s back door.

ELAINE ROSS: He went to work there, he started as a pumper loader. And he moved up fast in the first year that he was there.

MOYERS: He was eager for hard work or…

ROSS: Or he was smart, he was smart, and a hard worker.

NARRATION: Another early hire at Conoco was Everett Hoffpauir – who took the job shortly after he returned from serving in Vietnam.

EVERETT HOFFPAUIR: We were in the start-up phase, and early operation phase, and they were getting all the bugs out of it, and we had a lotta releases, and we had a lotta problems. Prevailing attitude with management at the time was “Let’s get it back online; downtime is killing us.” So as long as it wasn’t gonna blow sumpin’ up, go on in there and do what you gotta do.

MOYERS: You were breathing it?

HOFFPAUIR: We were breathing it, get higher than a Georgia pine sucking on it, you know. It’s very intoxicating. It’s a lot like propane or any other light end, it’s aromatic and, like I say, it did give you a buzz if you stayed in it long enough.

Their attitude was, if you don’t wanna do the job, there’s four waitin’ at the gate waiting to take your job. Do it – or else.

Vietnam was winding down, had a lot of people that weren’t working or if they were, were working for a lot less money. And plant jobs were very attractive. So if you didn’t want to do the work, just say so – somebody’s waitin’ to take your place.

MOYERS: So you’d worry more about your job than about your health?

HOFFPAUIR: Well, sure you were. I had a wife and three kids at home that I had to feed, you know. Yeah. But nobody told you it was a real health hazard, so you didn’t worry about it.

NARRATION: But the companies were worried.

December 14, 1971. Ad hoc planning group for Vinyl Chloride Research.

NARRATION: To counter the damaging information from the European animal studies, the industry commissioned a confidential study of its own workers that it planned to use in its defense.

“The need to be able to assure the employees of the industry that management was concerned for, and diligent in seeking the information necessary to protect their health. The need to develop data useful in defense of the industry against invalid claims for injury for alleged occupational or community exposure.”

MARKOWITZ: They are telling the scientists this is what we want. They are giving them the money to do the research, and the scientists know that in the end, they have got to come up with something that is approximate to what their funders are interested in.

MOYERS: In other words, they were saying to the epidemiologists, the researchers, the scientists, here is the end we want. Produce the science to get us there.

ROSNER: That’s right.

MARKOWITZ: When research is conducted in that way where you are trying to protect the industry, rather than give the industry the information it needs to protect the work force and the public, the process of science is absolutely corrupted.

LEMEN: Good science is to design a study that will determine whether or not there is an effect from the exposure to the chemical. And you should design that study with the greatest amount of power, the greatest amount of ability to detect whether or not there is an effect. Therefore, you should study those workers that are most directly exposed and eliminate workers that don’t have exposure. That was not done.

MOYERS: Go to the pool of affected workers, not the pool of workers who might be on the margin of the process.

LEMEN: Absolutely. They didn’t do that. They included workers in their study that were probably not ever exposed to vinyl chloride.

MOYERS: So if you bring in secretaries and managers or people out driving trucks, you’re diluting the impact of your study.

LEMEN: Absolutely. Absolutely. And you can’t get a true result when you do something like that.

NARRATION: The researchers were restricted to studying employment records and death certificates. They did not interview the workers themselves.

MARKOWITZ: They were in, from their perspective, a terrible bind. They wanted the information to know if the workers had suffered any injury as a result of exposure to vinyl chloride, but they didn’t want to tell the workers that they might have been exposed to vinyl chloride and that there was a danger in that exposure. So they didn’t want to even alert the workers in any form through these surveys that they might have had a problem that they should investigate themselves, that they should consult with their doctors about, that they should be worried about.

NARRATION: The confidential documents reveal other efforts that affected the outcome.

October 15, 1973. Vinyl Chloride Epidemiological Study. Progress Report.

“Several companies have indicated that they do not wish their terminated employees to be contacted directly.”

LEMEN: If you have workers that have left employment, they may have left because they were sick. They may have left because they had had some reason to leave. And excluding them from the study gives you a very biased result.

NARRATION: The companies also worried that if researchers contacted the families of workers who had died, someone might get suspicious.

“This becomes even more complicated when one seeks information from relatives of past employees who have subsequently died. …In other words, we need the information, but at what risk.”

ROSNER: I think this is how we, as historians, are looking at it. If you could keep that knowledge secret, keep the causes secret, keep the information secret for long enough, workers will die of other things, they’ll vanish from the work force, they’ll go on to other places, they’ll retire and die of diseases that may or may not be directly linked to the experience in the workplace.

MOYERS: How are lay people like me, citizens, supposed to decide what is good and what is bad science?

LEMEN: That’s hard. It’s real hard. Science is easy to manipulate.

NARRATION: In the end, the industry got a report that said what it wanted.

Lake Charles, Louisiana. PPG/Vista.

“Study after study has confirmed there is no evidence that vinyl affects human health – not for workers in the industry, not for people living near vinyl-related manufacturing facilities, not for those who use the hundreds of vinyl consumer and industrial products.”

NARRATION: So workers like Dan Ross were not told why they were getting sick.

ROSS: He came home from work one day, and he was taking off his boots and socks, and I looked at his feet. The whole top of ’em were burned. Now, he had on safety boots, steel-toed, and the whole top of his feet were red where the chemicals had gone through his boots, through his socks, under his feet, and burned them, both feet.

MOYERS: You knew that chemicals had caused it?

ROSS: Oh, yeah. There was no doubt in his mind, because he had been standing in something. I don’t remember what it was. I said, “My God, what was it that goes through leather, steel-toed boots and your socks to do that?” You know, I said, “Don’t get in it again, whatever it was. Don’t get in it again.”

HOFFPAUIR: I got chlorine gas and I went to the hospital, but, you know, it, it was just part a the – it wasn’t an everyday thing that you got chlorine. It was a everyday thing you got vinyl and EDC. Chlorine’s a bad, “bad news doctor” there. It’ll hurt ya. But you weren’t aware. You knew that instantly. You weren’t aware that this insidious little monster was creeping up on you, vinyl chloride was creeping up on you and eating your brain away. And that’s what it all tended out to prove out that it was doing. Just eating your brain up. Who was to know? No one told us. No one made us aware of it.

MOYERS: We can’t live in a risk-free society, can we?

HOFFPAUIR: No, we can’t live in a risk-free society. But we can live in an honest society.

NARRATION: The chemical industry was not being honest with its workers. And it was not being honest with the public.

In beauty parlors across America, hairdressers and their customers were using new aerosol sprays. No one told them they were inhaling toxic gas at exposure levels much higher than on the factory floor.

ROSNER: Vinyl chloride is a gas, and it is used as a propellant in hairsprays, in deodorants at that time, in a whole slew of pesticides and other cans that are propelling chemicals out into the environment. So, if it turns out that this relatively low threshold limit is poisoning workers, what is the potential danger if it ends up poisoning consumers?

NARRATION: Once again, buried in the documents, is the truth the industry kept hidden.

March 24, 1969. BF Goodrich Chemical Company Subject: Some new information.

“Calculations have been made to show the concentration of propellant in a typical small hair dresser’s room. …All of this suggests that beauty operators may be exposed to concentrations of vinyl chloride monomer equal to or greater than the level in our polys.”

NARRATION: The threat of lawsuits gave the industry second thoughts about marketing aerosols.

Union Carbide. Internal Correspondence. Confidential.

“If vinyl chloride proves to be hazardous to health, a producing company’s liability to its employees is limited by various Workmen’s Compensation laws. A company selling vinyl chloride…”

MOYERS: “A company selling vinyl chloride as an aerosol propellant, however, has essentially unlimited liability to the entire U.S. population.” What does that mean?

ROSNER: The problem that they’re identifying is the giant elephant in the corner. It’s the issue of what happens when worker’s comp isn’t there to shield them from suits in court, what happens if people who are not covered by worker’s comp suddenly get exposed to vinyl chloride and begin to sue them for damages to their health.

MOYERS: Unlimited liability.

ROSNER: Unlimited liability. Millions and millions of women, of workers, of people exposed to monomer in all sorts of forms. This is catastrophic. This is potentially catastrophic.

Interoffice Memo. Ethyl Corporation.

“Dow … is questioning the aspect of making sales of vinyl chloride monomer when the known end use is as an aerosol propellant since market is small but potential liability is great.”

ROSNER: They consciously note that this is a very small portion of the vinyl chloride market. So why expose themselves to liability if this minor part of the industry can be excised and the huge liability that goes with it excised?

Allied Chemical Corporation. Memorandum. Subject: Vinyl Chloride Monomer.

“Concerning use of vinyl chloride monomer as aerosol propellant, serious consideration should be given to withdrawal from this market.”

MARKOWITZ: Here you have the industry saying we are going to give up this part of the industry, the aerosol part of the industry, because the liability is so great. But they are not going to inform the work force. They are not going to do anything about protecting the work force because the liability is limited for them. And so it’s a very cynical way of deciding on how you are going to deal with this dangerous product.

They have put people in danger. They have exposed a variety of people to a dangerous product, and, yet, they are not willing to say this is something we did, we didn’t know it, we, you know, had no way of knowing it, whatever excuses they wanted to make up, but they don’t even do that.

NARRATION: Some companies would give up the aerosol business – but quietly. No public warning was issued. Now, 30 years later, those hairdressers and their customers are unaware of the risks to which they were exposed. And it is impossible to know how many women may have been sick or died – without knowing why.

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY

NARRATION: 1974. B.F. Goodrich announced that four workers at its Louisville, Kentucky, vinyl chloride plant had died from angiosarcoma – the rare liver cancer uncovered by Dr. Maltoni. A link to their jobs could not be denied.

But neither workers nor the public knew that the companies had kept from them the clear connection between the chemical and the cancer.

WORKER # 1: My test came back bad and I’m only 26 years old, couple of young kids, really scares you.

NARRATION: When news of the four deaths broke, two hundred seventy employees were tested. Blood abnormalities showed up in fifty-five of them.

WORKER # 2: Fifty per cent of the guys I worked with in the late fifties aren’t around now, and that’s a twenty year period. And I’ve been here twenty and a half years.

WORKER #3: It just kindly upsets me and my wife, naturally, and my mother. It’s – I know it’s a problem. It’s, it’s, it’s just – what do you do?

NARRATION: The company provided no answers. But experts like Dr. Irving Selikoff, the country’s leading specialist in occupational disease, rushed to Louisville.

WORKER #4: Have they found anything besides cancer that vinyl chloride might cause? Or have you all looked for anything besides cancer?

DR. IRVING SELIKOFF: The liver can be affected even besides cancer. Scarring can occur in the liver. Fibrosis. The blood vessels can break, the veins can break, and you can get a fatal hemorrhage, even.

WORKER #5: Once you have found that a man has this cancer caused from vinyl chloride, will you be able to cure it?

SELIKOFF: The answer is, no. At this moment, we do not know how to cure angiosarcoma.

BERNARD SKAGGS: My opinion is, if the liver thing had not come to the forefront, I don’t think they would have ever admitted anything.

MOYERS: If those guys hadn’t died.

SKAGGS: If they hadn’t died. I’m thinking about those people that I knew that died needlessly. I’m the fortunate one. I’ve lived through it. I’ve survived it. Some of them were cut off in their youth. I mean, they were young people.

NARRATION: Nine months later – over the objections of industry – the government ordered workplace exposure to vinyl chloride reduced to one part per million.

NARRATION: The aftershocks of the chemical revolution resounded throughout the 1970s. New words began to enter our vocabulary.

In Missouri, oil contaminated with dioxin had been sprayed on the dirt streets of a small working class town. When flood waters spread the poison everywhere, the entire population was evacuated.

In upstate New York, where homes had been built on a long-abandoned chemical dump, children were being born with birth defects. Love Canal was declared a disaster area.

Scientists looking for PCBs found them everywhere – in the mud of lakes and rivers, in birds and fish, and so up into the food chain. They showed up in cow’s milk in Indiana and mother’s milk in New York.

These modern poisons were not only widespread – but long-lasting.

BENZENE

NARRATION: Then came the benzene scare. Although it was known to be toxic, its use in gasoline helped fuel the American economy. But as evidence mounted connecting benzene to leukemia, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration – OSHA – ordered that workplace exposure be lowered to one part per million – a regulation the industry, then producing 11 billion pounds a year, would challenge.

DR. PHILIP LANDRIGAN, CHAIRMAN, PREVENTIVE MEDICINE, MT. SINAI SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: It’s almost inevitable that when a chemical becomes part of the political process that its regulation is going to be delayed. A chemical that has no commercial value is easy to regulate.

NARRATION: To counter the proposed regulation with its own science, the industry created and funded a $500,000 “Benzene Program Panel.”

PETER INFANTE, Ph.D., DIRECTOR OF STANDARDS REVIEW, OSHA: The science at the time was that a) benzene caused leukemia. I think there was no question about that.

MOYERS: There was no doubt in your mind that workers were at risk who were using benzene in those plants?

INFANTE: There was no doubt at all in most scientists that I spoke with. I think the only ones that had a contrary view were some scientists that represented the industry.

NARRATION: Again, the documents reveal that, just as with vinyl chloride, the industry’s own medical officers had known of benzene’s toxicity for a very long time.

MOYERS: Here’s an internal memo from 1958, 43 years ago, from Esso Oil’s medical research division. This came out of their own medical center. Quote: “Most authorities agree the only level which can be considered absolutely safe for prolonged exposure is zero.” What does that say to you?

INFANTE: There’s certainly information that the medical department has, and that information, you know, is not being conveyed to the workers, and that information is not being used to modify behavior by the company.

NARRATION: Instead of changing its behavior, the petrochemical industry turned to the courts to stop the regulation. The companies argued that reducing exposure to benzene would be too costly.

October 11, 1977

“We assert that there is no evidence that leukemia has resulted from exposure to benzene at the current concentration limits. The new and lower limitation on exposure would represent an intolerable misallocation of economic resources.”

NARRATION: The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans – in America’s petrochemical heartland – ruled that the government had not proved the danger to humans to be great enough to justify the cost to industry. The victory propelled an offensive directed by the now re-named Chemical Manufacturers Association.

September, 1979. A Summary of Progress. Presented to the Board of Directors.

“Gentlemen, this is a campaign that has the dimension and detail of a war. This is war – not a battle. The dollars expended on offense are token compared to future costs.

“The rewards are the court decisions we have won, the regulations that have been modified, made more cost effective or just dropped. The future holds more of the same.”

DBCP

NARRATION: The companies had their battle plan in place when trouble erupted over a little-known pesticide – produced by Dow, Occidental and Shell – called DBCP.

WORKER #1: I worked in the DBCP unit itself manufacturing the chemical. And now after telling me that I shouldn’t worry about anything out there because it can’t hurt me, now to find out that I’m sterile from it, their answer was, don’t worry about that because you can always adopt children.

NARRATION: Talking among themselves, workers had figured out that many of them could not have children. Company officials claimed there was no pattern – and no evidence, even though newly-ordered tests proved disturbing.

WORKER #2: They ran a series of four sperm counts on us over a period of, I guess, two or three months. All my sperm counts came up zero. And I’d never been told in the whole time I’d been working out at Shell that this might happen to me.

NARRATION: What the industry also didn’t tell was that its own scientists had known of the dangers for decades.

Dow Chemical Company Biochemical Research Laboratory. July 23, 1958

“Testicular atrophy may result from prolonged repeated exposure. A tentative hygiene standard of 1 part per million is suggested.”

NARRATION: Dow had treated the report as “internal and confidential,” did not reduce exposure to DBCP – and did not tell the truth.

V.K. ROWE, Dow Chemical Company: It is our regular policy wherever to totally inform people about what the material is that they’re working with and what its potential is. So I can’t say precisely what was said in one situation. It’s generally throughout the company that we try our best to inform people about what are the hazards, how to avoid them and what to do if they have an accident – or what.

WORKER #2: The thing that bothers me, I think, more than anything is the fact that the chemical industry had no interest whatsoever in protecting us through telling us the dangers of what we were working with.

NARRATION: The companies were neither protecting their workers – nor their neighbors. An engineer at Occidental had alerted his plant manager.

April 29, 1975. Inter-office memo.

“We are slowly contaminating all wells in our area and two of our own wells are contaminated to the point of being toxic to animals or humans. THIS IS A TIME BOMB THAT WE MUST DE-FUSE.”

AL MEYERHOFF, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR THE NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL: DBCP was a reproductive toxicant, a very powerful carcinogen. It was found in drinking water wells throughout the country. It stayed on the market because to ban it, you first had to have an administrative process within a Government agency that was under great political pressure from power people on Capitol Hill. If you put enough hurdles up even the best-intentioned Government regulator is hamstrung.

NARRATION: The companies kept DBCP on the market for eight more years. And it would take a decade for the best-intentioned regulators to finally reduce the exposure level to benzene. By then, the evidence was so overwhelming the industry did not challenge the regulation. For some, it came too late.

LANDRIGAN: We knew how many chemical workers there were, how many rubber workers, how many petroleum workers, how many workers in other industries that were exposed to benzene, and on the basis of knowing how many were exposed and knowing the levels at which they were exposed, we were able to calculate how many unnecessary deaths from leukemia resulted from exposures during that 10-year delay.

MOYERS: How many?

LANDRIGAN: And the number was 492 unnecessary deaths from leukemia. Deaths that almost certainly would have been prevented if the standard had been reduced to 1 part per million back in the 1970’s.

MOYERS: What are the lessons that you would have us draw from this case of delay?

LANDRIGAN: Well, I think the most fundamental lesson is that we have to presume chemicals are guilty until they are proven innocent. What’s needed is an unpolluted political structure that is empowered to set regulations that protect the public health.

NARRATION: That’s not the political structure the industry wanted.

September 8, 1980. Report to the Board.

“The cold fact is that the Congress today has more influence over the agencies than the White House does.

“For even our best friends in Congress, there’s a limit to how long they’ll support us if the public’s against us.”

WITNESS IN HEARING: The industry’s gotten away with murder. That’s why they don’t move forward. Because it’s cost them some money and some effort, and if they’re not pushed, they won’t move.

“We need real muscle, the kind none of your lobbyists are likely to have as individuals. One growing source of political strength outside Washington is the Political Action Committees. PAC contributions improve access to Members.”

NARRATION: Through almost two hundred quickly-formed political action committees, the industry would contribute over six million dollars to the 1980 election campaign.

“When the time comes to play hardball, we’ll try to make good use of the political muscle you’ve been helping us develop.”

REAGAN INAUGURATION

NARRATION: Ronald Reagan was petrochemical’s favorite Presidential candidate. And four of the top five Senate recipients of the industry’s largesse were Republican challengers who defeated incumbents.

The industry was ready to play hardball.

September 28, 1981. Government Relations Committee. Pebble Beach.

“The Committee believes that the new climate in Washington is more reasoned and responsive. …The election of the Reagan Administration appears to have produced changes which bode well for our industry.”

NARRATION: The Reagan team asked business for a wish-list of actions that could be completed within the first 100 days. In less than a third that time, the new President signed an executive order that transformed the battle over the safety of chemicals.

CHANGES FOR THE BETTER

“President Reagan directed EPA to delay proposing or finalizing regulations until it could be determined that they were cost-effective and necessary.”

NARRATION: A prime target was the one law intended to give the Environmental Protection Agency broad authority to regulate toxic chemicals – the Toxic Substances Control Act – TSCA.

JACQUELINE WARREN, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR THE NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL: The whole theory of TSCA was that we’re not going to keep waiting until we can count the bodies in the street. We’re going to do some preliminary steps early on, catch the problems in the laboratory, get rid of them, identify the really bad actors, take some steps to reduce exposures, to find substitutes for these. That was the theory. It just in practice has never worked.

NARRATION: Case in point: A class of chemicals known as phthalates. In 1980, the National Cancer Institute had determined that one phthalate – DEHP – caused cancer in animals. By the time the Reagan Administration came to town, the Chemical Manufacturers Association was already spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on efforts to thwart any regulation.

“We must arm ourselves with cost calculations for alternate environmental control strategies; and we must feed that information to EPA as early as possible.”

NARRATION: Industry representatives and attorneys met three times with the number two man at the EPA. No environmental or consumer organizations were invited – or informed. Jacqueline Warren was one of those closed out.

WARREN: And we weren’t really there to say, “We represent another point of view on this that you should hear before you decide to go along with what the industry might be proposing”, since their interest is much narrower. They’re interested in their bottom line, their stockholders, their product, and they’re not as interested at all in what the potential health or safety or environmental effect of exposure to this might be. In fact, they’d rather keep that quiet if they can.

NARRATION: Although phthalates are widely used in common products from shower curtains to children’s toys, the EPA announced it would take no action to either ban or limit the uses.

MEYERHOFF: We refer to it as the Toxic Substances Conversation Act.

MOYERS: Because?

MEYERHOFF: They built in obstacle after obstacle and process after process where it is virtually impossible to get a known high-risk chemical off the market. There have been very few chemicals that have been actually banned because of their health risks. That’s because chemicals get far more due process than people do.

MOYERS: Chemicals have more rights than people?

MEYERHOFF: Far more rights than people.

NARRATION: The public protested that the Environmental Protection Agency had become a captive agency. What the public protested, the industry celebrated.

January 11, 1982. CMA Board of Directors. Grand Ballroom, Arizona Biltmore.

“Just ten days ago, TSCA celebrated its fifth birthday. The first five years of TSCA have seen numerous rules proposed by the Agency. To date, we have seen none of these types of rules finalized.”

WARREN: In terms of what we thought TSCA was going to mean, we haven’t made a big dent in getting tested the very large number of chemicals that are all over the environment and to which people are exposed to all the time, for which there are some data already available to suggest that they may be harmful. We’re still having to wait until the actual harm appears, and then try to do something about it.

MOYERS: Who’s in charge of the process now? LEMEN: The industry.

MOYERS: Regulating itself?

RICHARD LEMEN Ph.D., FORMER DEPUTY DIRECTOR, NIOSH: They’re in charge of doing that. The government is supposed to, but the industry has so much control through the lobbying efforts that they actually indeed do control it themselves.

NARRATION: To this day – almost 25 years after the Toxic Substances Control Act was enacted – only five types of chemicals, out of thousands, have been banned under the law.

INSTITUTE, WEST VIRGINIA

NARRATION: August 11, 1985. The accidental release of a toxic cloud from a Union Carbide plant in Institute, West Virginia sends 134 people to the hospital. It is only eight months after an explosion at a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India had killed some 2000 people – and injured 200,000 more.

REPORTER: When they told you it was a leak, what was the first thing that went through your mind?

MAN: India. Because you’re so helpless.

WOMAN: They didn’t know where it came from, they didn’t know what it was till two days later after it happened. You fumble and stumble and cause our lives to be turned upside down over things you misplaced – over 500 gallons of this mixture. Now I can see misplacing one or two gallons of gasoline around your house…

ROBERT KENNEDY, PRESIDENT, UNION CARBIDE: If we don’t make those chemicals, someone will. Someone will make those chemicals, and you know, you can wish the problems on somebody else. I had a dog once who overly aggressive and he bit a mailman once. And he missed a mailman about three times. And I was very upset about it. And I asked a vet finally if she thought that I could find a good home for that dog. And she said, Mr. Kennedy, don’t give your problem to somebody else. And I think I learned something by that. I don’t think we want to quit.

MAN IN AUDIENCE: When will you listen? I don’t want to hear your dog stories. We’re talking about people. And their lives and their homes and their families. You can have my job if you want it. Because by god, I can get another job. I can’t get another life.

NARRATION: Accidents were but one symptom of our co-existence with industrial chemicals.

In the late 1980’s, people began to agitate for the right to know more about the chemicals that they – and their children – were being exposed to.

WOMAN: I don’t think we should be afraid any more about talking about controls on the chemical industry. These are private companies -Carbide, DuPont, FMC, all of them – whose day to day decisions in those corporate board rooms are affecting our lives, our children’s lives, and the future generations.

MAN: What about cleaning up the industry? Stop the leaks, for Christ’ sake. Don’t kill me. Let’s do something.

NARRATION: In California, they did do something. In 1986, citizens themselves rounded up enough signatures to put the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act – Proposition 65 – on the California ballot.

MEYERHOFF: With Prop 65, if you are a manufacturer of a chemical and you’re exposing my family to a health hazard in a consumer product, in the workplace, in the air and the water, you have to warn me, and that makes a big difference because the public then doesn’t buy the product and it shifts the burden to the company.

MOYERS: You were really turning the system of regulation upside-down.

MEYERHOFF: Yes. It turned the entire system on its head, and that’s why the chemical industry and agriculture and others in California fought the law so hard.

NARRATION: Once again, we have learned from the secret documents how industry planned to fight.

June 4, 1986 California Toxics Initiative.

“A campaign fund of $5 million dollars has been targeted, with a broad coalition of industry and agricultural interests having been formed to finance and manage the campaign.”

MOYERS: “A total of $150,000 is needed by June 25th for fund-raising, research, and advertising, an additional $650,000 payable during July, August, or September.”

MEYERHOFF: Well, I always knew there were resources against us. I actually was unaware of the amount. That actually surprises me that there was quite that high level of dollars, and that was a lot of money then, to oppose Prop 65.

NARRATION: But the industry had been caught short; its money came too late. On election day, California’s right-to-know proposition passed – overwhelmingly.

MEYERHOFF: What the voters were saying is that we don’t trust the Government to protect us any longer from chemicals that cause cancer or birth defects or other harm, give us the information, tell us when we are at risk, we’ll protect ourselves. That was the basic message. And if you fail to do that, then you, a chemical company or grower or others, can be fined up to $5,000 per day, per person that isn’t warned. Prop 65 put the fear of God in the chemical companies, and it had never been there before.

NARRATION: Afraid of aroused public opinion, the companies vowed never to be caught short again.

June 3, 1987 Board of Directors Meeting. Chemical Manufacturers Association. State Toxics Initiatives

“Development of a funding plan which would include an industry-wide ‘pledge’…”

MOYERS: …”pledge” of resources company-by-company, pre-authorization to commit the funds to individual state campaigns.” Does that surprise you?

SANDY BUCHANAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, OHIO CITIZEN ACTION: Well, it helps me understand why they were able to marshal their forces so quickly in Ohio and from so far across the country, the idea that they were ready for it and committed.

MOYERS: But you didn’t know about this?

BUCHANAN: No. I didn’t know about that until just now.

NARRATION: Sandy Buchanan heads Ohio Citizen Action, the group which took the lead in getting a right-to-know initiative on the Ohio ballot in 1992.

MOYERS: Though you didn’t know it at the time, I assume you were up against a lot of that money?

BUCHANAN: We were up against about at least 4.8 million of it.

MOYERS: 4.8 million.

BUCHANAN: That was the final spending on the actual ballot campaign.

MOYERS: By the industry.

BUCHANAN: By the industry in Ohio. They definitely spent more money than that, though, because at every stage of the process through the legislature and others, they brought us to court and they tried to challenge the legality of our petitions.

MOYERS: So the industry spent 4-point–

BUCHANAN: 4.8 million dollars on the ballot.

MOYERS: And how much did you spend in trying to pass it?

BUCHANAN: Oh, about 150,000.

MOYERS: I would say you were outspent.

BUCHANAN: About 50 to 1 or so, yeah.

NARRATION: For the companies, the dollars spent to defeat the initiative were insurance against the greater loss of being held accountable.

BUCHANAN: If they can’t be held liable, if the tools that citizens or workers can use to try to defend themselves are taken away, then you can protect the bottom line of a corporation.

MOYERS: It would cost them money if people knew.

BUCHANAN: It would absolutely cost them money.

NARRATION: No state right-to-know initiative has passed since 1986. And two years ago, industry persuaded Congress to roll back a major right-to know provision in the Clean Air Act.

TEST RESULTS

NARRATION: Today, an average of twenty new chemicals enter the marketplace every week. We don’t know much about them – and we don’t know what they might be doing to us.

Back at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, Dr. Michael McCally was ready to tell me if residues of the chemical revolution had been found in my blood.

MOYERS: So what’s the news?

DR. MICHAEL McCALLY, VICE-CHAIRMAN, PREVENTIVE MEDICINE, MT. SINAI SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: We tested for 150 different industrial chemicals, and you have 84 of those 150.

MOYERS: Wow. Eighty-four.

McCALLY: Eighty-four.

MOYERS: If you had tested me sixty years ago when I was six years old, would you have found those chemicals?

McCALLY: No. No. With one exception.

MOYERS: What’s that?

McCALLY: Lead.

MOYERS: Lead.

McCALLY: Lead. Lead’s been around — we’ve been — we’ve been poisoning ourselves with lead since, you know, practically the cave ages.

MOYERS: So 83 of these 84 chemicals you found in my blood are there because of the chemical revolution –

McCALLY: Yes.

MOYERS: — over the last sixty years.

McCALLY: That’s correct. That’s correct. And we didn’t know this until we looked, but suddenly we find out that the industry has put a bunch of chemicals in our body that, you know, are not good for us, and we didn’t have any say in that. That just happened.

MOYERS: What kind of chemicals?

McCALLY: In the PCB case, you have 31 different PCBs of this whole family of similar chemicals. They are all over the place. And it’s probably a function of where you lived. You lived in some locale where PCBs were in the environment, and you got them into you through the air you breathed. Some of them get down in groundwater. Some of them get coated on food. You didn’t get them sort of in one afternoon because you ate a poisoned apple.

MOYERS: And dioxins?

McCALLY: And dioxins, of all that we measured, you had 13, 13 different dioxins.

MOYERS: You tested for some pesticides.

McCALLY: Yes. The organophosphates — malathion is one we may have heard of because we’re spraying it here in New York because of mosquitoes.

MOYERS: I used to spray malathion on my house in Long — on my yard in Long Island.

McCALLY: We also measured organochlorine pesticides. The best known is DDT. DDT hasn’t been produced in this country for several decades.

MOYERS: Yes. So where would I have gotten that?

McCALLY: Did you ever, you know, watch them spray the trees when you were a little kid?

MOYERS: Young man.

McCALLY: A young man? Yes. Okay.

MOYERS: And I lived around places that had used it.

McCALLY: Well, that’s enough, because again, like PCBs, these are very persistent chemicals. They don’t — the body doesn’t metabolize them, doesn’t break them down into little pieces and get rid of them.

MOYERS: How do the results of my test compare with others around the country?

McCALLY: I wish we had more data. I wish I could give you a clear answer to that. The burdens that you carry are probably biologically less important than if you were, you know, a 21-year-old woman who was in her ninth week of pregnancy. And then the fact that you were circulating some DDT might really be important.

MOYERS: Have these chemicals been tested in terms of what happens when they are combined?

McCALLY: No. No. That is a complexity that we haven’t even looked at.

MOYERS: Have they been tested on vulnerable populations like children?

McCALLY: No. We are just beginning to do that science.

MOYERS: Is it fair to say from all of this that we are, as human beings, being unwittingly exposed to hundreds of toxic chemicals which have been tested enough just to know that they’re toxic, but not tested enough to know the risks?

McCALLY: That’s a fine summary of the current state of affairs. We know enough now to know that it doesn’t make a lot of sense to make chemicals that are carcinogenic and add them to our bodies and then argue about how much we are adding. It just isn’t a good idea. Particularly when there are perfectly acceptable alternatives, and if the industry chose, it could change our exposures dramatically by its own actions.

NARRATION: Three years ago – on the eve of Earth Day – the Chemical Manufacturers Association promised that its member companies would begin to voluntarily test one hundred chemicals a year at an estimated cost of 26 million dollars.

FRED WEBBER, PRESIDENT, CHEMICAL MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION: Our vision is that we will be highly valued by society for our leadership, for the benefits of our products and for the responsible and ethical way in which we conduct our business. It’s as simple as that.

NARRATION: Today, we are still waiting for the results of even one of those tests.

During those three years, the industry poured more than 33 million dollars into the election campaigns of friendly politicians.

NARRATION: As the secret documents reveal, the promise to test – voluntarily – was part of a strategy hatched almost a decade ago.

September 15, 1992:

“A general CMA policy on voluntary development of health, safety and environmental information will…potentially avert restrictive regulatory actions and legislative initiatives.”

MEYERHOFF: The idea of a chemical company voluntarily testing its product is not unlike efforts to voluntarily regulate their products. It is an attempt to pre-empt effective government. It is an attempt to try to stop the government from doing its job by doing half-baked measures and then claiming that we’re protecting the public.

DR. PHILIP LANDRIGAN, CHAIRMAN, PREVENTIVE MEDICINE, MT. SINAI SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: There are 80,000 different man-made chemicals that have been registered with the EPA for possible use in commerce. Of those 80,000, there are about 15,000 that are actually produced each year in major quantities, and of those 15,000, only about 43 percent have ever been properly tested to see whether or not they can cause injury to humans.

NARRATION: The industry’s own documents confirm just how little we know.

Meeting of the CMA Board of Directors. Pebble Beach. Report of Health Effects Committee.

“The chemical industry has contended that while a few substances pose a real risk to human health when sufficient exposure occurs, the vast majority of chemicals do not pose any substantial threat to health. However, the problem is, very little data exists to broadly respond to the public’s perception and the charges of our opponents.”

NARRATION: That is worth repeating. “The problem is, very little data exists.”

In other words, the industry itself acknowledged it could not prove the majority of chemicals safe.

LAKE CHARLES, LOUISIANA

NARRATION: Lake Charles, Louisiana. In the spring of 1989, the family of Dan Ross gathered to celebrate their daughter’s graduation from college.

ELAINE ROSS: He was always the kind of man that wore denim. Denim shirts, denim pants. In fact, he got downright indignant if we tried to make him dress up. We thought that was what was wrong with him. He’d complained about having a headache that day, and Robin told him – that’s our daughter. She said, Daddy, you’re not wearing that to my graduation. You’re wearing a suit. We assumed that the look on his face was that he was mad at all of us and was gonna let us remember it forever, you know. And we laughed at him and teased him about it. But afterward, the headache didn’t go away.

NARRATION: Several days later, a CAT scan revealed brain cancer. In the last words he was able to speak, Dan Ross told his wife, “Mama, they killed me.”

ROSS: You start watching him die one piece at a time, you know. It’s like, okay, he’s blind today, but he can still hear, he can still swallow if I put something in his mouth. But he lost the use of one of his arms, and then next day it would be the other arm, the next day it would be one leg. And then he couldn’t hear anymore. The hardest part was when he couldn’t speak anymore.

NARRATION: On October 9, 1990, twenty-three years to the day after he started working at Conoco, Dan Ross died. He was 46 years old.

ROSS: They hurt somebody that meant more to me than my whole life. I would have gladly taken his place to die. Gladly.

NARRATION: Half a century into the chemical revolution, there is a lot we don’t know about the tens of thousands of chemicals all around us.

What we do know is that breast cancer has risen steadily over the last four decades. Forty thousand women will die of it in this year alone.

We do know brain cancer among children is up by 26 per cent. We know testicular cancer among older teenage boys has almost doubled, that infertility among young adults is up, and so are learning disabilities in children.

We don’t know why.

But by the industry’s own admission, very little data exists to prove chemicals safe.

So, we are flying blind. Except the laboratory mice in this vast chemical experiment are the children.

They have no idea what’s happening to them. And neither do we.

PANEL DISCUSSION

MOYERS: Now we want to discuss some of the public policy issues raised by what we’ve seen.

With me are Terry Yosie, Vice-President of the American Chemistry Council; Ted Voorhees, partner in the law firm of Covington & Burling – he represents the Chemical Trade Association in the Ross case; Ken Cook, President of the Environmental Working group — as a matter of disclosure, the foundation I serve made a small grant to Mr. Cook’s organization a few years ago, but I didn’t meet him until three weeks ago — and Dr. Phil Landrigan, a pediatrician and chairman of preventative medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Mr. Yosie, thank you very much for coming.

TERRY YOSIE: Thank you.

MOYERS: Given what we’ve just seen, how can the public rely on what the chemical industry says about the safety of synthetic chemicals?

YOSIE: Thank you, Mr. Moyers. If I were a member of the viewing audience tonight, I would be very troubled and anguished if I thought that the information presented during the proceeding 90 minutes represented a complete and accurate account of the story. It does not. For nearly two years, this program has been in preparation. At no time during that two year period have representatives of this program contacted our industry, asked us for information, or provided an opportunity for us to appear on the 90-minute segment.

We believe that it is a sad day in American journalism when two sides of the story can’t be told, when accuracy and balance are not featured in the broadcast. It’s our intention in the limited about of time that we have available this evening to correct some of the errors that we found in the broadcast, but also to present a more complete picture of who this industry does and what it represents and the benefit it delivers for the American people.

How can– turning to your question Mr. Moyers– how can the American people be reassured that the products developed are safe for the intended uses? We test our products and we report that information to the government. There are 9,000 chemical products on the marketplace today. They have been researched, they have been tested, and that information has been disclosed. We do not do this information alone. We work with some of the finest universities in the United States: people at Harvard, the University of California system, the University of Massachusetts– independent researchers with world-class reputations.

We have a major partnership with one of this nation’s leading environmental groups, Environmental Defense, and through that partnership we are disclosing information on those test results no matter what they show. So I believe this commitment to openness and transparency, to working together to identify information needs and to disclose this to the public is to pass the greater confidence in the products we make.

MOYERS: Mr. Cook, do you want to talk about that?

KEN COOK: Well, it’s interesting that you raised the question of testing. As I was struck by so many images in this program, one of the images was that of the x-rays of these vinyl workers who you had in your industry, medical doctors examining without telling them why they were examining them. Their fingers dissolving and this new program you’re describing, the symbol of it is two hands holding a globe. I don’t think I will ever be able to look at the logo for your program without thinking of those vinyl workers and their dissolving finger bones.

As for testing, one of the things that was striking about Bill’s results as I was thinking about it, was just how little is known about the products of your industry showing up in people. Do you, for all your testing you’re saying is being done, do you have any idea how many of the products of your industry, all your companies– it’s a good bit more than 9000– do you know how many show up in people? Have you even tested for that?

YOSIE: Let us respond to some of the issues you’re raising.

MOYERS: You don’t want to answer?

COOK: So you’re testing?

YOSIE: I want to respond to the issues that…

MOYERS: Before you do…

YOSIE: I think the viewers deserve our correction of some statements.

MOYERS: Well we’ll turn to it in just one minute, but how thoroughly are these chemicals tested before they come on to the market?

YOSIE: They are tested using the best scientific methods available, and they are tested not only for their potential hazard, but when we test a product, when we submit that information to the government, we are using standards set by our government, but also international standards. We are applying the best laboratory practices that have been defined by the scientific community.

We don’t do this work in isolation, and when we develop a product, we have margins of safety so that whatever potential effects there may be, we develop those products so that they ensure safety many times below where there could ever be an effect. Subsequent legislation has ratified that approach that we have taken for many years.

COOK: But this is legislation that you have opposed. I mean, your own documents show– whether it’s the clean air act, the clean water act, the safe drinking water act– straight on through, you can read the documents now for the first time that you have never made public before, and it’s quite clear that every time there’s an attempt to tighten regulation on your industry to protect citizens, communities from air pollution, water pollution, your own documents show how you have opposed that.

MOYERS: Let me bring Mr. Voorhees in on this.

TED VOORHEES: Thank you, and let me say that I have met Mrs. Ross, and I have a tremendous amount of sympathy for her situation having lost her husband to brain cancer. At a human level I have sympathy, but no amount of sympathy can justify putting on a program that presents an incomplete, slanted, and essentially misleading characterization of what happened with vinyl chloride.

And to take Ken’s example of the hands, as the first of a couple of examples let me give, the show tells the viewer that this hand problem appeared in the mid 1960’s, and that it was treated as confidential and secret by the industry. What the show doesn’t state is that as soon as that problem was found by B.F. Goodrich company, the doctor who found that problem in 1967, published his findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association, which is probably one of the most widely read professional articles read by doctors, and in that article on the hand problem, Dr. Creech included the very same x-ray images which you showed on your program as if they had been hidden and kept secret from people.

MOYERS: Did that document say that it was linked to the exposure of vinyl chloride?

VOORHEES: It absolutely did, that was the whole subject of the article.

MOYERS: Why didn’t the company tell Bernie Skaggs?

VOORHEES: Bernie Skaggs’ doctor knew about that because he read it in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

MOYERS: But why didn’t the company tell him?

VOORHEES: The company was telling his doctor — the person who would know and who would be able to react to something like that is a professional who would be able to see the relationship.

MOYERS: I believe the documents show that the company did not tell his doctor.

VOORHEES: Well, they published the study of the hand problem in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1967.

MOYERS: So was the doctor expected to just come across that in random reading? Why didn’t the company tell Bernie Skaggs directly? He worked for the company, Mr. Voorhees. Why didn’t they tell him?

VOORHEES: The Journal of the American Medical Association, JAMA, is not random reading. It’s probably the most widely read professional journal…

MOYERS: Sir, you’re not answering the question. Why didn’t the company tell its employees?

VOORHEES: I don’t know that they didn’t tell Bernie Skaggs.

MOYERS: The documents suggest they didn’t.

VOORHEES: The B.F. Goodrich company had a doctor at the plant. He was the author of this article in JAMA and he would have, as workers came into see him, he would have explained to them what their problem was and I would expect that would happen.

MOYERS: Was Bernie Skaggs lying to me when he said the company didn’t tell him?

VOORHEES: I am certainly not going to accuse him of lying, but what I’m saying is that the doctor at his plant published his findings immediately in the Journal of the American Medical Association and my point is, the program has suggested to your viewer that this was an issue that was kept in secret. Far from keeping it in secret, it was published in the most widely read journal, and the x-rays that were supposedly kept secret were a part of that journal article.

YOSIE: 40 years ago is a very long time. 40 years ago there wasn’t an Environmental Protection Agency. 40 years ago there wasn’t a clean air act. I don’t believe the viewers of this program are interested so much in what happened 40 years ago. I believe they are vitally interested in their own personal health and wellbeing today. They want to know that if the products that we develop and market are safe for their intended uses. They want to know if the products that they’re using in their homes are going to benefit them. and I believe the answer is…

MOYERS: Those are the questions that I sent you a month ago and said, “let’s talk about these policy issues.”

YOSIE: Those are the questions I absolutely want to address.

MOYERS: What about that?

LANDRIGAN: I think that’s really the central question, Bill, Terry.

Today there are many thousands of chemicals on the market. There are a number of chemicals that are registered with the EPA for commercial use is not 9,000; it’s over 80,000. There’s about 3,800 which are called “high production volume chemicals.” A couple of years ago, the Environmental Defense Fund, the same organization with which the chemical manufacturers are partnered, did an analysis of those high production volume chemicals to see what fraction has been tested. Now, to be sure, when the EDF were seeking information on how many were tested, they had to go to the open literature. They obviously didn’t have access to company documents.

In the open literature they found that only 43%, less than half of these chemicals had ever been tested for toxicity to humans. When they looked more deeply, when they asked more sophisticated questions, for example, what fraction of these chemicals has been tested for their effects on children’s health?

What fraction have been tested for the effects on the developing brain, the developing immune system, the developing reproductive organs, the endocrine system of babies? You’re down very close to single digits. Around 8% or 10% of chemicals on the market have ever been tested for these effects.

So I think that it has to be said here today that the toxic substances control act is a well-intentioned piece of legislation, but in its execution, it has mostly been a failure. It is just not doing an adequate job of protecting the American public.

YOSIE: There are not 75,000 products on the market today. There are 9,000.

LANDRIGAN: No, there are not 75,000 chemicals on the market, but there are that many chemicals registered with the EPA for commercial use. And of the 38,000 high production volume chemicals, fewer than half, less than half have been tested for their toxicity.

YOSIE: Mr. Moyers, you’ve had your own body tested and this was shown to the viewers. What was not shown to the viewers, that the products that we make probably saved your life. From what I read in the newspapers, you had a very serious heart operation at about 1994. You had a blockage in an artery leading to your heart. When your doctors discovered this problem and advised you and provided the professional counseling and expertise that made it possible for you to recover to the robust man that you are today, they were using our products. They diagnosed…

MOYERS: Are you sorry about that now? I mean, don’t you wish…?

(laughs)

YOSIE: I am delighted that you’re here. You look very healthy. They diagnosed your problem using technologies that we helped develop. When they operated on you, they used surgical instruments that we helped develop. To ensure that you did not contract a subsequent infection post operation, you were given medicines.

In addition, you were probably given medication afterwards to ensure your continuing return to health. I believe that your state of well-being today was directly dependent on the benefits that our industry provided to you and to every American.

MOYERS: I don’t challenge that, and I didn’t challenge that in our reporting. I do not challenge that.

YOSIE: You do not challenge that but you didn’t report it either.

MOYERS: You just said it. I told you a month ago we wanted you to come on and say what you wanted to say and you just did. But here is the issue that I think that Dr. Landrigan is raising, that my own body burden test is raising, Dr. McCally said to me, I said to him, “Should I be worried?”

He said, “At your age, 66, I don’t think so. But if you were a 21-year-old pregnant woman, it might be a different story.” And he said, “We do not know what this combination of chemicals, what effect it’s having on our health.” This is a new phenomenon. He said, “Your grandfather would not have had this.” This is a new phenomenon. And what I think I was asking in the broadcast, and what I hear Dr. Landrigan asking is, how do we find out what this combination of chemicals is doing in our body? Particularly to children. Are children the most vulnerable?

LANDRIGAN: Children…

YOSIE: Dr. McCally erred in what he told you. He said that 60 years ago the only compound that you would have in your body was lead. 60 years ago, American cities looked like an industrial wasteland. They looked like what Russia or China or Eastern Europe looks like today. 60 years ago, there were no pollution controls on industry or any other major products. 60 years ago, the area that I come from, Western Pennsylvania, people had to wear two shirts to go to work. One to wear outside, one to wear inside.

MOYERS: “Better living through chemistry.” I acknowledge that. We all acknowledge that.

COOK: I think as an environmentalist, I’ll defend your industry. But the thing that surprises me…

YOSIE: Thank you, I’ll take that compliment.

COOK: Let’s go back to the vinyl story. Again, for the first time now it are read tens of thousands of pages of documents that you never made public. If they so strongly defend your position, you never made them public. Now that they are public, one of the striking things about me is how you’re hiding your light under a bushel basket when it comes to inventiveness. Those documents clearly show again and again and again that your industry worried that if vinyl chloride standards were tightened, it would be the end of the industry. Companies would go bankrupt. They say this. They could not continue to operate.

None of them did go bankrupt when it went from 500 parts per million down to one. They all did fine. In fact, they made money. And I think what I respond to you when you make that point is, yes, there are many ways which chemicals make a difference in our lives. But there are also ways in which we can find safer alternatives. And in most cases, the fastest was to those alternatives is to put pressure on the industry beyond what you feel now to move you in that direction. You don’t go rapidly on your own, and that’s been shown time and again.

YOSIE: Three months ago…

VOORHEES: Can I respond to that?

MOYERS: Sure.

VOORHEES: Since he referred to the vinyl chloride story in the litigation, and I would say it would be fair for the viewer to think that the program was about concealment and secrecy. And what the viewer was not shown was that in each of the episodes that you portrayed in the program where you would show a document that says confidential or secret, what you failed to do was to show that shortly after that document was prepared, a study was published. For example, I’ll just give you few examples.

The Viola study in 1970, the first Italian researcher who found some signs of carcinogenity in laboratory animal experiments, and you showed a document that said this could potential be problematic and should be confidential. What you didn’t say is that Viola’s study on that subject was published in 1970, the next year after the confidential document. So the point is, that when we research was being done on these very subjects, research on… initially on laboratory animals, that the research was published and there was not one reference in that whole program to the published articles that followed each of these incidents that are referred to in the program. To me that’s a very misleading presentation.

YOSIE: Three months ago…

MOYERS: Let me just answer Mr. Voorhees. For one thing, it was because that Dr. Viola was going to publish his findings that the chemical association meeting took place to discuss what to do about it. And I was really astonished, Mr. Voorhees, in the materials you sent us before the broadcast which we examined thoroughly. You were very selective in what you gave us. You did not include in there the documents that show how the industry did not want to talk about it, Dr. Maltoni’s research, and made plans not to disclose that to NIOSH, even though NIOSH, the government agency, had asked for those… that information to be volunteered, and your industry did not do that. The documents make it clear that they did not talk about Dr. Maltoni’s argument. But that’s the past.

I would love to come back to this issue. Look, the people out there watching this thing, you know, we know our lives are better because of chemistry. But we also know that pediatricians and physicians like Dr. Landrigan are saying, we don’t know what this new combination is doing to us. So what is the question? What are the issues?

LANDRIGAN: I that’s the… excuse me, Terry. I think the issue, Bill, is that this is not something of the past. Many of the chemicals, for example, that were tested last week in that CDC report that was released to the nation on the 21st of March, are chemicals that reside…

MOYERS: That was the center for disease control, right?

LANDRIGAN: The center for disease control in Atlanta, that’s right.

Many of the chemicals which they tested, for example the pesticide products, are relatively short-lived chemicals. Those are chemicals, when they get into the body of a child, only stay there for a matter of weeks or at most a month or two, and then they’re gone.

So the chemicals that were measured by CDC in Americans are chemicals where the exposures are taking place today. And in response to your question, it’s absolutely true that children are the most vulnerable among us to those chemicals, and kids are vulnerable for two reasons. First of all, they take more chemicals into their body. They breathe more air. They drink more water. They eat more food pound for pound. So they take more chemicals into their body that are present in the air, on their food, in their water. And of course, kids play on the floor. They drop a lollipop on the rug. If there’s pesticide on that rug, they pick up the lollipop, they put the lollipop into their mouths and the pesticide gets in.

Then on top of that, besides being more heavily exposed, kids are biologically more vulnerable. I mean, anybody who has seen a little child– I’ve got a grandson who is just a bit over a year old– anybody who’s got a little child knows how precious and how vulnerable they are. Their brains are growing and developing. If a chemical like lead, like a pesticide, like PCB’s, like organic mercury gets into the brain of a baby during those early months of development, the consequences can be life-long.

YOSIE: Three months ago, the Department of Health and Human Services… Please, Bill, please, be fair.

LANDRIGAN: What really troubles me here is we don’t know… we simply do not know the long-term consequences of exposures in early life. As a pediatrician, as a parent, as a grandparent…

MOYERS: But what’s the public’s policy you’d like to see come out of this, and I would like to hear Terry Yosie say why the industry wouldn’t support that public policy?

LANDRIGAN: I think we need four things, four things only.

Number one, we need thorough independent testing of chemicals, including testing that looks at pediatric effects.

YOSIE: That’s underway.

LANDRIGAN: Number two, and it needs to be independent of the industry.

YOSIE: Colleagues… Mr. Cook’s colleagues in the environmental community are working directly with us. We just participated in a process with environmental groups and others to test compounds for their impact on children.

LANDRIGAN: Well, that’s… it just leaves…

YOSIE: There is an agreement in place to do just that.

LANDRIGAN: I’m glad. I noticed in the show itself that of promises were made, the results haven’t yet appeared. But the second thing that needs to be done is that we need to continue the nationwide testing of chemicals in the bloodstream of Americans that CDC has started. CDC, I understand…

YOSIE: We support that objective.

LANDRIGAN: And that’s good, that’s good.

YOSIE: We think the CDC report, which by the way, used technology that we helped develop. Those analytical methods that were used in your body and used on the recent CDC report are an outgrowth of our commitment to science to improve better analytical detection techniques. And so we support CDC’s continued efforts to learn more about the health status of the American people.

LANDRIGAN: Excellent. Number three, I think we need to work together. And this might actually be an area where the chemical industry and the environmental community and the academic community can work together. This is to support a national right-to-know initiative. For this nation, we ought to have the national equivalent of the Proposition 65 law that they have in California. Everybody in this country ought to be able to get good, accurate, unbiased information on every product they buy in the stores.

And fourthly, on the final need that I think we have to have in this country, is we need to have a more efficient, more effective process than we do today to get toxic chemicals off the market and to replace them with safer chemicals.

That’s what America’s kids need.

YOSIE: Two comments: One is, Mr. Landrigan, Dr. Landrigan, does raise the issue of what is the health status of children. Three months ago the Department of Health and Human Services, which includes the Center for Disease Control, issued a report. Let me read you a sentence in the very first paragraph of that report: “We’ve made life better for our children.” The Department of Health and Human Services, like the CDC, looks at the broad spectrum of issues that could potentially effect children’s health. And there is some very good news to report.

There are record child immunization rates. There’s a decline in youth drug use and smoking. There is a decline in teenaged mothers giving birth. There’s a decline in infant mortality. But even beyond children, cancer rates are down.

LANDRIGAN: Cancer death rates are down, cancer incidence rates are up, Terry.

YOSIE: But that’s an artifact of better reporting.

LANDRIGAN: No, it’s not.

YOSIE: Life expectancy rates in this country. We are living better and healthier, not only but because of the products we make but because people are being more sensible in terms of how they live and how they behave.

LANDRIGAN: The facts don’t support… some of what you’re saying is true, but it’s very selective.

YOSIE: I’m quoting to the CDC, Phil.

LANDRIGAN: You’re quoting part of a 30-page CDC report. Cancer death rates are down, but the number of new cases of cancer in children is up. I don’t know why they’re up, but since 1972, which is when we began to keep national records in this country, we have experienced a 42%… 41% increase in the incidents of brain cancer, the number of cases of brain cancer per thousand children. That is not a reporting artifact. We weren’t missing 40% of brain cancers 30 years ago when I started my pediatric career. We just weren’t. In young men 15-30, there has been a 68% increase in the incidents of testicular cancer.

Now, you’re quite right, American children today live longer. They live longer because we have conquered most of the infectious diseases in this country. But the rates of asthma have doubled.

YOSIE: What are the principal health risks that children today. To some extent they do come from environmental factors, but domestic violence…

LANDRIGAN: Oh, the principal cause of hospitalization of American children is…

YOSIE: …lack of access to healthcare, a number of other factors…

MOYERS: Are those not involuntary, but chemicals in our food and chemicals in our toys are not something that people ask for, they just happen, as you said I think, or McCally said in the interview, suddenly we’ve got all these chemicals in our body.

VOORHEES: These are products that have been very carefully scrutinized by the scientific community, by government agencies, and as a result…

YOSIE: Let me make one point if I may, one point, if I may.

LANDRIGAN: Why is there…

YOSIE: Phil made the point that we need to take the compounds off the market. That has been tried in many countries and disaster has resulted. The nation of Peru stopped chlorinating its water supply. Chlorine is one of our major products. What happened after that event? A cholera epidemic broke out and over 10,000 people in Peru and Latin America lost their life.

LANDRIGAN: And in this country we took tetraethyl lead out of gasoline American’s blood levels have declined 99%.

YOSIE: And proponents of removing chlorine are saying that ought to be done in this country. There are ten to 25 million people perishing because of a lack of a drinking water supply.

LANDRIGAN: In this country, over the vigorous objection of the Ethyl Corporation, we removed tetraethyl lead from gasoline. The average blood lead level in American children has declined by 90%, and the average IQ of American babies has increased by three points.

YOSIE: You and I were on the same side of that debate when I served as the official of the environmental protection agency.

LANDRIGAN: When you were at EPA.

YOSIE: When I was at EPA.

COOK: Yeah, but the companies you represent…

YOSIE: You and I were on the same side of that debate, and we still are.

MOYERS: What was that, Ken?

COOK: The companies you represent weren’t, and that’s the point. If you look at these documents which we now have– and let me just put in a plug, ewg.org, you can read 40,000 pages of them going back to 1945 now.

YOSIE: And we will correct those in abouttradesecrets.org.

MOYERS: What’s your web site?

YOSIE: Everybody’s got a web site. Ours is abouttradesecrets– that’s one word– abouttradesecrets.org.

MOYERS: And yours is…

LANDRIGAN: Childenvironment.org.

MOYERS: Covington & Burling?

VOORHEES: Well, we have a law firm web site, but I’m not sure people…

MOYERS: (laughs) Ours is pbs.org.

It’s only fair that you get a chance to answer this question, because as I’ve said to you, investigative journalism is not a collaboration between the journalist and the subject, and I did lay out there, Sherry Jones and I laid out, the record of the industry and opposing right to no initiative.

Why has, in every case that I can find, why has your industry opposed citizens effort to use the right to know initiative and every right to know efforts?

YOSIE: I think you have your facts wrong.

MOYERS: Tennessee, Hawaii, California, Ohio, Illinois, Massachusetts.

YOSIE: We supported the amendment, the Superfund statute, in 1986, creating the Toxic Release Inventory. We supported in 1990, the amendment of the Clean Air Act so that information would be made available to communities about chemicals that were being used in their neighborhoods. We supported, with Environmental Defense, the complete and total disclosure of any testing results going on with our current agreement with them. We had been a strong supporter of right to know, and here’s why.

We have had over the last dozen years, a program that has instituted over 300 community advisory panels wherever this industry is located in this country. We have learned a great deal from listening to communities where we play a major part. One of the greatest testimonials that you hear about this industry is from people who live near it, because they have seen the very direct health and environmental progress and the emissions reductions that result from our industry. When they have a question about plant safety or noise levels or environmental emissions, they have direct access to the plant manager. They have access to go inside the plant gates and see what’s going on.

COOK: I’ve talked to an awful lot of people…

YOSIE: That is why we have 60% decline in emissions over the last decade, the best of any American industry.

COOK: Well, you almost make it sound as if you volunteered to do that, and you did not.

YOSIE: We supported those measures.

COOK: Listen, what you selectively may have supported, everyone can now read what decisions you made and how you made them to take a stand on clean air and clean water and drinking water, and it’s… I respectfully disagree, it is not as you describe it. No, what these communities are often left with is just asking a plant manager, “Can you tell us?” No authority, no power under law to actually compel that information to come forward. And to get back to the testing point, I just want to, because there would be some confusion…

MOYERS: We have about 45 seconds.

COOK: There will be some confusion out there. If these chemicals are so well tested, then how come you had to come forward with a program just two years ago to voluntarily test the most widely used ones if they were tested? Some of them have been used for decades.

YOSIE: Because we’re a responsible industry. Because we’re always seeking answers to question. We’re a science-based…

COOK: About 40 years late.

YOSIE: We’re a science-based industry, and by nature we are asking these questions. There are a million men and women who work in this industry who apply chemistry to make a variety of products and services. I’m very proud to represent them here tonight, and as we close this broadcast, I want to thank them for the contribution they’ve made to society. They’ve made America a better, healthier and safer society. And to the viewing audience, I want to say that we are committed to continuing to improve our environmental health and safety performance. I think you all know that what happened 40 years ago is no reflection of the kind of industry that we represent today.

MOYERS: We’re going to let you have the last word.

YOSIE: Thank you.

MOYERS: Thank you very much, Terry Yosie, thank you, Mr. Voorhees, thank you Dr. Landrigan, thank you Ken Cook.

I’m Bill Moyers. Thanks for watching. Good night.

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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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A dozen dirty documents
Twelve documents that stand out from the Center’s new oil and chemical industry archive

By Kristen Lombardi for The Center for Public Integrity

The Center for Public Integrity, along with researchers from Columbia University and the City University of New York, on Thursday posted some 20,000 pages of internal oil and chemical industry documents on the carcinogen benzene.

This archive, which will grow substantially in 2015 and beyond, offers users a chance to see what corporate officials were saying behind the scenes about poisons in the workplace and the environment.

Here are 12 examples of what the petrochemical industry knew about benzene; the impetus behind industry-sponsored science; and the corporate spin that often occurs when damning evidence against a chemical threatens companies’ bottom lines.

What the industry knew:

The industry knew the dangers of benzene exposure at both high and low concentrations, as illustrated by this 1943 report for Shell Development Company by a University of California researcher.

“Inasmuch as the body develops no tolerance to benzene, and as there is a wide variation in individual susceptibility, it is generally considered that the only absolutely safe concentration for benzene is zero.” That was a conclusion reached in a 1948 toxicological review of benzene prepared for the American Petroleum Institute, a trade association.

Benzene’s dangers known in 1943 (pg 2)
This 1943 report, prepared for Shell, is among the earliest to suggest that any prolonged exposure to benzene may be harmful.

No safe exposure level (pg 4) This 1948 review, prepared for the oil industry’s main trade group, the American Petroleum Institute, continues to torment the industry in litigation alleging benzene can cause various types of leukemia and other diseases of the blood-forming organs. In essence, it says the chemical is so potent that there is no safe exposure level.

A 1950 consultant’s memo to Shell lists benzene as having “established carcinogenic qualities.”

Benzene recognized as a well-known carcinogen (pg 1)

This 1950 memorandum from a consultant for Shell Development Company notes that benzol — an obsolete name for benzene — is a well-known carcinogen. As the author states, the memo was prompted by “an increased concern about the incidence of cancer” among Shell workers.

Motivations for industry involvement in research:

In 1995, a benzene study by the National Cancer Institute caught the attention of Exxon scientists, who closely monitored it.

Industry interest in cancer research (pg 1)
An Exxon scientist, B.F. Friedlander, explains that he and industry colleagues are “monitoring” a series of studies by the National Cancer Institute because of their focus on “health risks at low benzene exposures.” The memo shows the petrochemical industry’s early interest in the work of the NCI, which has examined the effects on Chinese workers exposed to benzene at levels below the legal occupational limit in the United States.

While attempting to gain support for a proposed study of benzene toxicity in Shanghai, China, the American Petroleum Institute cites “a tremendous economic benefit” to companies, which could gain data to combat “onerous regulations.” A project overview explains that publications linking benzene to childhood leukemia may cause concerns about the chemical to “resurface.”

‘Tremendous economic benefit’ from the industry study (pg 1)
The six-page overview touts the proposed Shanghai research as a way for the petrochemical industry to gain an “accurate understanding” of benzene’s health effects, which, in turn, would bring “tremendous economic benefit.”

A 2000 summary of the API’s research strategy, drafted by the group’s Benzene Task Force, explains that the research program “is designed to protect member company interests.” The anticipated results could “significantly ameliorate further regulatory initiatives” to curb benzene emissions.

Protecting industry interests (pg 2)

The summary describes the intent of the API’s research program as being “designed to protect member company interests.”

An email exchange explains how “HSE [health, safety and environment] issues surrounding benzene as well as the litigation claims” against the industry compel companies to participate in the industry-sponsored study.

Motivations for research (pg 2)
An email from one Shell executive argues that the “litigation claims we continue to see” are prime reasons for the company to spend millions of dollars on the proposed Shanghai research.

A PowerPoint presentation from 2001 lists “significant issues of concern” to encourage financial support for the API’s research on benzene-exposed workers in China. Among them is “litigation alleging induction of various forms of leukemias and other hematopoietic diseases.” The study, according to the presentation, could provide “strong scientific support for the lack of a risk of leukemia or other hematological diseases at current ambient benzene concentrations to the general population.”

Significant issues of concern (pg 3)
This PowerPoint slide suggests “significant issues of concern” that the proposed Shanghai research might help combat, which would save the petrochemical industry “millions of dollars in expenses.” The issues include more stringent regulations and litigation from benzene exposure.

“Litigation support” and “risk communication” are listed as goals in this 2007 memorandum describing an API risk management program. Further objectives are to establish current regulations as “protective” and avoid additional action.

Oil lobby’s risk management program (pg 1)
The memorandum details the oil lobby’s benzene “risk management” program, intended to “develop scientific data” for it and its member companies to use for “science advocacy” and “litigation support.”

Corporate spin

An undated litigation defense guide written by a senior Shell attorney acknowledges the 1948 report on leukemia and offers a “comprehensive strategy” on how to respond to litigation, including releasing benzene-related documents only on court order.

Acknowledgement of the science showing no safe levels of benzene (pg 4)

Here the author, Richard O. Faulk of Shell Oil’s legal department, references a 1948 Toxicological Review prepared for the American Petroleum Institute. The review found that “the only absolutely safe concentration for benzene is zero.”

After a draft of an API recruitment brief reminds potential study sponsors of “personal injury claims,” an email exchange among members of the Benzene Health Research Consortium urges deletion of “the reference to legal liabilities.”

Don’t mention the legal liabilities (pg 3)

This email from a Shell executive responds to an attached draft of a 2002 recruitment brief that reminds prospective donors about benzene liability costs. In the email, the executive urges colleagues to delete “the reference to legal liabilities” and emphasizes that “the only reason we are doing this is in support of protecting workers.”

A 2001 email from the consortium’s communications committee explains that the perception of the study “needs to be that this is not being done to protect against litigation”

Controlling the message on benzene (pg 1)

The email shows the companies behind the Benzene Health Research Consortium working hard to control their message. It lays out the “scope of public affairs” for the consortium’s communications committee, which includes countering any “perception” that the Shanghai study was “done to protect against litigation.”

Click on the link below to access original article and archival documents.

http://www.publicintegrity.org/2014/12/05/16361/dozen-dirty-documents

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Internal documents reveal industry ‘pattern of behavior’ on toxic chemicals by David Heath for The Center for Public Integrity

Sixty-six years ago, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health wrote a report linking leukemia to benzene, a common solvent and an ingredient in gasoline. “It is generally considered,” he wrote, “that the only absolutely safe concentration for benzene is zero.”

The report is remarkable not only because of its age and candor, but also because it was prepared for and published by the oil industry’s main lobby group, the American Petroleum Institute.

This document and others like it bedevil oil and chemical industry executives and their lawyers, who to this day maintain that benzene causes only rare types of cancer and only at high doses.

Decades after its release, a lawyer for Shell Oil Company flagged the 1948 report as being potentially damaging in lawsuits and gave out instructions to “avoid unnecessary disclosure of sensitive documents or information” and “disclose sensitive benzene documents only on court order.”

Plaintiff’s lawyers like Herschel Hobson, of Beaumont, Texas, wield such documents in worker exposure cases to demonstrate early industry knowledge of benzene’s carcinogenic properties.

“It shows a pattern of behavior,” Hobson said. “It shows how industry didn’t want to share bad news with their employees. None of this information was made available to the average worker … Most of this stuff kind of gets lost in the weeds.”

No more. Today, the Center for Public Integrity; Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and its Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health; and The Graduate Center at the City University of New York are making public some 20,000 pages of benzene documents — the inaugural collection in Exposed, a searchable online archive of previously secret oil and chemical industry memoranda, emails, letters, PowerPoints and meeting minutes that will grow over time.

The aim is to make such materials — most of which were produced during discovery in toxic tort litigation and have been locked away in file cabinets and hard drives — accessible to workers, journalists, academic researchers and others.

Some are decades old, composed on manual typewriters; others are contemporary. Combined with journalism from the Center — such as today’s story on a $36 million benzene research program undertaken by the petrochemical industry — and articles and papers from Columbia and CUNY faculty and students, the archives will shed light on toxic substances that continue to threaten public health.

Exposed: Decades of denial on poisons

The benzene documents are just the start. In coming months, we’ll be posting hundreds of thousands of pages of discovery material from lawsuits involving lead, asbestos, silica, hexavalent chromium and PCBs, among other dangerous substances. And we’ll be on the lookout for other documents.

The inspiration for the project came when we realized that in CPI’s reporting on environmental and workplace issues, we routinely obtained reams of court documents. Often, these documents hold secrets found nowhere else.

Last year we reached out to William Baggett Jr., a lawyer in Lake Charles, Louisiana, who had acquired more than 400,000 pages of documents from a decade-long case against manufacturers of vinyl chloride, a cancer-causing chemical used in plastics. Baggett agreed to give us all of them.

At the same time, public health historians Merlin Chowkwanyun, David Rosner and Gerald Markowitz were collecting court documents to create a public database and had approached Baggett. We decided to collaborate. Chowkwanyun is currently a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and will be an assistant professor of sociomedical sciences at Columbia next year. Rosner is Ronald Lauterstein Professor of Sociomedical Sciences and History at Columbia. Markowitz is a professor of history at the City University of New York. Both Rosner and Markowitz have served as expert witnesses in a number of major cases related to these documents and have written Deceit and Denial: The Deadly Politics of Industrial Pollution and other books and articles based on them.

This is not the first database of its ilk. The University of California, San Francisco, maintains a massive collection of documents from tobacco-related lawsuits called the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library, which exceeds 80 million pages.

How to search the documents

Our database allows you to search for a word, combination of words or an exact phrase in any of the documents. You can also:

Do a search that excludes a word by putting a ‘-‘ sign in front of the word.
Do a fuzzy search that includes variations of a word by putting a tilde ‘~’ at the end of a word with the numbers of characters that don’t have to match exactly. For example, ‘planit~2’ will match ‘planet.’
Do a search that optionally contains a word by putting a ‘|’ between the words.
Do a search with a phrase by putting double quotes around the phrase.
Each document will include the court case from which it came, including the case title, case number, court as well as date filed and date terminated. The original complaint for each lawsuit is also part of the database.

Soon, we will make available a robust set of text-mining tools that will allow researchers to construct chronologies of documents; generate lists of common words, phrases and names; and sort documents in a number of ways. Qualified researchers will also have access to an even larger set of documents that will eventually contain millions of pages.

Robert Proctor, a professor of the history of science at Stanford, has used the UCSF tobacco archive extensively to do research for several books. He called it “an unparalleled treasure” that gives researchers the ability “to look through the keyhole of the mansion of this hidden world and see [corporate officials’] private thoughts, their intent, their ruminations, their jokes, their plans, how they treat their workers, how they treat the public…”

Proctor said he sees value in a similar archive on toxic chemicals. “The internal records of the chemical industry are known only to a tiny group of lawyers and journalists,” he said. “This is going to create a new kind of democracy of knowledge. It also will set the stage for whistleblowers to come forward with documents.”

That’s our hope. The search interface includes options to send us documents or contact us. The ultimate goal, to borrow Proctor’s phrasing, will be to give users “a strong magnet to pull rhetorical needles out of archival haystacks.”

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

http://www.publicintegrity.org/2014/12/04/16330/internal-documents-reveal-industry-pattern-behavior-toxic-chemicals

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