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This is Dr. Mary Sherman. Please remember her face because she tried to save your children’s lives by blowing a critically important whistle. She was brutally murdered for trying to warn you all. And the men she warned were destroyed as well.

Book excerpt from Mary Ferrie and the Monkey Virus: The Story of an Underground Medical Laboratory.

Chapter 3: The Classroom

“In one of my classes there was a student named Nicky. His father was Dr. Nicolas Chetta, the Coronor of Orleans Parish who was involved with Garrison’s investigation. Dr. Chetta was somewhat of a local celebrity for us. Not only was he an elected politician whose name was frequently in the press, but he was the team physician for our football team. Once he even took our class to on a memorable field trip to the city morgue….

Nicky erupted and said in a loud, tense voice that Garrison had gotten a “raw deal.”….

Then Nicky started talking. He held the class spellbound for fifteen minutes with information about the investigation, much of which had either not been revealed to the press or which they had basically ignored. We all listened carefully. His points included:

– that someone, presumably the FBI or the CIA, had bugged Garisson’s office and conference rooms and had stolen and/or photocopied his files concerning Clay Shaw and had turned them over to Shaw’s attorneys.

– that ALL of Garisson’s extradition requests for witnesses from other states had been turned down, as had all of his requests to subpoena former federal officials, preventing him from assembling the pieces of his puzzle in a court of law.

– that an ex-pilot named David Ferrie and a former high-ranking official named Guy Banister had been training anti-Castro Cubans for paramilitary assaults against Cuba at a secret training camp across Lake Pontchartrain, and

– that Ferrie and Banister had stolen weapons for this operation from a company in Houma, Louisiana which was operating as a CIA front. Nicky said he couldn’t pronounce the name of the company, but said that the name “looked German, but sounded French.” (He was referring to the Schlumberger Tool Company, pronounced Slum-ber-jay.”)

Someone asked Nicky why we had not heard all this in the press. It was a fair question. We had been taught that the press was the “Watchdog of Government.” How could they have overlooked these obvious and important points. Nicky paused and said Garisson’s favorite saying was “Treason never prospers, for if it prospers, none dare call it treason….

Ferrie was an unusual man in many respects. Professionally, he was a pilot. Politically, he was a notorious right wing extremist. Personally, he was completely bald from head-to-toe and was a homosexual who favored teenage boys… Ferrie died several days after Garrison’s investigation was made public. Garrison, who was about to arrest Ferrie for conspiring to murder President Kennedy, thought that either Ferrie had been murdered to silence him or that Ferrie had silenced himself. But it was the Coroner’s job, not the District Attorney’s, to rule on the cause of death. Dr. Chetta, Nicky’s father, was the Coroner and said he found no evidence of foul play. Therefore, he ruled that Ferrie died of natural causes (a ruptured blood vessel in the brain) and noted that Ferrie had been under enormous stress.

Nicky continued: Ferrie had known Lee Harvey Oswald when he was a cadet at the Civil Air Patrol and had been with him that summer…

Nicky said the day they announced Ferrie’s death, Bobby Kennedy called his father to discuss the cause of death with his father. A murmur shot through the room. Nicky countered by saying that he had answered the phone himself. Thinking it was a prank, he hung up on the Senator, But Kennedy called back. This time Nicky’s father answered the phone himself.

Then Nicky started talking about Ferrie’s apartment which his father had seen the day Ferrie died. Ferrie lived alone. But in his closets they had found both women’s clothing and priest’s robes. They also found a small laboratory with a dozen mice in cages which he used for medical experiments. His medical equipment included microscopes, syringes, surgical tools, and a medical library. When he talked to Ferrie’s other landlords, they were told of a full scale laboratory in his apartment with thousands of mice in cages. He was inducing cancer! Ferrie claimed he was looking for a cure for cancer, but Garrison’s investigators thought he was trying to figure out a way to use cancer as an assassination weapon, presumably against Castro and his followers.

A student asked, “How could they induce cancer?”….

MONKEY VIRUSES! The room groaned. I rolled my eyes and dropped my forehead into my hand. Why did it have to be monkey viruses? Garrison was already misunderstood because his plot was stranger than jazz – too complex, too subtle, and too bizarre for the American TV audience. Why couldn’t it have been something simpler, like injecting rats with radiation. Cancer from plutonium? The public might follow that, but cancer from monkey viruses! The rest of the country would never buy it. The very words conjured up a dark college of alienating images – diseases imported from tropical jungles in the bellies of insects mixed with monkey heads boiled in voodoo rituals on the edge of the Louisiana swamp at midnight. It was all “so New Orleans.”

You could feel that everyone in the room wanted to believe Nicky, but it was hard to know what to say. Then somebody said, “I don’t get it. How could a monkey virus cause cancer?” Nicky said he didn’t understand that part either. My brain was about to burst, but I wasn’t about to bring Tulane into the conversation. Then another student blurted out that there was a “kid” down at Tulane Medical School who was dying from the total collapse of his immune system. They couldn’t figure out what was causing it. They gave him every antibiotic they had and nothing worked. He would get better for a while, and then he would get worse. While this comment was interesting, it sounded “off the wall.” Two thoughts raced through my head. First, what did the uncontrollable collapse of an immune system have to do with our discussion about monkey viruses? And secondly, I said to myself: I’m obviously not the only student at Jesuit that has a family member working at Tulane Medical School. I was certain that this was “insider” information. It was the first time I had ever heard it (But not the last!)…..

“But Mom,” I said in an exasperated and serious tone, “weren’t they researching monkey viruses down at Tulane Medical School? Don’t you think there could be a connection?”

“Well,” she said, “one of the doctors from Tulane was involved in that lab.”

Now, I was stunned. “Wait a second,” I countered and tried to get my bearings. “Are you telling me a professor from Tulane Medical School was involved in David Ferrie’s underground medical laboratory? The one with thousands of mice?”

“Oh, yes,” she said matter-of-factly. “Everybody down at the medical school was talking about it. It was in that Playboy interview with Garrison that you had around here a couple years ago. I took it to Boston with me that Christmas to see your sister.”

“Who was the doctor?” I muttered. I could barely get the question out.

“Her name was Mary Sherman. Daddy knew her. He had a lot of respect for her. I think she was a pathologist. You know, she was more of a researcher than a physician. A cancer researcher, I think.”

“What happened to her?” I asked, resigning myself to the fact that some terrible fate must have befallen her.

“She was killed. Murdered. A terrible thing. Slashed with a knife, dismembered, and set on fire. It looked like a sexual killing, you know. But the grapevine said that whoever killed her knew what they were doing with a knife… maybe even had a high level of medical knowledge, just judging by the way the cuts were done. What a terrible way to go!”

“Did they figure out who did it?” I queried hopefully.

“No. The investigation was shut down all of a sudden. It was all hush-hush, like it had been shut down from above. But they think she knew her murderer and probably let them into her apartment.”

“You said Daddy knew her?”

“Oh, yes. They worked together for years. She was older and considerably higher up the ladder than he was, but Daddy always said that she was one of the top people in her field. He had a lot of respect for her. Professional respect, I mean.”

“Did you ever meet her?”

“Yes, we had dinner at her apartment one night. A strange woman, but very sophisticated and very well traveled. And very into theatre and literature, I felt very out of place. All I could talk about was my children..”
“On July 23, 1964, however, the day after Mary Sherman’s murder, Oschner wrote a letter to his largest financial contributor saying “our government, our schools, our press, and our churches have become infiltrated with Communism.” – Page 185.

(It appears the communists must have forgotten to infiltrate “our hospitals” and we all know what the Nazis and the CIA did to “Communists” who attempted to destroy their for-profit hydrocarbon/munition model that profits from the sick and injured.)

“All of Mary Sherman’s scientific and medical books, treatises and equipment “of every kind, nature, and description” whether in her apartment, office or laboratory were given to the Alton Oschner Medical Foundation. The receipt for this bequest was signed by Dr. Alton Oschner himself.”… (on June 15, 1965.)

Chapter 13: What’s Wrong With This Picture?

… What of this fire? What was the temperature inside her apartment? And just how badly burned was Mary Sherman’s body?

The newspapers were of no help on this question. Other than generally describing her body as “charred,” all the press ever said about the damage to Dr. Sherman’s body was one quote which appeared on the last day of the 1964 press coverage. It read:

The fire smoldered for some time – long enough to denude an innerspring and burn away the flesh from one of the doctor’s arms.

It is interesting to consider that this was the only detail the public heard about the actual damage done to the victim’s body until the police reports were released nearly thirty years later.

The Precinct Report said:

From further examination of the body, it was noted by the coroner that the right arm and a portion of the right side of the body extending from the right hip to the right shoulder was completely burned away exposing various vital organs.

The cause of death was…. 5. Extreme burns of right side of body with complete destruction of right upper extremity and right side of thorax (chest) and abdomen.

The Homicide Report summarized these same autopsy findings and added:

The right side of the body from the waist to where the right shoulder should be, including the whole right arm, was apparently disintegrated from the fire, yielding the inside organs of the body.

Further, it describes the clothes which were piled on top of her body, some of which had never even burned.

The body was nude; however, there was clothing which had apparently been placed on top of her body, mostly covering the body from just above the pubic area to the neck. Some of the mentioned clothes had been burned completely, while others were still intact, but scorched.

According to the Criminologist, the mentioned clothes were composed of synthetic material which would have to reach a temperature of about 500 F before it would ignite into a flame; however, prior to this, there would be a smoldering effect.

Just to be clear, let me state what I think this saying. If the temperature in the bedroom reached 500 degrees Fahrenheit (260 degrees C) the clothes piled on top of Mary would have ignited and burned. Yet they did not. Therefore, the temperature in the room did not reach 500 degrees. The police, however, attributed the massive destruction to her body, including the disintegration of her right arm and the right side of her torso, to this less-than-500 degree fire.

Whatever burned off Mary’s right arm and right torso had to be extremely hot! how hot? Who would know what temperature it took to burn a bone? Perhaps someone who cremated bodies for a living. Since I did not know anyone in that line of work, I reached for the yellow pages and looked under “F” for funerals. After several calls, I reached a very personable and articulate man whose job it was to prepare cremated remains for burial.

“What temperature does it take to completely burn a body?” I asked promptly, expecting a quick answer with the precise number of degrees.

“Including bones?” he queried immediately.

“Well, that gets straight to the heart of the matter. Yes, including bones. I am writing a book about someone whose arm was completely burned off in a fire, and I am trying to figure out what temperature would be needed to do that.”

“Burned their arm off?” he exclaimed. “How unusual! What happened to the rest of the body?”

“It was more or less still intact,” I answered cautiously, concerned that he was going to get us off track.

“That’s bizarre,” he said. “I can’t imagine that. Are you sure it wasn’t cut off somehow?”

While he still had not given me the temperature number, I was impressed with how fast he got to the heart of the matter. I had not said anything about the nature of the death. It could have been a car wreck as far as he knew. But I was determined to get a cremation temperature from him before discussing any circumstantial evidence which might somehow color his answer. So I politely asked him to tell me the temperature of a cremation oven.

He said, “Well, the cremation machines are automatic nowadays so you don’t have to set them, but an average cremation takes about two hours at about 1,600 degrees. But when you are finished, there are still bones! Depending on body size and fat content, some take longer. I have seen them as high as 2000 degrees and for as long as three hours. But when you are finished, you still have bones, or at least pieces of bones like joints, skull fragments, and knuckles.

I now had my cremation number, but I was busy thinking about his answers. In the lull, he offered to give me some background on cremations and explained some popular misconceptions. The common belief, he said, it that you put a body in the cremation machine and get back ashes. No, that’s not how it works. Yes, it’s true that there are some ashes produced by burning skin and soft tissue, but that’s a relatively small portion of what remains. Most of what is left after cremation is a box of dry bone parts. The next step is to grind up those remains so that they are unrecognizable. The final product is bone dust, a powdery substance that resembles ashes. Hence, the term and the misconception. What cremation technically does is rapidly dehydrate the bone material so that it splinters. Then it can be ground into a powder more easily. But bones do not burn. To emphasize his point he explained that even the skull cap, which is in the direct path of flame during cremation frequently survives.

While he was being very helpful and I was learning more about cremation than I anticipated, my goal was still to get a temperature figure which would explain Mary’s missing right arm, so I pressed on. “Can you estimate what temperature it would take to completely burn off an arm?”

“Knuckles and all?” he countered.

“Everything,” I confirmed.

“Well, it’s hard to say. Before I got in the business, I saw a lot of burns. Some were military pilots who crashed their jets and got drenched in jet fuel. I would have to get the bodies out of the wreckage. Jet fuel burns at thousands of degrees, but there were still bones left. I also saw people who had been covered with napalm and the like. But there were still bones left. I can’t imagine how hot or how long it would take to completely burn a bone to the point of disintegration, but it’s way up there.”

I was getting his point. If Mary’s entire apartment building had been burning out of control and had caved on top of her body, it could not have produced the type of damage described in the police report. The smokey mattress and the smoldering pile of clothes with their less-than-500 degree temperature were certainly not capable of destroying the bones in Mary’s right arm and rib cage. Then a critical point hit me: The crime scene did not match the crime. It is impossible to explain the damage to Mary’s arm and the right side of her body with the evidence found in her apartment. Or to put it even more bluntly, the damage to Mary’s right arm and thorax did not occur in her apartment. It had to happen somewhere else. Her body was then quietly brought back to her apartment and deposited so it could be found there. A second fire was set to create an explanation, however tenuous, for the burns suffered earlier. It’s no wonder nobody heard anything.

Something else had happened to Mary earlier that evening. It would require something more violent than a common house fire to disintegrate her entire arm and right rib cage. It would take something that could generate thousands, if not millions, of degrees of heat for a fraction of a second, vaporizing and destroying everything in its path. Something more on the scale of lightening or a fireball from an extremely high voltage electrical source which would destroy any tissue in its path, but leave the rest of the body which did not hit relatively intact. Perhaps it was even an extremely powerful beam of high-energy electro-magnetic radiation just like the one that disintegrated electrical engineer Jack Nygard when he accidentally got stuck in the path of his 5,000,000 watt linear particle accelerator near Seattle, Washington….”

There was one lone survivor who worked in this underground bioweapons lab and she wrote a book about it.

Important excerpts from the 600 page book “Me and Lee: How I Came to know, love and lose Lee Harvey Oswald”

(A more accurate title would be “How we were deceived into building a bioweapon…”)

“Then Dr. Ferrie explained that their cancer project was getting results faster than typical research projects, because they did not have to do all the paperwork, and all this was under the direction of the great man himself, Dr. Alton Ochsner.

Dr. Ochsner again. So he was involved in this, too. Dr. Ferrie said Dr. Ochsner knew how to get things done.

He had access to anything needed and avoided red tape by bringing in some materials himself from Latin America. Ferrie described Ochsner’s Latin American connections in more detail, saying that he was the on-call physician for many Latin American leaders. He kept their secrets and got rewarded in return, including big donations to his Clinic. As a result, Ochsner had his own unregulated flow of funds and supplies for every possible kind of cancer research, with no oversight. “We’re using various chemicals, in combination with radiation, to see what happens with fast-growing cancers,” Ferrie said. “We’re using it to mutate monkey viruses too.”
Mutating monkey viruses! Radiation! Fast growing cancers!
“That’s exactly what I’ve been trained to handle,” I commented, noting how conveniently my skill set just happened to match their research.
“I was told you were,” Dr. Ferrie said, without explaining how he came by that particular piece of information, but I figured it had to be Dr. Ochsner… – page 140

The configuration of these labs was basically a circular process which repeated itself over and over. With each lap around the loop of laboratories, the cancer-causing viruses would become more aggressive, and more deadly. Originally, these viruses came from monkeys, but they had been enhanced with radiation. The virus we were most concerned with was SV40, the infamous carcinogenic virus that had contaminated the polio vaccines of the 1950s. But the science of the day was not terribly precise, and cross-infection between species was common in monkey labs. So it was impossible to know if we were working with SV40 only, or a collection of viruses.

We assumed there were probably other viruses traveling with it, but whether it was SV40 or SV37 or SIV did not really matter to us. What mattered was whether it produced cancer quickly. For our project, these cancer causing viruses had been transferred to mice because they were more economical than monkeys, and the viruses thrived just as easily, which is why mice are so widely used in medical research.

This loop included a large colony of thousands of mice kept in a house near Dave Ferrie’s apartment. I called it “the mouse house.” People connected to the Project handled the daily care and feeding of the mice, bred them to replace the population which was constantly being consumed. Several times each week, fifty or so live mice would be selected based upon apparent size of their tumors. These mice had tumors so large that they were visible to the naked eye. They would be placed in a cardboard box and quietly brought through he back door of Dave’s house for processing. Once in Dave’s kitchen, we would kill the mice with ether and harvest their tumors. Harvesting meant cutting their bodies open and excising the largest tumors. The tumors were then weighed, and their weights recorded in a journal. The odor was terrible The largest of the harvested tumors had a destiny. We first cut very thin slices from these tumors and examined them under a microscope. We had to be sure what kind of tumor we had, in each case. Bits of the “best” tumors were selected for individual treatment: each specimen was macerated, stained, mixed with RPMI medium, then poured into a carefully labeled test-tube. These were placed in Dave’s table centrifuge, and spun. Most cancer cells went to the bottom. The liquid on top was poured into a big flask, then more RPMI medium, with fetal calf serum, ad sometimes other materials, was added to each test tube. These were the beginnings of tissue cultures, to be grown elsewhere. – page 208
… Both Dave and Dr. Mary (Dr. Mary Sherman) began describing chilling experiments on human brains being conducted at Tulane by Dr. Robert Health…

Dave said, “Listen to this, J. ‘Dr. Health Tells New Technique. Electrical Impulses Sent Deep Into Brain… [a patient]… had tiny wires implanted into precise spots in his brain. The wires were attached to a self-stimulator box, which was equipped at a push button to deliver a tiny, electrical impulse to the brain…” Dave paused to let what he read sink in. “I wonder how many brains Health went through before he had success with these two. How long did it take to find those ‘precise spots’ in their brains with his hot little wires?”…

“I doubt John Q. Public will ever have a clue,” Dr. Mary replied. “They certainly have no idea they were getting cancer-causing monkey viruses in their polio vaccines,” she added bitterly. Seeing my expression of shock, Dr. Mary went on to explain that she and a few others had privately protested the marketing of the SV40-contaminated polio vaccine, but to no avail. The government continued to allow the distribution of millions of doses of the contaminated vaccine in America and abroad.
She said she was told that the new batches of the vaccine would be free of the cancerous virus, but privately she doubted it, noting that the huge stockpile of vaccines she knew were contaminated had not been recalled. To recall them would damage the public’s confidence, she explained.
I was speechless. Were they telling me that a new wave of cancer was about to wash over the world?
“The government is hiding these facts from the people,” Dave said, “so they won’t panic and refuse to take vaccines. But is it right? Don’t people have the right to be told the contaminant causes cancer in a variety of animals? Instead, they show you pictures in the newspaper of fashion models sipping the stuff, to make people feel safe.”
My mind raced. It was 1963. They had been distributing contaminated polio vaccines since 1955. For eight years! Over a hundred million doses! Even I had received it! A blood-curdling chill came over me…. – page 281

He is soft on Communism. He refuses to go to war. He lets his baby brother go after the Mob, and errant generals. He plans to retire Hoover and wants to tax “Big Oil.” He thinks he can get away with it, because he’s the Commander-in-Chief.”
I caught my breath, and glanced at Dr. Sherman as she began taking dishes from the table. The frown on her face told me they were deadly serious. Dave cleared his throat and coughed. “They’ll execute him,” Dave said, “reminding future Presidents who really controls this country… those who rise to the top will gain everything they ever hoped and look the other way.”
Dave’s hands trembled as he spoke. His nerves were as raw as his voice.
“If Castro dies first, we think the man’s life might be spared.”
“How?” I asked, as the weight of his comments began to sink in.
“If Castro dies, they’ll start jockeying for power over Cuba,” Dave said, “It will divide the coalition that is forming. It may save the man’s life.”
“Where… how did you get this information?” I pursued.
“You’re very young,” Dr. Sherman said. “But you have to trust us, just as we have to trust you. If we were really with them, you wouldn’t be privy to this information. These people have motive, the means, and the opportunity. They will seem as innocent as doves. But they’re deadly as vipers.”
“What about Dr. Ochsner?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” Dr. Sherman said. “I can’t tell, Perhaps…”
“He’s an unknown element,” Dave broke in. “But we know he’s friends with the moneybags. He thinks Mary and I hate ‘the man,’ just as he does.”
“I think he might aid the others,” Dr. Sherman said. “Perhaps without even knowing it. He functions as a go-between. His interest was originally to bring down Castro, because he’s anti-Communist to the core. But he’s remarkably naive.”
Dr. Sherman explained that in the past, Cuban medical students came to the Ochsner Clinic to train. Now Castro was sending Cuba’s medical students to Russia. Ochsner resented this rejection. Some of those medical students realized that studying with Ochsner had made them rich and famous, so they were bitter about Castro’s denying them that right. Some of them were bitter enough to help kill Castro. Dr. Sherman’s comments called to mind Tony’s similar degree of hatred.
“The clock is ticking,” Dave said. “It’s going to require a lot of hard work if we’re going to succeed where all the others failed.”
“We believe we have something,” Dr. Sherman said. “But we want to see what you make of it,” soliciting my opinion and gently stroking my ego with her words. “Dr. Ochsner says you have serendipity.”
“Yes,” I replied. “He told me that.”
“It’s a rare compliment,” Dr. Sherman went on. “You induced lung cancer in mice faster than had ever been done before, under miserable lab conditions. Dr. Sherman reached over and took my hand, squeezing it warmly. “That’s what Ochsner likes about you. Your serendipity. And we know you’re a patriot. That’s why you’re here.”
“This is lung cancer we’re talking about,” Dave said as he began smoking his third cigarette in five minutes. “Your specialty.”
“That’s what they wanted me to work with, ever since Roswell Park,” I admitted.
“You’re untraceable,” Dave continued. “With no degree, nobody will suspect you, because you’re working at Reily’s, and you’re practically a kid.
“We have only until October,” Dr. Sherman said.
“Maybe the end of October,” Dave amended, as he snubbed out his half-smoked cigarette.
“You can choose not to participate,” Dr. Sherman told me.
“Yeah, we’ll just send you over to Tulane to see Dr. Heath. A few days in his tender care, and you’ll never even remember this conversation took place,” Dave said.
“You’re not funny! Sherman snapped at Dave, seeing my face. “Of course, nothing will happen to you, Judy. Dr. Ferrie and I are the visible ones, not you.
“Hell, I was joking,” Dave said.
“She is so young,” Dr. Sherman said reproachfully. “You frightened her.”
“I’m sorry, J.” He said. “What are you, nineteen?”
“I will be twenty, on the 15th,” I said softly.
Dr. Mary saw that I was trembling. She poured me a little glass of cordial and offered it to me, saying that it would relax me, but I declined to drink it.
“All I came here for was to have an internship with you, Dr. Sherman,” I said, adding that I still wanted to go to Tulane Medical School in the fall.
“Don’t worry, you’ll be there,” Dr. Sherman said. “Dr. Ochsner said he’ll sponsor you. That’s set in stone. – page 283 – 284
With the early-week crunch over, I took myself over to Dave’s lab and Mary Sherman’s apartment on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to continue our work on the Project. When I finished, as per instructions from Dr. Mary, I wrapped the specimens in newspaper to insulate them and dropped them in a car parked near Eli Lilly on my way back to Reily’s. That was usually Lee’s job, but this week I did it. Once the product was dropped off a driver would get into the car and whisk it away for another round of radiation, presumable at the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital. – page 315

Dr. Ochsner wanted to speed up the Project. He called me at Reily’s several times to ask for ideas. I offered him several. One recommendation was that we try to transfer from mice to monkeys again, but this time the monkeys should be exposed to radiation beforehand to suppress their immune systems. Ochsner liked the idea and noted that they had concentrated their radiation efforts on tissue cultures, not living hosts. I was surprised they had not done this earlier, since I had told them back in 1961 that I had used this method to develop cancer in mice more rapidly. So I recommended irradiating the monkeys to expedite things, and Dr. Ochsner agreed. – page 320

As an Executive Director at the International Trade Mart, Clay Shaw was at the center of the international trade community in New Orleans. Shaw’s mentors, Ted Brent and Lloyd Cobb, had deep connections to both Dr. Ochsner and the CIA. Connections between Dr. Ochsner and Ted Brent were so strong that Brent left the fortune he had amassed during his lifetime to Ochsner Clinic upon his death. The hotel on campus of Ochsner Clinic is named Brent House, in his honor. – page 325

That afternoon, Mr. Monaghan agreed to clock me and Lee out, so we could meet at 4:30 near Eli Lilly..

“Nobody should be denied medical care,” he said. “It’s a basic human right! Just as the right to own a house. The people in this country are serfs and slaves… And hell, if they get sick and are new in town, they can drop dead. Nobody cares. We’re living in a world as barbaric as ancient Rome!”

“Maybe Rome had some things better,” I offered, noting Rome had heated floors and trained doctors two thousand years ago. That led to Lee’s taking out the book, Everyday life in Ancient Rome, from the library for us to study.

About the same time, Lee created a fake health card for himself so he’d have vaccination ‘proof’— necessary for travel to backward countries. His vaccinations were up-to-date, thanks to Dr. Ochsner, but he couldn’t put that name on his health card. Instead he used the fake name “Dr. A.J. Hideel.” There was that name again! I’d seen it on the third floor at Banister’s, and a variation on a fake FPCC membership card Lee carried. “Hidell,” Lee told me, was a ‘project name’ used on fake ID’s to access certain funds. Further, he said he was not the only person using the name….
“Dr. Mary noticed me staring at the equipment.

“The marmosets are dying,” she told me somberly. “All of them, including our control group.”

I pondered the implications. Our bioweapon had migrated between the two groups of monkeys, presenting the terrifying possibility that our mutated cancer was not only transferable, but actually contagious. We both knew that from this moment on we needed to be concerned about being exposed to a contagious, cancer-causing virus.

For the next hour, I worked with the microscopes, until Dave showed up. As my eyes were tired, I decided to help Lee, whose hands were now thrust inside the clean box’s gloves, and leave the microscope work to Dr. Mary. I bent down and kissed his perspiring forehead.

“You shouldn’t touch me,” he said, through his face mask.

“I’m going to help,” I told him, putting on my lab coat. I could see a book in Lee’s pocket through the clear plastic apron. “I see you brought along Profiles of Courage,” I said to Lee, hoping he was finished with it, and I could borrow it from him.

“I’m trying to get my hands on everything I can about ‘The Chief,’” Lee answered… – page 386

Wednesday, July 10, 1963

I received an important call at Reily’s from Dr. Bowers, who told me Dr. Ochsner had asked him to relay the good news to me. He said that cells isolated from two of the lymphoma strains from the mice had produced dramatic results in the marmoset monkeys. They suffered from not one, but two variations of a galloping cancer. We had broken the barrier between mouse and monkey. Now we could move on to specific types of lung cancers, but would need to keep the mouse cancers going, in case a failure occurred, when we moved from marmoset monkeys to African Green monkeys. – page 383

“All right,” I said. “What agency do you really work for, and who is your most important handler?”

“You little spy!” he said, smiling. “Here’s the answer: I’m loaned to the CIA, and must sometimes help the FBI; but who my main handler is, not even God knows the answer to that. Certainly, I don’t. I call him “Mr. B.”

“As for me,” I told him, “I’m just a pair of hands belonging to Ochsner.”

“They don’t belong to Ochsner anymore,” Lee said. “They’re mine now.”

I asked him if I had a “handler.” Lee said, smiling, “Of course you do. It’s me.” He said I was a lucky woman. “I shall be your protector,” he said. “I won’t let any of them hurt you.”

I asked why would anybody want to hurt me? I was on the ‘good’ side. Lee explained: if you’re no longer useful, you could be thrown out, unless you were educated.

“You’re safer than I am,” he told me. “Officially, you were supposedly an unwitting asset. A good position to be in… – page 389

Lee asked if there was anything he still didn’t know about the cancer research project. “Well, you should know about the etiology of the cancer,” I told him. “I’ve never discussed it with you.”

“Etiology? What’s that mean?”
“Etiology means origins. This is no ordinary cancer, as you know,” I reminded him He agreed.

“It’s probably contagious,” I went on. That startled him, since Dr. Mary and I had not really discussed this point explicitly in front of him. I told him that the monkey virus, now altered by radiation, had moved spontaneously from the deliberately infected marmoset monkeys to the control animals. With it came cancer and all the marmoset monkeys were now dying. That’s why there were suddenly all the extra precautions in Dave’s lab.

“Remind me not to eat or drink anything over at Dave’s,” Lee said soberly as he pondered the idea of working around a contagious cancer virus…

“We’ve created a galloping cancer,” I went on. “I think a bacteriophage could be altered to take out even these cancer cells. But nobody’s going down that road. We’re developing this weapon to eliminate a head of state. But what if we get Castro? Will they really just throw this stuff away? I asked, shivering at the thought.

“It could be used as a weapon of mass destruction,” Lee answered simply…

Lee asked how many people understood the science behind the Project. I told him Ochsner, Sherman, Dave and I surely knew how it was made and that I knew there were some other doctors involved, but once the bioweapon was created, it could be kept frozen for years and used by anyone who had access to it at some point in the future. We sank into deep silence as we contemplated the dimensions of what we had just said. How had my dream to cure cancer gone so wrong? – pages 390 – 391

July 19, 1963 Friday

That morning, Lee was on the Magazine Street bus with me in time to arrive at Reily’s before 8:00 A.M…. I clocked in shortly before 8:00 A.M., but I needed Lee to run an errand to Eli Lilly’s for the Project, so despite his efforts to be on time, he clocked in late again and got chewed out. For the rest of the day, Lee’s supervisors were all over him.

Lee advised Dave to keep an eye on me, but not to say a word—unless I got up to leave— until he got there. I gave Dave Lewis a grateful hug, then followed Lee to an old car that he had access to for the day, due to his training film project. This was an unusual car called a Kaiser-Frazer, which was discontinued in 1951. It was a roomy and surprisingly luxurious dark green 4-door sedan. I had seen it parked near the Eli Lilly office several times.

“You might want to take me to take you straight home,” Lee said, “if you’re too tired. But if you come along with me, you’ll get to see Carlos Marcello’s plantation.”…

This meeting was necessary, because it was time to test the Project’s biological weapon on primates. It had worked on the Marmoset monkeys, so it was time to try it on African green monkeys, which were closer to humans but considerably more expensive. These next steps involved the precise work that needed to be done in the monkey laboratory, so others would do that.

I had to discuss the details with Dr. Ochsner. After much of this technical talk, Ochsner said, “By the way, your boy Oswald is going to be a movie star.”

“I know he’s working on a film,” I said cautiously, not knowing how much Ochsner was privy to.

“I don’t mean out there,” Ochsner said suggesting that he knew about the training camp. “I mean here in New Orleans, on TV. Do you have a TV set?”…

“Sir,” I said proudly, “he doesn’t spend a dollar of the Project’s money unless he has to. He’s a patriot of the first order.”

“Well, he’s all of that,” Ochsner agreed. “I don’t deny it. I’ve taken the trouble to look into his records. And I’m thinking about better ways to use his talents.”

“He wants to go to college, sir,” I said. “Can you help him?”

“Young lady, we want him to stay put a while, where he’s most useful.” Realizing that he was clearly talking about using Lee as a spy, I realized that Ochsner thought of himself as part of the management of that operation, not just a technical resource working for Lee’s spymasters.

“So, who am I really working for?” I asked Ochsner bluntly. He shook his head from side to side in dismay and said that I was asking a lot of questions today, as if talking to a wall.

Then, he turned to me and said: “You’re working for the foes of Communism.” After a short pause, he smiled and added, “I’m not ashamed to say that I would spill every drop of blood I have for my country. And I have always known that you feel the same way.”

Ochsner then glanced at his watch, cut me off with a wave of his hand, and handed me a stack of new material to read. “Read these for us, and give us your input as soon as possible. The final step will be with our human volunteer.”

“Have you already found one?” I queried.

“You would be surprised,” Dr. Ochsner replied, standing up and learning me to the door. “There are many unsung heroes who have bravely stepped forward to accomplish the impossible.” Then he added, a little sadly. “There are risks that must be taken for great causes.”

“Am I doing alright, sir?” I asked meekly. “It feels strange, not preparing for Tulane yet. I mean, all I’ve looked at for months now are cancer cells.”
As for Lee and me, we wanted to abandon the rat race to others. “We’ll leave their money and corruption behind,” Lee said. “We’ll be like Lord and Lady Blakeney. We’ll play the old part… “Maybe I could talk to Dr. Diehl,” I said hopefully. Dr. Harold Diehl had been fond of me, and I knew I could talk to him in private. He had concerns for safety in cancer research. I found his card in my black purse.

But Lee pointed out that Diehl, the Senior Vice President for Research for the American Cancer Society and Ochsner the former ACS President, had been pals for years. Their friend, “Wild Bill” Donovan (who died of cancer despite Ochsner’s efforts) had been a leading ACS official, too, and was the founding father of the CIA. Diehl would probably do nothing. – page 457 – 458

I personally trained Lee and Dave to handle the materials and prepared the bioweapon for safe transport to the mental hospital, but I did not accompany them on this first trip, so what I report here is what Lee and Dave told me…

Lee and Dave were both qualified to instruct other technicians as to how to handle and work with the bioweapon. At Jackson, Dave gave the injections and explained to those involved how further injections should be given, and when. Lee watched and listened, so he would be able to deliver similar instructions when he handed off the Product in Mexico City or Cuba. Lee left after viewing the first round of injections, and one saw one prisoner, because he needed to go to the Personnel office. There, Lee filled out an employment application to establish a motive for his planned return to the hospital in about 72 hours, when he would have to drive me there to check on the progress of the experiment. Afterwards, Shaw drove Lee and Dave home.

But here was the problem: I was originally told that the prisoner was terminally ill and had “volunteered” to be injected with cancerous cells, knowing his days were numbered. But, a simple fact remained: in order to do my blood test, I had to know what kind of cancer the volunteer had so I could distinguish between “his cancer” and “our cancer.” Right before the Team left for Jackson, I asked Dave to find out what kind of cancer the prisoner had.

“Oh, don’t worry about that,” Dave said matter-of-factly. “He doesn’t have cancer. He’s a Cuban who is about the same age and weight as Castro, and he’s healthy.”

I felt a chill sweep through my body. My heart turned over. This revelation was sickening to me. We would be giving cancer to a healthy human with the intention of killing him. This was not medicine, it was murder. It was wrong, morally, ethically, and legally. They had gone too far….

My note to Dr. Ochsner simply stated: Injecting disease-causing materials into an unwitting subject who does not have a disease is unethical. I signed it with my initials, J.A., and hand delivered it to Dr. Ochsner’s office at his Clinic…

“I’m so sorry,” she told me. “He’s making a mountain out of a molehill.” This was a hint that Dr. Mary was still on my side, which was a huge relief to me. I hoped she would give me good references to a medical school in Latin America, which was one of the plans Lee and I considered. The only positive note she had to offer was that Dr. Ochsner had agreed to a civil exit interview… – page 470

When Dr. Ochsner entered the room, the look on his face was unforgiving. Without a word, he handed me some important blood work code sheets, with which to make my reports. Then, rising to his feet, he exploded into a flurry of unrestrained verbal abuses. It was unlike anything I had ever encountered…

“When you finish your assignment at Jackson,” he said, “Give us the results and consider your work with us over. After his ruse burned a little further, he said, “Consider yourself lucky you’re walking out with your teeth still in your head. Now get out.” – page 472 – 473

“This was the same old Kaiser-Frazer that Lee (as in Lee Harvey Oswald) had used to drive me to Churchill Farms for Marcello’s gathering. I thought of it as the Eli Lilly car, because I had seen in parked near their building several times. Lee said it was more reliable than Dave’s car and it had no known mechanical problems.” – Me and Lee page 476.

The plan to kill Castro depended on two to three people: First, a doctor to influence diagnostics for the required x-rays, then an x-ray technician to rig the machine to temporarily deliver a dangerous dose, (creating symptoms of an infection and pulling down the immune system) and someone to contaminate the penicillin shots given to overcome the presumed ‘pneumonia’ or ‘infection’, with the deadly cancer cocktail. Reactions to the foreign material would bring on fever, with more x-rays to check for ‘pneumonia’ —and more penicillin or similar shots. Only one shot had to reach a vein, and it was over, if the X-rays had been used. For this was a galloping cancer: Castro’s chances, if it worked in humans as it did in monkeys, were zero. It had killed the African green monkeys in only two weeks. Castro’s death by cancer would be ascribed to “natural causes.”

Lee told me that after the cancer cells were removed from their glass container, he then observed the volunteer being x-rayed and injected. After that, Dave asked him to leave. Why? This made Lee suspicious… – page 477

I checked the blood work data while a centrifuge spun down the rest of the freshly-drawn blood samples to pellets, inspecting slides and the blood counts already prepared for me. My task was to match the recorded data with the slides, and to look for any cancer cells there. A few were present—an excellent sign that the bioweapon worked. The original cancer cells had been tagged with a radioactive tracer. If any of those were also found in the pellets, the volunteer was surely doomed. But there were too many blood samples for just one client. …

Having done that, I insisted that I needed to observe the prisoner’s current condition to see how he was physically reacting. The orderly reluctantly took me to the door of the prisoner’s room, but said that I was not allowed past the door. The room was barred, but basically clean. Several storage boxes sat on the floor and some flowers sat on a stand next to the bed. The patient was tied to the bed and was thrashing around in an obvious fever. It was very sad and I felt sorry for what I had done, but I played my part and pretended to be pleased with his status.

We had spent no more than forty-five minutes at the hospital, and once back in the car, Lee and I discussed what I had seen. I told him that I was almost sure there was more than one “volunteer.” Lee asked me to describe the patient to him, which I did. Lee then pointed out that the hairline and nose were different from the patient that he had seen injected. Between Lee’s comments and the number of variety of blood samples, I became convinced. More than one “volunteer” had been injected to test the effectiveness of the bioweapon. – page 479 – 481

A car and driver was waiting outside of International House to take Lee and Hugh Ward to an airport in Houma, Louisiana (about an hour southwest of New Orleans). But first, they had to pick up a package from the nearby offices of Eli Lilly that needed to be delivered to someone in Austin. After getting the package from Eli Lilly, the trio headed to the Huoma-Terre-bonne Airport, known to locals as “the blimp station.” Lee said they reached the blimp station without undue delay. – page 495

It said that Alex Rorke had “run into some trouble,” and he and his pilot might be “missing.”

This was instantly a concern to Lee because, not only was Alex Rorke one of his trusted friends from his nefarious anti-Castro world, he was also the man who was going to fly me from Florida to Mexico when it was time for Lee and me to disappear, which might be this week.. The Latinos, meanwhile were eating lunch with some anti-Castro friends and had promised to seek news about Alex Rorke. When they returned, they dropped Lee at the Trek Cafe on South Congress Avenue, where he waited for about forty-five minutes while they dropped off the package from Eli Lilly in the biology building at St. Edward’s University – page 496 & 497

He deposited one of his two suitcases in a locker in the bus station, so he would have some clothes to wear when he returned to Mexico. It was now obvious to Lee that he had been betrayed, and his actions at the consulate would further stain him as a pro-Castro fanatic, making him an even more convincing patsy in Kennedy’s murder.

“They think I’m a blind fool!” Lee told me soon after. “If they don’t want me for Cuba anymore, I’m better off dead than alive to them.” – page 501

“You’ll be working a lot of hours,” Dave warned me.

“So what?” I mused, thinking I’d be happy creating exotic chemicals for esoteric scientific projects. Dave had told me that some of these would be sent to New Orleans via such routes as the Mound Park Hospital in St. Petersburg, Eastman Kodak, and our familiar chemical supplier, Eli Lilly, including materials similar to antifreeze, which could be used to safely deep-freeze the deadly cancer cell lines, keeping alive virtually forever. page 503- 504
When I heard his strained voice, I realized that something sinister was blowing in the wind…

“I won’t live to see another birthday cake,” he said quietly, “unless I can get out of here. And if I don’t do it right, we’ll all get killed.”

To my gasp of horror, he added, “I’m sorry. You have to hear it.” I now learned that upon his return to Dallas, Lee had been invited to be an actual participant in the assassination plans against JFK.

“You know what that means,” he warned me. I did.

“So, you’re going to go through with it?”

“I’m going to have to go through with it. Who else is in position to penetrate this, and stop it?”

I started to cry, feeling both hopeless and helpless.

“Don’t cry,” he said. “It’s killing me! I can’t stand your crying like that.”

I suddenly felt faint, and accidentally dropped the phone. When I picked up the phone again, we tried to comfort each other. But then Lee revealed that he had decided to send on any information he could about the assassination ring. He was convinced that his information could make a huge difference.

Lee was spending evenings with men who were plotting the death of the President of the United States— men who would stop at nothing to gain more power. They might even be able to blame it on Castro, impelling Americans to war against Cuba, and thus killing two big birds with one big stone. Lee and I both believed that an invasion of Cuba could trigger WWIII, if Russia moved in to defend her Communist ally in the Caribbean.

“I know you think I’m a good shot,” he told me. “Truth is, I’m not that good. So why would they recruit me?”

Lee made a bitter laugh. “They’ll set me up. You see how they hung me out to dry in Mexico City?” he went on. “Now they’ve put off my return to Mexico until after Christmas. I’m going to be snuffed, just as I told you, way back.”

But he felt he had to stay on, with so much as stake. There was now no way to persuade Lee to save himself. In fact, he would have thought it immoral of me to suggest it at the expense of President Kennedy. – page 505

The plot against President Kennedy thickened in November. By now, Lee had convinced me that Kennedy was a great president who sought peace, and I shared Lee’s fear that his life would soon end. Lee had been recruited in the Baton Rouge meetings into the Dallas plot. He had penetrated the ring. Now, he was meeting with one or more plotters on a regular basis. “But I’m meeting too many people,” he told me…

Lee said the motorcade would turn at the 3600 block “because the plotters want to show their power… that they are in charge of their trophy. They would also be taking trophy photos of the assassination.

At this time, Lee believed the kill site would probably be the Dallas Trade Mart—if Kennedy wasn’t terminated earlier in Chicago or Miami. Sickening to me and Lee was their plan to circulate a photo of JFK’s head, “dead, with his eyes left open.” – page 515

Saturday, November 16, 1963

Lee met with an FBI contact at a location unknown to me, revealing that a right-wing group was planning to assassinate President Kennedy during his visit to Dallas on November 22nd. Someone in the FBI took the information seriously and sent out a teletype message to field offices that night. William Walter, a clerk in the FBI office in New Orleans, saw this telex the following morning and later affirmed he had seen this document to Jim Garrison when he investigated the JFK assassination in the late 1960s. The FBI claimed it could find no copies of such a document, but that hardly surprises me. – page 516
“Know how we wondered who my handler was?” Lee whispered. “Mr. B? Benson, Benton, or Bishop? Well, he’s from Fort Worth, so it has to be Phillips. His is the traitor. Phillips is behind this. I need you to remember that name,” Lee said, repeating it with cold anger. “David Atlee Phillips.”

Lee then said there were two other names I needed to remember: Bobby Baker and Billy Sol Estes. He said the assassination itself was not their doing, but it was because of them, and I was never to forget their names…

“They’d just get another gun to take my place,” Lee said. “If I stay, that will be one less bullet aimed at Kennedy.” – page 521

“Maybe I can still do something,” he added, grasping at a straw, “but what bothers me the most is that they’re going to say I did it. They’re going to pin it on me. And what will my babies think of me, when they grow up?” – page 523

I went to work at PenChem, as I’d done every day for the previous six weeks….

Shortly after 1:30 P.M. Florida time (12:30 P.M. Dallas time), the television erupted with an announcement that the President had been seriously wounded by gunfire in Dallas. Soon, the network cut away from its regular programming. I can’t remember the words; I only remember my horror. About a half-hour later, we heard news that a priest had given his last rites. The news was greeted with cheers and whistles of approval in the lab. Tears started running down my cheeks, despite my efforts to hide them…

Mr. Mays noticed. “Are you a God-damned Communist?” – page 526 – 527

The phone rang as soon as I reached it. Dave was as nervous as I was and apologized for calling a few minutes early. I told him I was glad he did. Then I heard Dave make a sound as though he were choking. I realized he was swallowing back his tears. “Oh, my God, J,” he said to me. “I won’t hide it from you.”

Dave was crying. I started crying, too. I didn’t think I had any tears left, but there they were, stinging my eyes. I was so anxious to hear what he had to say.

“It’s hopeless. If you want to stay alive,” Dave warned me, with a strained voice, “it’s time to go into the catacombs. Promise me you will keep your mouth shut!” he added. “I don’t want to lose you, too,” he said, his voice choking on his words. I felt weak all over. “If there is any chance to save him, we’ll get him out of there, I swear to you. So play the dumb broad, and save yourself. Remember, Mr. T will watch every step you make.

Dave meant I was being watched by “Santos” Trafficante, the Godfather of Tampa and Miami. He was also a good friend and ally of Carlos Marcello. Fortunately, Marcello liked me, which is why I believed that I had a chance to survive any threats from that direction.

“I’ll call you one more time. After that, I can’t call anymore,” Dave said “And now I have other calls to make. So, Vale, Soror” (“Be strong, sister.”) – page 530 – 531
“The Texas Court of Appeals overturned Jack Ruby’s conviction and on December 7, 1966 ordered a new trial to be held outside of Dallas. Two days later, Ruby became ill and entered Parkland Hospital where doctors initially thought he had pneumonia, but quickly changed their diagnosis to lung cancer. Before the week was over, the Parkland doctors announced that Ruby’s lung cancer had advanced so far that it could not be treated (meaning it had spread to other parts of the body—Stage IV). The median survival time of a patient with Stage IV lung cancer is eight months, but twenty-seven days after the onset of his initial symptoms of cough and nausea, Jack Ruby was dead. Deputy Sheriff Al Maddox was Ruby’s jailer at the time. He later told researchers that Jack Ruby told him of being injected with cancer and handed him a note making that claim. Maddox also remembered what he described as a “phony doctor” had visited Ruby shortly before he became sick. A second law enforcement officer said Ruby had been placed in an x-ray room for about 15 minutes with the x-ray machine running constantly, an action that would have certainly compromised his immune system. The autopsy found the main concentration of cancer cells to be in Ruby’s right lung, but noted that cancer cells had spread throughout his body. These cells were sent to nearby Southwest Medical School for closer scrutiny using an electron microscope. Bruce McCarty, the electron microscope operator that examined Ruby’s cells had microvilli (tentacle-like extensions that grow out of the main cell), since microvilli were normally not seen in lung cancers. A decade later, however, cancer researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York noted that when cancer cells of various types and origins were suspended in specialized liquids they would form microvilli extensions “when settling on glass.” This is consistent with my description of the need to separate their suspended cancer cells from the sides of the glass thermos every couple days.” – page 561

Former CIA Asset Antonio Veciana independently confirms what Lee told Judyth in his book, “Trained to Kill: The Inside Story of CIA Plots Against Castro, Kennedy, and Che.”

Preface
Bishop knew I was responsible for the arsons that destroyed some of Havana’s best-known department stores, which led to something I could never forgive myself for, the death of an innocent mother of two,… Bishop knew I was responsible for sparking the mass exodus of thousands of Cuban children known as “Operation Pedro Pan”— disguised as orphans, and with the help of the Catholic Church. Bishop knew I came close to collapsing Cuba’s economy with a rumor campaign meant to sow panic….. My name is Antonio Veciana. I am an accountant by training, a banker and businessman by trade. Some call me a patriot. Some call me a terrorist. Only one knew I was a spy, with a single mission—destroy Castro. My CIA handler, the man I knew as Maurice Bishop. The man whom congressional investigators later identified as master spy David Atlee Phillips. The man whom I saw meeting with Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas.

Chapter 3: The Bearded Ones

When Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba on January 1, 1959, David Atlee Phillips was already there…
I had left the Banco Nacional before Fidel declared victory. I went to work for Julio Lobo, the richest man in Cuba. Lobo was Cuba’s first millionaire and, at the time of the revolution, its richest man. His personal fortune was so immense, people in Havana and Miami still wistfully exclaim, “To be as rich as Julio Lobo!”….
As my trial drew closer, my attorney had more questions… I remember thinking how curious it was that someone would conspire to smuggle drugs with someone they thought worked for the government—especially someone with the CIA.. I was convicted on all three counts on January 14, 1974. The judge sentenced me to two concurrent terms of seven years, plus three years of probation…
They released me after twenty-six months. I got home in February 1976, just as the House Select Committee on Assassinations was beginning its work. Soon after my return, committee investigator Gaeton Fonzi started calling my house, asking to see me. We met for the first time at the beginning of March. He didn’t mention the Kennedy assassination. He said he wanted to ask about connections between groups like Alpha 66 and U.S. Intelligence agencies.
I ended up telling him about Bishop. The whole story. About Cuba and the attempt to kill Castro with the bazooka, about Bishop telling me to found Alpha 66, about Chile. And I told him about meeting Lee Harvey Oswald.
Gaeton tried not to look surprised. He tried not to let his excitement show in his voice. But as he himself told it later, “In my mind, I fell off my chair.”
That’s because he hadn’t been fully honest with me when he introduced himself. He was investigating links between anti-Castro groups and the CIA. That was true. But he was actually interested in the assassination. AS an HSCA investigator, he was precisely charged with looking into whether U.S. intelligence agencies had anything to do with Kennedy’s death.
And I had just given him the thing so many suspected, and so many feared, but no one had found before—a direct link between a significant CIA figure and John Kennedy’s alleged assassin, or at least the “patsy” for the crime, as Oswald called himself…
Before the House Select Committee on Assassinations finished its work, someone tried to silence me. With a bullet.
I had testified in secret before a congressional panel. I told them about the assassination attempts against Castro and about El Che’s diary. I told them about Alpha 66 and about Oswald. And I told them how a man I knew only as Maurice Bishop had been responsible for it all…. Fonzi and other committee investigators were able to confirm much of what I told them. The committee had also determined that, even though the CIA insisted I had never been one of its operatives, the agency’s records contained a “piece of arguably contradictory evidence—a record of $500 in operational expenses, given to Veciana by a person with whom the CIA had maintained a long-standing operational relationship.”..
Police said the gunman used a .45-caliber silencer. The first shot had come through the side mirror, splintering on its way through. A piece of it had hit me. It lodged above my ear… The doctors said the bullet that grazed my belly was the one that could have killed me.
“You’re lucky they used a .45,” one of the cops told me. “The .45 comes out of the barrel slower. If they used a 9 mm you’d be dead.”
Epilogue
I knew who “Bishop” really was the instant I saw David Phillip’s photograph.
Why didn’t I say so then?
I was afraid.
I believe there was a conspiracy to kill Kennedy. And I believe that even if David Atlee Phillips wasn’t part of it, he knew about it. He had to. Why else would he have met with Oswald in Dallas, less than three months before the assassination? And why else would he have asked me to help connect Oswald with the Cuban Embassy in Mexico?…

Eli Lilly was instrumental in creating the bioweapon intended to kill Fidel Castro. They provided all the supplies. They also held exclusive rights to the US distribution of thalidomide that John F Kennedy warned women about on national TV. (Eli Lilly acquired Distillers in 1962.) Kennedy had an actual scientist heading the FDA who rejected the approval of thalidomide in the US. Didn’t stop Eli Lilly from distributing 2 million pills directly to physicians who gave them out like candy to pregnant mothers. Eli Lilly was also the last supplier of DES and were fully aware that it was banned for chickens in the 50s for causing massive biological harm. Eli Lilly is still the last distributor of rBST or rRBGH the petroleum-based synthetic hormone chemical pumped into poor cows that destroys their health and contaminates our dairy supplies…

“Thimerosal is an organic compound that is 49.6 percent ethylmercury. Eli Lilly and Co., the Indianapolis-based drug giant, developed and registered thimerosal under its trade name Merthiolate in 1929 and began marketing it as an antibacterial, antifungal product. It became the most widely used preservative in vaccines….

By 1935, Eli Lilly’s Jameison had further evidence of thimerosal’s toxicity when he received a letter from a researcher who had injected it into dogs and saw severe local reactions, leading him to state: “Merthiolate is unsatisfactory as a preservative for serum intended for use on dogs.”

http://inthesetimes.com/article/649/eli_lilly_and_thimerosal

“Lilly’s patent on thimerosal is about up, Kirby said, and it is still used in flu shots administered to children in doses that “contain 25 micrograms of mercury, which is more than what a 500-pound person could handle, according to the EPA.”

The Mystery of the Eli Lilly Rider

The Eli Lilly rider was attached to the Homeland Security Act for a reason… zero liability for damages..

“… the Dick Ammey “Lilly Rider” slipped into the 2002 Homeland Security Act, and the FDA’s approval to double the doses of aluminum adjuncts in several vaccines.” – Master Manipulator: The Explosive True Story of Fraud, Embezzlement, and Government Betrayal at the CDC by James Ottar Grundvig (Page 257)

Researchers show where the aluminum travels to in the body and stays after vaccination

https://nexusnewsfeed.com/article/human-rights/researchers-show-where-the-aluminum-travels-to-in-the-body-and-stays-after-vaccination/

Deadly shots: the polio vaccine saga
The eight scientists gathered in the meeting room at the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories in Melbourne included the key researchers who had helped turn the tide in the fight against polio in Australia.
But the mood was far from celebratory as the meeting started on May 1, 1962. The team responsible for developing and producing the local version of the Salk polio vaccine in 1956, which had been given to millions of Australians during the following years, was faced with a crisis.
Four days earlier CSL biochemist John Withell had completed laboratory tests that confirmed what had been feared: the latest batch of polio vaccine was contaminated with a newly discovered virus that came from monkey kidneys used to produce it.
The virus had been designated SV40 – the 40th simian virus that had been identified – but this virus, first discovered by British researchers the previous year, was different. Tests in the United States had shown it could cause aggressive cancers in small animals and was not killed in the normal process used to manufacture polio vaccine.
In the words of Withell, who went on to become head of the government’s Therapeutic Goods Administration laboratories in Canberra, SV40 “was recognised straight away as a fairly nasty virus”.

“In April, more than 60 scientists met in Chicago to discuss the controversial virus and how it works to defeat certain cells’ natural defenses against cancer.

“I believe that SV40 is carcinogenic (in humans),” said Dr. Michele Carbone of Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill. “We need to be creating therapies for people who have these cancers, and now we may be able to because we have a target – SV40.”

For four decades, government officials have insisted that there is no evidence the simian virus called SV40 is harmful to humans. But in recent years, dozens of scientific studies have found the virus in a steadily increasing number of rare brain, bone and lung-related tumors – the same malignant cancer SV40 causes in lab animals.

Even more troubling, the virus has been detected in tumors removed from people never inoculated with the contaminated vaccine, leading some to worry that those infected by the vaccine might be spreading SV40.

“How long can the government ignore this?” asked Dr. Adi Gazdar, a University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center cancer researcher. “The government has not sponsored any real research. Here’s something possibly affecting millions of Americans, and they’re indifferent.

“Maybe they don’t want to find out.”

https://www.sfgate.com/health/article/Rogue-virus-in-the-vaccine-Early-polio-vaccine-2899957.php

You should ask yourself how exactly is polio transmitted?
Virus particles are excreted in the feces for several weeks following initial infection.[23] The disease is transmitted primarily via the fecal-oral route, by ingesting contaminated food or water.
Then you should ask yourself how does this contaminated poo get in water and food supplies in the first place?
American citizens should seriously ask themselves do you really want to inject a Gates created fast track vaccine into your babies and children from someone with this track record and business partners?
A reminder about Gates….
BILL AND MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION KICKED OUT OF INDIA
Yes, the Microsoft founder and the icon of the Third-World Humanitarianism has been kicked out of India as his fraud was called out. He came to India posing as a philanthropist and humanitarian helping the Third-World poor people by alleviating their conditions and yes, of course, “VACCINATING” their children.
But, only a couple of years earlier suspicions started to emerge. As, reports of their themselves being heavily invested in the companies which were manufacturing those vaccines started to appear. Native Indian doctors and health activists started raising objections as the illegality of the testing of those vaccines on poor children started to come out into the open. Suspicions arose that he may have committed a crime against humanity by illegally testing vaccines on poor innocent children. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation had been facing trials in the Supreme Court of India since then and a couple of months earlier they were kicked out of this country. So that, they could no longer kill innocent poor Indian children by illegal vaccine testing.
(Merck, Bayer, Johnson & Johnson, Dow Chemical, and Company won’t be disseminating that information in their US media and education controlled systems…)
“Controversial vaccine studies: Why is Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation under fire from critics in India?
The vaccine used was Gardasil, manufactured by Merck. It was administered to around 16,000 girls in the district, many of whom stayed in state government-run hostels meant for tribal students….
When a team of health activists from an NGO that specializes in women’s health named Sama visited Khammam in March 2010 on a fact-finding mission, they were told that as many as 120 girls experienced adverse reactions such as epileptic seizures, severe stomach ache, headaches and mood swings. The Sama report also said there had been cases of early onset of menstruation following the vaccination, heavy bleeding and severe menstrual cramps among many students. The standing committee pulled up the relevant state governments for the shoddy investigation into these deaths. It said it was disturbed to find that “all the seven deaths were summarily dismissed as unrelated to vaccinations without in-depth investigations…”
‘Globally-supported company is funding fatal polio shots’
ISLAMABAD:
A government inquiry has found that polio vaccines for infants funded by the Global Alliance for Vaccination and Immunisation are causing deaths and disabilities in regional countries including Pakistan.
The startling revelation is part of an inquiry report prepared by the Prime Minister’s Inspection Commission (PMIC) on the working of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI). The PMIC, headed by Malik Amjad Noon, has recommended that Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani immediately suspend the administration of all types of vaccines funded by the GAVI.
The commission also recommended launching an inquiry to find out facts leading to the agreement with GAVI without examining the safety of the vaccines. The report also established that the GAVI-funded vaccines are not only causing deaths in many countries but are also very expensive.
There have been reports of deaths of a number of children and occurrence of other side-effects soon after the vaccination is administered in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Japan.
Geneva-based officials of GAVI, Jeffrey Rowland and Dan Thomas, were contacted by e-mail but they did not respond.
The report stated that five deaths have been reported in Japan this year soon after the vaccination was administered while 25 serious adverse reactions, including five deaths, were reported in Sri Lanka in 2008. Consequently, the vaccine was withdrawn. Bhutan also withdrew the vaccines after the deaths of children. The Association of Parents of Disabled Children from Bosnia and Herzegovina filed criminal charges after the GAVI-funded vaccines caused disabilities.
The report states, “The procured vaccines are not tested in laboratories to confirm their efficacy and genuineness..
GAVI’s partners include certain countries, the Bill and Melinda Gates Children’s Vaccine Programme, International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association, Rockefeller Foundation, United Nations Children’s Fund, World Health Organisation and the World Bank, the report says.
The government of Switzer­land may be requested to investigate GAVI’s activities to find out whether it is really a non-profit organisation, as it professes.

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A critically important history and science lesson and back to the munition branch on the ethylene tree that produces synthetic hormone markets. (Essentially, it’s a chemical weapon in pill and injection form. Chlorine, benzene, and sulfur build colossal markets that destroy working class health.)

Our ruling class have utilized these markets to profit from the working class they exploit and destroy. There’s a very dark history concealed behind planned parenthood that was utilized to expand their highly profitable synthetic hormone capitalist markets. (Working class citizens are not educated about the technologies they buy nor their harmful biological impacts for a reason.) These technologies were first marketed and sold to impoverished women but now they have been repackaged and are sold to all working class women. Mirena consumers are now having to learn all the painful lessons that poor working class women had to learn from the first synthetic progesterone product marketed to them in the 1990s. Norplant was the first levonorgestrel product put on the market. (It’s still marketed and sold in the Southern United States as is Depro-Provera, another synthetic progesterone product.)

Knowing history is very important to understanding prevention of exploitation and harm to all working class women. Ladies, you’re all in the same selected boat now.

Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present by Harriet A. Washington (Fellow in ethics at Harvard Medical School and a fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health.) explains history and the harm of these highly profitable technologies.

“German doctors became obsessed with regaining an imaginary Nordic purity even before the 1933 rise of Hitler and National Socialism. But U.S. national eugenic policies had employed unconscionable medical violations against those they considered unfit, including blacks, since 1910. The lions of American and German eugenics were united not only by a shared vision of racial purity but also by the International Society for Racial Hygiene. Chief among its American members was mathematician and biologist Charles Davenport, PhD., who established the Station for Experiment Evolution (SEE) and, in 1910, the privately funded and seminal Eugenics Record Office (ERO) at Cold Spring Harbor on Long Island, New York, which joined with the SEE in 1920 under the aegis of the Carnegie Institution.” – The Black Stork: The Eugenic Control of African American Reproduction, Chapter 8 from Medical Apartheid (page 193)

The dark origins of Planned Parenthood.
“The twentieth century saw the dawn of the medical philosophy eugenics, derived from the Greek word eugenes, meaning “well-born.” The word was coined by Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin….

Eugenicists promulgated the weeding out of undesirable societal elements by discouraging or preventing the birth of children with “bad” genetic profiles. The term “well-born” has a double meaning of “born healthy” and “born wealthy,” and this is fitting because eugenic scientists and their disciples constantly confused the concepts of biological hereditary fitness with those of class and race. Highly educated persons of good social class were considered eugenically superior; the poor, the uneducated, criminals, recent immigrants, blacks, and the feebleminded were eugenic misfits. Eugenicists invoked the term “racial hygiene” as frequently as they did the word “eugenics,” and even a cursory glance at the charts, photographs, and diagrams used to popularize eugenic ideals reveals that the unfit were “swarthy” “black” and ugly by Ango-Saxon standards, with flattened noses, wiry hair, and prognathous profiles.” – Medical Apartheid by Harriet A. Washington (page 191)

“The Germans are beating us at our own game,” Virginian eugenicist Dr. Joseph S. Dejarnette sighed in thinly veiled admiration during a 1934 speech in which he urged the Virginia legislature to expand its sterilization laws.”….

The Negro Project. Margaret Sanger was the most famous American populizer of eugenics…. Sanger shaped American reproductive policy by toppling the “Comstock laws” against contraceptive distribution, by catalyzing the development of the birth control pill, and by founding the organization that became Planned Parenthood, the nation’s twelfth-largest charitable organization. But she did so in alliance with eugenicists, and through initiatives such as the Negro Project, Sanger exploited black stereotypes in order to reduce the fertility of African Americans….

While Sanger’s early campaigns were aimed primarily at Eastern Europeans, she turned her attention to blacks in 1929. That year, Lothrop Stoddard wrote his book “The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy” while serving on the board of directors of Sanger’s American Birth Control League (ABCL), and Sanger’s lover, Havelock Ellis, reviewed it favorably in her journal Birth Control Review. That year, she also discarded labels such as “good or bad breeding stock” in favor of “class” or “income level.”…

In January 1939, Sanger’s American Birth Control League merged with the Clinical Research Bureau to form the Birth Control Federation of America (BCFA). Later that year, Sanger devised the Negro Project, which “was established for the benefit of the colored people,” specifically black women who were being denied access to city health services. These first experimental “family planning centers” sought to find the best way of reducing the black population by promoting eugenic principles and were also founded in black areas such as Macon County, Alabama, site of the notorious PHS syphilis study. Du Bois also suggested approaching black churches, declaring them open to “intelligent propaganda of any sort..
Sanger took Du Bois’s advice, writing, “The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal… We do not want the word to get out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it occurs to any of their more rebellious members.” She recruited the support of such luminaries as Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., of the Abyssinian Baptist Church and, later, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Sanger also wanted a black doctor and social worker to staff the clinic in order to gain black patients’ trust… By 1983, when blacks constituted only 12 percent of the population, 43 percent of the women sterilized in federally funded family planning programs were African Americans…

According to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), 41 percent of black women who use contraception were sterilized….

By 1978, doctors also began administering the drug Depo-Provera—but only in research studies and almost exclusively to poor women of color. Depo-Provera is the Upjohn Company’s brand name for medroxyprogesterone acetate, which is also called DMPA. In 1978, the drug had just been FDA-approved for use as a cancer therapy.* (This indicates that it is more than likely an organochlorine developed from mustard gas technologies. There’s a reason hair loss is a side effect because mustard gas evolved into chemotherapy technologies.)
In 1973, after the government discovered that beagles on which the drug had been tested developed breast cancer, it had refused to fund further testing of the drug as a contraceptive… American doctors found it appropriate to administer Depro-Provera as an experimental contraceptive to healthy Native American and black patients. In 1978, the FDA criticized an Emory University study of Deposition-Provera as having needlessly imperiled the lives of 4,700 women, all black, and in 1992 an FDA board warned, “Never has a drug whose target population is entirely healthy been shown to be so pervasively carcinogenic in animals as has Depo-Provera.”….

Norplant was developed by the Population Council, a New York foundation that researches and tests contraceptives on poor women of color abroad. It has subsequently been used by more than a million U.S. women, nearly all poor: Planned Parenthood notes that 90 percent of Norplant implant ions are paid through Medicaid in forty-three states. A higher proportion of African American women than white women receive these implants, chiefly in public and low-income clinics. Why? Frederick Osborn, a Population Council founder, wrote, “Birth control and abortion are turning out to be major eugenic steps. But if they had been advanced for eugenic reasons… [that] would have retarded or stopped their acceptance.”

The Laurence G. Paquin Middle School clinic became the first site for Norplant implantation; 345 of its 350 girls were black. Thus policy makers focused upon the fertility of black girls, and Norplant was deployed via school-based health clinics, the first one hundred of which opened at black or minority schools… But in 1992, Norplant had never been tested in such young girls; researchers were monitoring their health and reactions for the Population Council. In other words, Norplant implantation in these girls constituted a large-scale national experiment, and this research component placed pressure upon the school’s clinic staff to achieve as near a 100 percent participation rate as possible. They, in turn, pressured all the girls to undergo implantation, typically citing confidentiality to bypass their parents. As one aggrieved African American parent put it, “My daughter can be implanted with Norplant or have an abortion without my input or knowledge via the school-based clinic, but my suburban co-workers field calls from [school] nurses who must get their permission to give their daughters an aspirin.”

It is not surprising that the conservative National Review praised the Baltimore experiment, declaring, “better a prophylactic than an abortion,” as if these were the only two options for black girls. But so did the New York Times and the Philadelphia Inquirer. The latter suggested in an infamous December 12, 1990, editorial that black women be paid to have Norplant implanted in or to “reduce the underclass.”…

More black children are living in poverty, but the black teen pregnancy rate is falling, not rising, so it cannot be the key impetus behind the surge in black poverty. In fact, poverty precedes pregnancy: The teen mothers are already poor, and children who are poor are at higher risk for precocious pregnancy….

Most media analyses did not speak so directly of Norplant as key to stemming black reproduction; instead, coded terminology such as “inner-city,” “underclass,” “welfare mother,” and “urban poor” was widely understood to denote black women.

The media and lawmakers’ debates all stressed the Norplant is a safe contraceptive. But is it? According to a 1995 report in the Journal of Family Practice, 95 percent of women in a large-scale trial of Norplant had at least one side effect—80 percent suffered menstrual changes; 32 percent experienced weight gain, 24 percent headaches, 16 percent mood changes, and 15 percent acne. Norplant is contraindicated for women with diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, a tendency toward blood clots, and acute liver dysfunction, all of which African American women develop and die from at higher rates than do white women. Norplant is also contraindicated in women with breast cancer, a disease that kills African American women at rates up to 20 percent higher than white women… Norplant was the subject of a recall in 2000 and it was taken off the market in July 2002…. – Medical Apartheid by Harriet Washington (Chapter 5: The Black Stork)

The contraceptive Norplant has given birth to some unexpected offspring —lawsuits from women who say its implantable capsules are extremely difficult to take out or have caused serious or intolerable side effects…

At the time the contraceptive was approved by the Food and Drug Administration, some women’s health experts urged caution in that little data existed on its long-term effects. Some women using it in studies also reported unpredictable or unusually heavy menstrual bleeding and other problems. Attorney Mike Hackard of Sacramento, Calif., who filed one of the class-action suits, said his clients weren’t adequately warned of the method’s side effects. Among their complaints, according to the suit, are severe headaches, anxiety and panic attacks, depression, acne, weight gain of 60 to 100 pounds, excess growth or loss of hair, ovarian cysts, breast pain, skin discoloration, infection at the implant site or numbness in the arm, as well as a variety of menstrual disorders.”They’re talking about extensive bleeding that is splitting up their marriages, requiring extensive sanitary equipment and continually soiling their clothes and beds,” Hackard said last week. “This is severe bleeding that goes beyond monthly menstrual bleeding.” Others stop menstruating, he said.
Hackard said the most severe alleged side effects he knows of involve women who suffered enlarged ovaries and fallopian tubes that burst, causing the need for hysterectomies and/ or the removal of the tubes and ovaries.”One woman was hospitalized 12 times” for such alleged complications, Hackard said.https://www.mcall.com/news/mc-xpm-1994-09-26-2985163-story.html

Pfizer Settles Norplant Lawsuits For $29.5 Million
After 17 years of litigation, Pfizer has reached a preliminary agreement to settle a Norplant contraceptive class action lawsuit for $29.5 million, according to Mealey’s Drugs & Devices Report.
http://www.expertbriefings.com/news/pfizer-settles-norplant-lawsuits-for-29-5-million/

Bayer has now re-packaged their synthetic progesterone product and created a device to actually put levonorgestrel up inside female reproductive organs. What could possibly go wrong?….

Thousands of women nationwide sued Bayer Pharmaceuticals over Mirena birth control after they say it perforated the uterus, damaged organs and caused pseudotumor cerebri — an abnormal fluid buildup in the skull. These women say Mirena complications led to diminished quality of life and they live in fear of future complications.The lawsuits accuse the company of selling a dangerous product. They also claim the company used deceptive advertising and hid the risk of complications. Currently, there are no Mirena class action lawsuits in the U.S., but there are three main groups of individual lawsuits, two in New York and one in New Jersey. So far, Bayer has only offered to settle perforation lawsuits.
https://www.drugwatch.com/mirena/lawsuits/

I highly recommend all women and men watch The Bleeding Edge about medical device technologies and their biological harm.

As long as working class continue buying capitalist products from his ethylene tree then they will continue destroying themselves and enriching the pockets of their destroyers.

“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. 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.” – The Devil’s Chemists: 24 Conspirators of the International Farben Cartel Who Manufacture War by Josiah E. DuBose (Prosecutor of IG Farben Directors at the Nuremberg Trials) page 170

(Important to note that the “A” in Sarin stands for Ambros and he fails to explain the chemical weapon or “evil” branches of this synthetic tree to the court.) The tree is not evil, simply biochemically toxic to biological systems from their fossil fuel or ancient dead rooted origins. The petroleum resources to feed that tree are colossal and the rest of the world are paying dearly for it as well.)

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How harmful can those phytoestrogens really be to mammals? They can decimate an entire population of mammals.

Chapter 5: Fifty Ways to Lose Your Fertility (Could also be called Fifty Ways to Derail a Healthy Pregnancy from Theo Colborn’s Our Stolen Future)

The early 1940s seemed like a particularly promising time for the sheep ranchers in the gentle rolling hills south of Perth in western Australia. Three unusually good seasons had followed one after another, and with the favorable weather, the pastures exploded into lush, green growth, allowing the sheep to graze for an exceptionally long time. According to ranchers in the region, the sheep—handsome, burly merinos that produce fine, luxurious wool—had never looked so good.

But just when things had never been better, a strange epidemic began hitting the flocks—an epidemic of infertility. The first sign was a striking increase in stillborn lambs. Then the ewes carrying lambs failed to go into labor; the lambs died and often the mothers as well. Each year the problem worsened until finally, even after repeated breeding to fertile rams, most of the ewes simply did not conceive at all. In a matter of five years, the breeding program stopped cold, and ranchers in the area faced financial disaster. Without the irrepressible exuberance of the gamboling lambs, spring did not really seem like spring.

After extensive detective work that involved not only state agricultural specialists but federal scientists as well, researchers finally determined that the cause of the sterility epidemic wasn’t found in poison or disease or a genetic defect. The cause was clover….

The first scientific paper on this phenomenon appeared in the Australian Veterinary Journal in 1946, but it took several more years to isolate three chemicals suspected of causing infertility. In the end, however, researchers determined that only one of these chemicals, formononetin, was the culprit. This natural compound, which escapes breakdown in the sheep’s stomach, can, like DES and DDT, mimic the biological effects of estrogen.

Surprisingly, plant evolution had produced chemicals that mimic estrogen long before Dodds synthesized DES in the laboratory, and not just one or two, but many—twenty of which are now known to science. To date, researchers have found these estrogenic substances in at least three hundred plants from more than sixteen different plant families. The list includes many foods that feed the world as well as some of our favorite herbs and seasonings. Hormone mimics lurk in parsley, sage, and garlic; in wheat, oats, rye, barley, rice, soybeans; in potatoes, carrots, peas, beans, and alfalfa sprouts; in apples, cherries, plums, and pomegranates, and even in coffee and bourbon whiskey. Like DES and DDT, these plant compounds can fool the estrogen receptor.

So why are plants making estrogens?

“Plants are making oral contraceptives to defend themselves,” says Claude Hughes, a researcher exploring the effects of hormone-like compounds on the reproductive system. It might sound like a wild idea, but from an evolutionary perspective it makes sense.

Since plants cannot escape predators by running away, they have evolved a fascinating variety of defenses. Some smell bad, taste bad, or poison those that eat them. Others have unpalatable thorns, spines, or indigestible substances in their leaves. When insects attack, many plants fight back with a chemical arsenal the can kill insects outright, making them stop feeding, or disrupt their growth by mimicking insect growth regulator hormones. This growth disruption typically makes an insect sterile, thus reducing the troubling insect population.

The more Hughes explored the notion that plants might be making contraceptives, the more evidence he found consistent with the theory that this is indeed what plants are up to. By lacing their leaves with hormonally active substances, they suppress the fertility of the animals that feed on them. By Hughes’s theory, clover disease isn’t simply an unfortunate livestock malady, it is a subtle and previously unrecognized form of plant self-defense. The plants that make estrogen mimics, he notes, are tasty ones sought out by animals and humans for food, not the unappetizing plants that contain foul-tasting compounds—an alternative defensive strategy….

The thought that plants might be making chemicals aimed at undermining fertility of their predators first occurred to Hughes while he was a doctoral student studying the impacts of marijuana on the brain. Humans have long used marijuana as a drug because the chemical it contains act in the brain to alter mood and perception, creating a “high.” But as Hughes and others, discovered, these chemicals do more than induce a pleasant mellowness; they interfere with reproduction in a wide variety of ways. The same compound that makes a pot smoker high also acts on the testicles to reduce the synthesis of testosterone and on the brain to suppress lutenizing hormone, a key hormone that cues ovulation in females and testosterone production in males. Studies have reported that marijuana feminized males who smoked it heavily.

Hughe’s work focused on the way the marijuana interferes with the hormone prolactin, which is produced in the brain and signals the breast to produce milk. Mother rats given marijuana produced no milk, and their pups died of starvation. Hughes later moved on to investigate the effects of plant estrogens on the endocrine system and the hormones that orchestrate reproduction, an area few scientists had explored.

For a defensive strategy to work, he explains, the plant would logically target females rather than males because a predator’s reproduction is limited by the number of fertile females. If, for example, a plant managed to impair of all the males save one, that single male can, nevertheless, fertilize an entire flock of females. But if only a single female is fertile, she can produce only one or two lambs.

Plants containing estrogen mimics produce them according to a seasonal pattern that fits perfectly with this strategy. Clover packs the greatest concentrations of estrogenic compounds into the new growth in spring, and when a rabbit or sheep injures it by munching on these tender shoots, the plant responds by producing even more estrogen at the site of injury, delivering an added dose to predators that continue grazing….

Historian John M. Riddle of North Carolina State University reports that women throughout the ancient world used a variety of plants to prevent pregnancies and precipitate abortions, including a now extinct giant fennel called silphium. Researchers have confirmed that many plants in the fennel family produce estrogenic substances or other hormonally active compounds. The ancients also used wild carrot, the beautiful and delightfully common weed known as Queen Anne’s lace, which the Greek physician Hippocrates, who lived in the fourth century B.C., described as having similar powers. Studies have shown that its seeds contain chemicals that block the hormone progesterone, which is necessary for establishing and maintaining a pregnancy.

The pomegranate played a central role in both Greek myth and their birth-control efforts. According to the myth, Persephone, the daughter of the fertility goddess Demeter, was told to eat nothing during a visit to the underworld Hades, but she disobeyed and ate a pomegranate. As punishment, the gods sentenced her to spend part of the year in the underworld, and for this reason, Earth experiences the barren season of winter until Persephone returns each spring. Riddle says the Greeks used pomegranate as a contraceptive, and here again studies have found that it contains a plant estrogen that acts like the chemicals found in modern oral contraceptives manufactured by the pharmaceutical industry.

“Sheep infertility from pasture legumes.” Infertility from subterranean clovers. Some older varieties of subterranean clover (and most red clovers) contain high levels of phyto-oestrogens, which can affect the sheep reproductive system.”

Clover infertility was a severe problem in the 1960s for sheep grazing subterranean clover-dominant pastures, particularly on new land. These pastures were often dominated by the highly oestrogenic Dwalganup or
Yarloop cultivars.

In some ewes, the uterus prolapsed through the vulva while other ewes suffered dystokia (difficult lambing) and appeared unable, or disinterested in, delivering their lambs. Frequently, the lamb and ewe died before delivery. Other ewes became infertile and lamb marking rates fell to 20 – 40 per cent, in a condition known as ‘clover disease’.

Some wethers also died because of swollen bulbourethral glands and blocked urethras. When the subterranean clover content of pastures declined, signs of clover infertility also decreased.

(Very special thanks to the WayBack Machine for archiving this! It’s no longer available elsewhere, of course.)

Click to access sheepinfertfarmnote.pdf

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The beauty of the complexity of our biological evolution with microbes and further evidence that supports “Acquiring Genomes: A Theory of the Origin of Species” by Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan is still occurring today. I so wish she were still alive because I would have immediately sent her this remarkable scientific finding. It is also further evidence of how perverted capitalism is towards undermining infant development and destroying their health that current hospital practices sabotage even mothers who choose to nurse their own babies. Formula is a Big Pharma product that has been sold to mothers all over the globe. They are not taught how the milk their own bodies produce are instrumental in calibrating the immune system and brain development of their infants.

I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life by Ed Yong book excerpt.

“It is unclear why human breast milk stands out among that of other mammals. It has five times as many types of H.M.O.s as cow’s milk, and several hun­dred times the quantity. Even chimp milk is impoverished compared with ours. Mills suggests a couple of possible explanations for this difference. One involves our brains, which are famously large for a primate of our size, and which grow incredibly quickly during our first year of life. This fast growth partly depends on a nutrient called sialic acid, which also happens to be one of the chemicals that B. infantis releases while it eats H.M.O.s. It is possible that, by keeping this bacte­rium well fed, mothers can raise brainier babies. This might explain why, among monkeys and apes, social species have more milk oligo­saccharides than solitary ones, and a greater range of them to boot. Living in larger groups requires remembering more social ties, managing more friendships, and manipulating more rivals. Many scientists believe that these demands drove the evolution of primate intelligence; perhaps they also fueled the diversity of H.M.O.s.

An alternative idea involves diseases. In a group setting, pathogens can easily bounce from one host to another, so animals need better ways of pro­tecting themselves. H.M.O.s provide one such defense. When a pathogen infects our guts, it almost always begins by latching onto glycans—sugar molecules—on the surfaces of our intestinal cells. But H.M.O.s bear a striking resemblance to these glycans, so pathogens sometimes stick to them instead. They act as decoys, drawing fire away from a baby’s own cells. They can block a roll call of gut villains, including Salmonella; Listeria; Vibrio cholerae, the culprit behind cholera; Campylobacter jejuni, the most common cause of bacterial diarrhea; Entamoeba histolytica, a vora­cious amoeba that causes dysentery and kills a hundred thousand people every year; and many virulent strains of E. coli. H.M.O.s may even be able to obstruct H.I.V., which might explain why more than half of infants who suckle from infected mothers don’t get infected, despite drinking virus-loaded milk for months. Every time scientists have pitted a pathogen against cultured cells in the presence of H.M.O.s, the cells have come out smil­ing…

scientists have identified more than two hundred human milk oligosaccharides, or H.M.O.s. They are the third-most plentiful ingredient in human milk, after lactose and fats, and their structure ought to make them a rich source of energy for growing babies—but babies cannot digest them. When German first learned this, he was gobsmacked. Why would a mother expend so much energy manufacturing these complicated chemicals if they were apparently useless to her child? Why hasn’t natural selection put its foot down on such a wasteful practice? Here’s a clue: H.M.O.s pass through the stom­ach and the small intestine unharmed, landing in the large intestine, where most of our bacteria live. What if they aren’t food for babies at all? What if they are food for microbes?…

In 2006, the team found that the sugars selectively nourish one subspecies, Bifidobacterium longum infantis. As long as you provide B. infantis with H.M.O.s, it will outcompete any other gut bacterium. A closely related subspe­cies, B. longum longum, grows weakly on the same sugars, and the ironi­cally named B. lactis, a common fixture of probiotic yogurts, doesn’t grow at all. Another probiotic mainstay, B. bifidum, does slightly better, but is a fussy, messy eater. It breaks down a few H.M.O.s and takes in the pieces it likes. By contrast, B. infantis devours every last crumb using a cluster of thirty genes—a comprehensive cutlery set for eating H.M.O.s. No other Bif has this genetic cluster; it is unique to B. infantis. Human milk has evolved to nourish the microbe, and it, in turn, has evolved into a consummate H.M.O.vore. Unsurprisingly, it is often the dominant microbe in the guts of breast-fed infants. B. infantis earns its keep. As it digests H.M.O.s, it releases short-chain fatty acids, which feed an infant’s gut cells. Through direct contact, B. infantis also encourages gut cells to make adhesive proteins that seal the gaps between them, keeping microbes out of the bloodstream, and anti-inflam­matory molecules that calibrate the immune system. These changes only happen when B. infantis feeds on H.M.O.s; if it gets lactose instead, it survives but doesn’t engage in any repartee with the baby’s cells. In other words, the microbe’s full beneficial potential is unlocked only when it feeds on breast milk.” (Pages 92 – 96)

https://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/breast-feeding-the-microbiome

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27213168-i-contain-multitudes

In other words, your baby’s immune system and brain will never fully develop because they never received your breast milk and they will be more prone to diseases throughout their lives. The same ruling class industrialists who created products off of their munitions technologies that have the precision of sniper fire on fetal development want women to feed their babies their formulas instead because it maximizes their
profits. (Should note that some of their products even destroy mammary development so some women are not even capable of nursing their babies. It’s a win win situation for them…)

“The study showed that the exclusively breastfed group had the fastest growth in myelinated white matter of the three groups, with the increase in white matter volume becoming substantial by age 2. The group fed both breastmilk and formula had more growth than the exclusively formula-fed group, but less than the breastmilk-only group.”
“We’re finding the difference [in white matter growth] is on the order of 20 to 30 percent, comparing the breastfed and the non-breastfed kids,” said Deoni. “I think it’s astounding that you could have that much difference so early.”
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130606141048.htm

Perchlorate (rocket fuel) contaminates all formula brands too
CDC found detectable levels of perchlorate in all 2820 urine samples tested, indicating widespread human exposure to perchlorate.”We found significantly higher levels of urinary perchlorate in children compared with adolescents and adults.”

“Perchlorate is commonly found in the environment and can impair thyroid function at pharmacological doses. As a result of the potential for widespread human exposure to this biologically active chemical, we assessed perchlorate exposure in a nationally representative population”

Thank you Wayback machine… (You can read the CDC removed report here.)

https://web.archive.org/web/20091129164121/https://www.cdc.gov/exposurereport/perchlorate1.htm

The CDC tested all infant powdered formulas and found perchlorate contamination in all of the brands. Here’s the CDC study.

Perchlorate exposure from infant formula and comparisons with the perchlorate reference dose.

2010 May;20(3):281-7. doi: 10.1038/jes.2009.18. Epub 2009 Mar 18.

Schier JG1, Wolkin AF, Valentin-Blasini L, Belson MG, Kieszak SM, Rubin CS, Blount BC.

Abstract

Perchlorate exposure may be higher in infants compared with older persons, due to diet (infant formula) and body weight versus intake considerations. Our primary objective was to quantitatively assess perchlorate concentrations in commercially available powdered infant formulas (PIFs). Secondary objectives were: (1) to estimate exposure in infants under different dosing scenarios and compare them with the perchlorate reference dose (RfD); (2) estimate the perchlorate concentration in water used for preparing PIFs that would result in a dose exceeding the RfD; and (3) estimate iodine intakes from PIFs. We quantified perchlorate levels in three samples (different lot numbers) of reconstituted PIF (using perchlorate-free water) from commercial brands of PIF in each of the following categories: bovine milk-based with lactose, soy-based, bovine milk-based but lactose-free, and elemental (typically consisting of synthetic amino acids). Exposure modeling was conducted to determine whether the RfD might be exceeded in 48 dosing scenarios that were dependent on age, centile energy intake per unit of body weight, body weight percentile, and PIF perchlorate concentration. We obtained three different samples in each of the five brands of bovine- and soy-based PIF, three different samples in each of the three brands of lactose-free PIF, and three different samples in two brands of elemental PIF. The results were as follows: bovine milk-based with lactose (1.72 microg/l, range: 0.68-5.05); soy-based (0.21 microg/l, range: 0.10-0.44); lactose-free (0.27 microg/l, range: 0.03-0.93); and elemental (0.18 microg/l, range: 0.08-0.4). Bovine milk-based PIFs with lactose had a significantly higher concentration of perchlorate (P<0.05) compared with all. Perchlorate was a contaminant of all commercially available PIFs tested. Bovine milk-based PIFs with lactose had a significantly higher perchlorate concentration perchlorate than soy, lactose-free, and elemental PIFs. The perchlorate RfD may be exceeded when certain bovine milk-based PIFs are ingested and/or when PIFs are reconstituted with perchlorate-contaminated water.

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19293845?itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum&ordinalpos=1

“Then the United States delegation, embracing the interests of infant formula manufacturers, upended the deliberations.

American officials sought to water down the resolution by removing language that called on governments to “protect, promote and support breast-feeding” and another passage that called on policymakers to restrict the promotion of food products that many experts say can have deleterious effects on young children.

When that failed, they turned to threats, according to diplomats and government officials who took part in the discussions. Ecuador, which had planned to introduce the measure, was the first to find itself in the cross hairs.

The Americans were blunt: If Ecuador refused to drop the resolution, Washington would unleash punishing trade measures and withdraw crucial military aid. The Ecuadorean government quickly acquiesced.”

(Surprised that The New York Times does not capitalize on this headline and include a formula advertisement.)

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/07/08/health/world-health-breastfeeding-ecuador-trump.html

The “Council of Gods” have literally destroyed millions of years of evolutionary development. Hormones in breast milk also build infant brains. Microbes ride the vagus nerve of infants to help develop their brains. Your hippocampus is loaded with estrogen receptors and develops from the hormones in breast milk.

“Seung’s new book, Connectome: How the Brain’s Wiring Makes Us Who We Are, explains how mapping out our neural connections in our brains might be the key to understanding the basis of things like personality, memory, perception and ideas, as well as illnesses that happen in the brain, like autism and schizophrenia.

“These kinds of disorders have been a puzzle for a long time,” says Seung. “We can look at other brain diseases, like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, and see clear evidence that there is something wrong in the brain.”

But with schizophrenia and autism, there’s no clear abnormality during autopsy dissections, says Seung.

“We believe these are brain disorders because of lots of indirect evidence, but we can’t look at the brain directly and see something is wrong,” he says. “So the hypothesis is that the neurons are healthy, but they are simply connected together or organized in an abnormal way.”

One current theory, says Seung, is that there’s a connection between the wiring that develops between neurons during early infancy and developmental disorders like schizophrenia and autism.

“In autism, the development of the brain is hypothesized to go awry sometime before age 2, maybe in the womb,” he says. “In schizophrenia, no one knows for sure when the development is going off course. We know that schizophrenia tends to emerge in early adulthood, so many people believe that something abnormal is happening during adolescence. Or it could be that something is happening much earlier and it’s not revealed until you become an adult.”

What scientists do know, he says, is that the wiring of the brain in the first three years is critical for development. Infants born with cataracts in poor countries that don’t have the resources to restore their eyesight remain blind even after surgery is performed on them later in life.

“No matter how much they practice seeing, they can never really see,” says Seung. “They recover some visual function, but they are still blind by comparison to you and me. And one hypothesis is that the brain didn’t wire up properly when they were babies, so by the time they become adults, there’s no way for the brain to learn how to see properly.”

At birth, he says, you are born with all of the neurons you will ever have in life, except for neurons that exist in two specific areas of the brain: the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus, which is thought to help new memories form, and the olfactory bulb, which is involved in your sense of smell.

“The obvious hypothesis [is] that these two areas need to be highly plastic and need to learn more than other regions, and that’s why new neurons have to be created — to give these regions more potential for learning,” says Seung. “But we don’t really have any proof of that hypothesis.”

But not everything is set in stone from birth. The complex synaptic connections that allow neurons to communicate with one another develop after babies have left the womb.

“As far as we know, this is happening throughout your life,” he says. “Part of the reason that we are lifelong learners — that no matter how old you get, you can still learn something new — may be due to the fact that synapse creation and elimination are both continuing into adulthood.”

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11346470-connectome
NARRATOR: But, in comparing the brain scans of identical twins discordant for autism, Kaufman finally saw the definitive data he was searching for: an area in the brain linked to learning, memory and emotions—called the hippocampus—was smaller in the twin with severe autism. But how could the same genes create different brain structures? Kaufmann asked Andy Feinberg at Johns Hopkins University.

ANDREW FEINBERG: And suddenly we were able to form an epigenetic hypothesis. And that hypothesis is that they have the same genome, but one of them maybe has an epigenetic change that’s leading to a difference in their brain that you don’t see in the other twin.

NARRATOR: Kaufmann and Feinberg are now searching for methyl marks in the DNA of identical twins discordant for autism. The work has just begun, but the hope is that by finding identical genes that differ in their expression, some causes of autism may emerge.

Epigenetic changes occur from external or environmental impacts.

Ghost in Your Genes
https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/3413_genes.html

Organochlorine munitions in bomb, pill, spray, injection, and chemical additive forms shrink the hippocampus. The article “U.S. Nerve Gas Hit Our Own Troops in Iraq” explains, “According to Dr. Linda Chao, a neurologist at the University of California Medical School in San Francisco, “Because part of their brains, the hippocampus, has shrunk, they’re at greater risk for Alzheimer’s and other degenerative diseases.”
A Czech chemical-weapons detection unit found “trace concentrations of sarin, a nerve-paralyzing substance” drifting into Saudi Arabia. French, British and U.S. intelligence units found similar evidence.

Tracy Elledge, a former combat engineer and one of the veterans I interviewed, said, “Alarms went off all the time.… Our officers told us they were false and to disconnect them.”

However, Elledge and others were breathing poison.
https://renchemista.wordpress.com/2017/04/21/u-s-nerve-gas-hit-our-own-troops-in-iraq-by-barbara-koeppel/

Remember the “A” in Sarin stands for Nazi Otto Ambros and he expanded all organochlorine munition markets after serving only 3 years for his mass murder slavery conviction. He was IG Farben’s director of chemical operations and Hitler’s Director of Chemical Weapons. The Council of Gods were fully aware of the biological impacts of their organochlorine munitions and that was why they rounded up their infant and children victims in Vienna and exterminated them. They had market expansion plans so they had to cover up the damage.

Asperger’s Children: The Origins of Autism in Nazi Vienna by Edith Sheffer
https://renchemista.wordpress.com/2018/11/15/important-book-excerpts-from-aspergers-children-the-origins-of-autism-in-nazi-vienna-by-edith-sheffer-2/

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

Excerpt From Chapter 13: Through a Narrow Window 

Plants treated with benzene hexachloride (BHC) or lindane became monstrously deformed with tumorlike swellings on their roots. Their cells grew in size, being swollen with chromosomes which doubled in number. The doubling continued in future divisions until further cell division became mechanically impossible.

The herbicide 2,4-D has also produced tumor like swellings in treated plants. Chromosomes become short, thick, clumped together. Cell division is seriously retarded. The general effect is said to parallel closely that produced by X-rays.

Recent medical findings in the field of chromosome abnormalities are of extreme interest and significance. In 1959 several British and French research teams found their independent studies pointing to a common conclusion—that some of humanity’s ills are caused by a disturbance of the normal chromosome number. In certain diseases and abnormalities studied by these investigators the number differed from the normal. To illustrate: it is now known that all mongoloids have one extra chromosome. Occasionally this is attached to another so that the chromosome number remains the normal 46. As a rule, however, the extra is a separate chromosome, making the number 47. In such individuals, the original cause of the defect must have occurred in the generation preceding its appearance.

A different mechanism seems to operate in a number of patients, both in America and Great Britain, who are suffering from a chronic form of leukemia. These have been found to have a consistent chromosome abnormality in some of the blood cells. The abnormality consists of the loss of part of a chromosome. In these patients the skin cells have a normal complement of chromosomes. This indicates that the chromosome defect did not occur in the germ cells that gave rise to these individuals, but represents damage to particular cells (in this case, the precursors of blood cells) that occurred during the life of the individual. The loss of part of a chromosome has perhaps deprived these cells of their “instructions” for normal behavior.

The list of defects linked to chromosome disturbances has grown with surprising speed since the opening of this territory, hitherto beyond the boundaries of medical research. One, known only as Klinefelter’s syndrome, involves a duplication of one of the sex chromosomes. The resulting individual is a male, but because he carries two of the X chromosomes (becoming XXY instead of XY, the normal male complement) he is somewhat abnormal. Excessive height and mental defects often accompany the sterility caused by the condition. In contrast, an individual who receives only one sex chromosome (becoming XO instead of either XX or XY) is actually female but lacks many of the secondary sexual characteristics. The condition is accompanied by various physical (and sometimes mental) defects, for of course the X chromosome carries genes for a variety of characteristics. This is known as Turner’s syndrome…

An immense amount of work on the subject of chromosome abnormalities is being done by workers in many countries. A group at the University of Wisconsin, headed by Dr. Klaus Patau, has been concentrating on a variety of congenital abnormalities, usually including mental retardation, that seem to result from the duplication of only part of a chromosome, as if somewhere in the formation of one of the germ cells a chromosome had broken and the pieces had not been properly redistributed. Such a mishap is likely to interfere with the normal development of the embryo.

According to present knowledge, the occurrence of an entire extra body chromosome is usually lethal, preventing survival of the embryo. Only three such conditions are known to be viable; one of them, of course, is mongolism. The presence of an extra attached fragment, on the other hand, although seriously damaging is not necessarily fatal, and according to the Wisconsin investigators this situation may well account for a substantial part of the so far unexplained cases in which a child is born with multiple defects, usually including mental retardation.

This is so new a field of study that as yet scientists have been more concerned with identifying the chromosome abnormalities associated with disease and defective development than with speculating about the causes. It would be foolish to assume that any single agent is responsible for damaging the chromosomes or causing their erratic behavior during cell division. But can we afford to ignore the fact that we are now filling the environment with chemicals that have the power to strike directly at the chromosomes, affecting them in the precise ways that would cause such conditions? Is this not too high a price to pay for a sproutless potato or a mosquitoes patio?

We can, if we wish, reduce this threat to our genetic heritage, a possession that has come down to us through some two billion years of evolution and selection of living protoplasm, a possession that is ours for the moment only, until we must pass it on to the generations to come. We are doing little now to preserve its integrity. Although chemical manufacturers are required by law to test their materials for toxicity, they are not required to make the tests that would reliably demonstrate genetic effect, and they do not do so.

(That’s because manufacturers were already well aware of the biological impacts of the technologies they were expanding)

 

 

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The evolutionary development of males provides critically important understanding and insight into the biological vulnerabilities of males.

Book excerpt from Your Inner Fish
Shark Past: Hernias

“Our propensity for hernias near the groin, results from taking a fish body and morphing it into a mammal.

Fish have gonads that extend toward their chest, approaching their heart. Mammals don’t, and therein lies the problem. It is a good thing that our gonads are not deep in our chest and near our heart (although it might make reciting the Pledge of Allegiance a different experience). If our gonads were in our chest, we wouldn’t be able to reproduce.

Slit the belly of a shark from mouth to tail. The first thing you’ll see is liver, a lot of it. The liver of a shark is gigantic. Some zoologists believe that a large liver contributes to the buoyancy of the shark. Move the liver away and you’ll find the gonads extending up near the heart, in the “chest” area. This arrangement is typical of most fish: the gonads lie toward the front of the body.

In us, as in most mammals, this arrangement would be a disaster. Males continuously produce sperm throughout their lives. Sperm are finicky little cells that need exactly the right range of temperatures to develop correctly for the three months they live. Too hot, and sperm are malformed; too cold, and they die. Male mammals have a neat little device for controlling the temperature of the sperm-making apparatus: the scrotum. As we all know, the male gonads sit in a sac. Inside the skin of the sac are muscles that can expand and contract as the temperature changes. Muscles also can expand and contract as the temperature changes. Muscles also lie in our sperm cords. Hence, the cold shower effect: the scrotum will tuck close to the body when it is cold. The whole package rises and falls with temperature. This is all a way to optimize the production of healthy sperm.

The dangling scrotum also serves as a sexual signal in many mammals. Between the physiological advantages of having gonads outside the body wall, and the occasional benefits this provides in securing mates, there are ample advantages for our distant mammalian ancestors in having a scrotum.

The problem with this arrangement is that the plumbing that carries sperm to the penis is circuitous. Sperm travel from the testes in the scrotum through the sperm cord. The cord leaves the scrotum, travels up toward the waist, loops over the pelvis, then goes through the pelvis to travel through the penis and out. Along this complex path, the sperm gain seminal fluids from a number of glands that connect to the tube.

The reason for this absurd route lies in our development and evolutionary history. Our gonads begin in development in much the same place as the shark’s: up near our livers. As they grow and develop, our gonads descend. In females, the ovaries descend from the midsection to lie near the uterus and fallopian tubes. This ensures that the egg does not have far to travel to be fertilized. In males, the descent goes farther.

The descent of the gonads, particularly in males, creates a weak spot in the body wall. To envision what happens when the testes and spermatic cord descend to form a scrotum, imagine pushing your fist against a rubber sheet. In this example, your fist becomes equivalent to the testes and your arm to the spermatic cord. The problem is that you have created a weak space where your arm sits. Where once the rubber sheet was a simple wall, you’ve now made another space, between your arm and the rubber sheet, where things can slip. This is essentially what happens in many types of inguinal hernias in men. Some of these inguinal hernias are congenital—when a piece of the gut travels with the testes as it descends. Another kind of inguinal hernia is acquired. When we contract our abdominal muscles, our guts push against the body wall. A weakness in the body wall means that guts can escape the body cavity and be squeezed to lie next to the spermatic cord.

Females are far tougher than males, particularly in this part of the body. Because females do not have a giant tube running through it, their abdominal wall is much stronger that a man’s. This is a good thing when you think of the enormous stresses that female body walls go through during pregnancy and childbirth. A tube through the body wall just wouldn’t do. Men’s tendency to develop hernias is a trade-off between our fish ancestry and our mammal present.” – pages 193 – 196

As you can see male evolution leads to biological vulnerabilities. Hormones were critically important in the evolution of male reproductive morphology from their fish to mammal development. Those hormones played the staring role in the descent of male testicles from their abdomen to their current location. What happens when those hormones are disrupted and those testicles don’t descend?

My 12-year-old son commented, “Mom, Oscar stayed a fish!” That was his statement while we were watching, “Your Inner Fish.” (He’s a smart little bugger) I explained to him why his cousin’s health was altered when he had an undescended testicle and why the doctors should have removed it altogether. It would immediately prevent and lower his cancer risks and here’s why.

Our Stolen Future provided much understanding.

“British researchers report a doubling in the number of cases of undescended testicles in England and Wales between 1962 and 1981, and similar increases have been reported in Sweden and Hungary. Men with undescended testicles have a higher risk of testicular cancer and typically have lower sperm counts and more abnormal sperm. There also appears to be an increasing incidence of the genital defect hypospadia.

In his earlier work, Skakkebaek had slowly accumulated evidence that all these abnormalities stem from developmental errors that take place in the womb, leading him to suspect they might have a common cause. He first found signs that prenatal event might play a role in testicular cancer while exploring the causes of male infertility. Examining tissue samples taken from the testicles of infertile men, he noticed strange-looking cells resembling the fetal germ cells that evolve during normal development into the testicular cells that produce and nurture sperm in mature males. The next clue came when some of the infertile men with aberrant cells later developed testicular cancer. Then he found the same abnormal cells in a boy with undescended testicles, who also developed cancer a decade later. It appeared that the abnormal cells had given rise to the testicular cancer and that men suffering from infertility or certain genital defects were at greater risk of having such cells.

At the same time that Skakkebaek was conducting his review of sperm numbers, another researcher in Edinburgh, Scotland, was also puzzling about the increase in male reproductive problems. Richard Sharpe of the Medical Research Council’s Reproductive Biology Unit was exploring possible explanations for the increase in undescended testicles and the drop in human male sperm counts. He, too, began to suspect that prenatal events might be responsible.

When Sharpe and Skakkebaek met at a conference and discovered they were thinking along similar lines, they began collaborating. In May 1993, they published a paper in the distinguished British medical journal The Lancet, proposing that the cause of the falling sperm counts and increased reproductive abnormalities in men was increased exposure to estrogens in the womb. They cited the DES experience and laboratory studies as support for this hypothesis, noting that prenatal exposure to elevated levels of synthetic or natural estrogens resulted in reduced sperm counts and an increase in the incidence of undescended testicles, hypospadias, and possibly testicular tumors in male offspring.

Animal studies had also provided an insight into how elevated estrogen levels in the womb might limit the number of sperm a male produces in adulthood by inhibiting the multiplication of key cells in the testicles known as Sertoli cells, which orchestrate and regulate the production of sperm. Since each Sertoli cell can support only a fixed number of sperm, the number a male acquires early in life will ultimately limit the number of sperm he can produce as an adult. During male development, the pituitary gland secretes a follicle-stimulating hormone and thereby limits the growth of Sertoli cell numbers.

Of course, one has to bear in mind that many chemicals can undermine male fertility, acting not just before birth but during childhood and adulthood as well. Prenatal exposure to synthetic estrogens is just one of many assaults on male reproductive potential. As we’ve seen, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reproductive toxicologist Earl Gray has discovered that some synthetic chemicals act as potent androgen blockers and may pose an even greater threat to males than estrogen chemicals. Nevertheless, Sharpe and Skakkebaek’s theory offers an eminently plausible explanation of how estrogens might be having a major impact of male fertility by disrupting development….

The latest sperm count studies, however, add weight to the theory that the cause of the precipitous drop in sperm counts in some prenatal event rather than later damage caused by chemical contaminants or bad habits. If sperm counts were dropping because of adult exposure to increased contamination, smoking, or alcohol or because of venereal disease, they would be dropping in older men as well as younger men. The fact that the sperm counts are lower in younger men and correlate inversely with date of birth argues that the damage was done in the womb.” – Our Stolen Future by Theo Colborn (pages 175 – 177)

And males, that’s why you should care a great deal about female health because your first home is a womb and it’s being destroyed which directly impacts your own health. Dr. Theo Colborn rightly called our ruling class industrialists “womb terrorists.” They certainly know how to manufacture many kinds of terrorists all across our globe and they cause much destruction.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 3: Toxins in Little Bottles Excerpt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Portions from pages 28 – 40

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

“During his first tour of EMLC’s facilities, Van der Spuy came across a ‘large quantity’ of chemicals in bulk containers and a carton of what appeared to be clothing in one of the rooms. As he moved towards the box, one of his 140 employees stopped him with a warning not to touch the contents ‘because those clothes are poisoned, and if you put those underpants on, you’ll be dead by tonight.’ Van der Spuy immediately ordered the contents of the room destroyed…. and testified during the Basson trial…

’I went overseas three times to Germany, England, Israel, America to find the best techniques available,’ Viljoen, on whose watch the CBW project was launched, is of the opinion the international community had provided South Africa with the information and the equipment…. Official documents record the use of toxins by the Rhodesian Police’s Special Branch and the Selous Scouts from 1977, although some former Special Branch Operatives have said they were aware of poisons being used as early as 1973. A document dates 24 June 1977 records 809 deaths resulted from poisoned items distributed by the Selous Scouts….

The only Rhodesian scientist known to have collaborated with the security forces in a campaign that claimed at least 900 victims is Professor Bob Symington, head of the Anatomy Department at the University of Rhodesia’s medical school, who subsequently settled in South Africa and became a lecturer at the University of Cape Town…
“According to Knobel, Ford was instrumental in formulating the military’s anti-AIDS policy, and served as adviser to the SADF during the 1991 Gulf War, when he supplied South African military personnel stationed in Israel with a variety of antidotes. He also faxed Knobel information on Saddam Hussein’s chemical and biological weapons capability so that the South Africans could protect their embassy staff in Tel Aviv from possible attack. How Ford came by antidotes and information about Iraq’s weapons, and on whose authority he assisted the SADF in this manner, are among the myriad unanswered questions about him. What is known is that in the late 1980’s a mutual acquaintance introduced Ford to James Patrick Riley, an entrepreneur looking for new business ventures. It is unclear whether Riley had any idea what he was getting into by joining forces with Ford, but his attorney, Raymond Lee, insists that Riley was unaware of Ford’s alleged CIA links or his role as bio-warfare adviser to South Africa….But there may have been a deeper motive behind the botched attempt on Riley’s life: his vehement opposition to Ford’s proposed use of South African prostitutes as guinea-pigs for the microcide, which, he claimed, would revolutionise the fight against AIDS. Irvine detectives believe that secret testing of the female suppository did take place in South Africa, and possibly also on American prostitutes. According to Victor Ray, when Riley was questioned about this, ‘he coughed, looked the other way and said: “It might have happened”. As far as Ray was concerned, ‘it probably did’, an opinion borne out by Knobel’s acknowledgment that he had helped Ford gain approval for use of the products made by Biofem in South Africa, but had no further knowledge of the matter…

During D’Saachs’s trial, testimony revealed little or nothing about the FBI’s investigation or Ford’s background, though Riley gave evidence the he believed his ex-partner had worked for the CIA, and that he had boasted of working for American general Willard Wyman, who he said was in charge of a biological weapons programme….

Two years later, when Basson testified in his own defense, he claimed that the primary task of one of the doctors under his command, anaesthetist Graeme Gibson, was to secretly take blood samples from members of the various liberation forces in neighboring states… The AIDS research project was authorised by Project Coast’s Coordinating Management Committee, according to Basson, as part of a study to determine ‘whether AIDS alone would allow the SADF to win the war’.” Portions from pages 14 – 17, 144 – 148

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

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

Sales List

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Nazi origins of the CIA assassination program

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Greening of America

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

One Man’s Chemical Conversion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tukey’s Breaking Point

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

How to Bring Back Butterflies

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Wise Moves for a Lush Lawn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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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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Excerpt from Our Stolen Future’s Chapter, “Fifty Ways to Lose Your Fertility.”

Humans have long used marijuana as a drug because the chemicals it contains act in the brain to alter mood and perception, creating a “high.” But as Hughes and others discovered, these chemicals do more than induce a pleasant mellowness; they interfere with reproduction in a variety of ways. The same compound that makes a pot smoker high also acts on the testicles to reduce the synthesis of testosterone and on the brain to suppress lutenizing hormone, a key hormone that cues ovulation in females and testosterone production in males. Studies have reported that marijuana feminized men who smoked it heavily.
Hughes’s work focused on the way that marijuana interferes with the hormone prolactin, which is produced in the brain and signals the breast to produce milk. Mother rats given marijuana produced no milk, and their pups died of starvation. Hughes later moved on to investigate the effects of plant estrogens on the endocrine system and the hormones that orchestrate reproduction, an area few scientists had explored.

For such a defensive strategy to work, he explains, the plant would logically target females rather than males because a predator’s reproduction is limited. by the number of fertile females. If, for example, a plant managed to impair the fertility of all the males save one, that single male can, nevertheless, fertilize an entire flock of females. But if only a single female is fertile, she can produce only one or two lambs. Plants containing estrogen mimics produce them according to a seasonal pattern that fits perfectly with this strategy. Clover packs the greatest concentrations of estrogenic compounds into the new growth in spring, and when a rabbit or a sheep injures it by munching on these tender shoots, the plant responds by producing even more estrogen at the site of injury, delivering an added dose to predators that continue grazing.

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The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare

By NATHANIEL RICHJAN. 6, 2016

Just months before Rob Bilott made partner at Taft Stettinius & Hollister, he received a call on his direct line from a cattle farmer. The farmer, Wilbur Tennant of Parkersburg, W.Va., said that his cows were dying left and right. He believed that the DuPont chemical company, which until recently operated a site in Parkersburg that is more than 35 times the size of the Pentagon, was responsible. Tennant had tried to seek help locally, he said, but DuPont just about owned the entire town. He had been spurned not only by Parkersburg’s lawyers but also by its politicians, journalists, doctors and veterinarians. The farmer was angry and spoke in a heavy Appalachian accent. Bilott struggled to make sense of everything he was saying. He might have hung up had Tennant not blurted out the name of Bilott’s grandmother, Alma Holland White.

White had lived in Vienna, a northern suburb of Parkersburg, and as a child, Bilott often visited her in the summers. In 1973 she brought him to the cattle farm belonging to the Tennants’ neighbors, the Grahams, with whom White was friendly. Bilott spent the weekend riding horses, milking cows and watching Secretariat win the Triple Crown on TV. He was 7 years old. The visit to the Grahams’ farm was one of his happiest childhood memories.

When the Grahams heard in 1998 that Wilbur Tennant was looking for legal help, they remembered Bilott, White’s grandson, who had grown up to become an environmental lawyer. They did not understand, however, that Bilott was not the right kind of environmental lawyer. He did not represent plaintiffs or private citizens. Like the other 200 lawyers at Taft, a firm founded in 1885 and tied historically to the family of President William Howard Taft, Bilott worked almost exclusively for large corporate clients. His specialty was defending chemical companies. Several times, Bilott had even worked on cases with DuPont lawyers. Nevertheless, as a favor to his grandmother, he agreed to meet the farmer. ‘‘It just felt like the right thing to do,’’ he says today. ‘‘I felt a connection to those folks.’’

The connection was not obvious at their first meeting. About a week after his phone call, Tennant drove from Parkersburg with his wife to Taft’s headquarters in downtown Cincinnati. They hauled cardboard boxes containing videotapes, photographs and documents into the firm’s glassed-in reception area on the 18th floor, where they sat in gray midcentury-modern couches beneath an oil portrait of one of Taft’s founders. Tennant — burly and nearly six feet tall, wearing jeans, a plaid flannel shirt and a baseball cap — did not resemble a typical Taft client. ‘‘He didn’t show up at our offices looking like a bank vice president,’’ says Thomas Terp, a partner who was Bilott’s supervisor. ‘‘Let’s put it that way.’’

Terp joined Bilott for the meeting. Wilbur Tennant explained that he and his four siblings had run the cattle farm since their father abandoned them as children. They had seven cows then. Over the decades they steadily acquired land and cattle, until 200 cows roamed more than 600 hilly acres. The property would have been even larger had his brother Jim and Jim’s wife, Della, not sold 66 acres in the early ’80s to DuPont. The company wanted to use the plot for a landfill for waste from its factory near Parkersburg, called Washington Works, where Jim was employed as a laborer. Jim and Della did not want to sell, but Jim had been in poor health for years, mysterious ailments that doctors couldn’t diagnose, and they needed the money.

DuPont rechristened the plot Dry Run Landfill, named after the creek that ran through it. The same creek flowed down to a pasture where the Tennants grazed their cows. Not long after the sale, Wilbur told Bilott, the cattle began to act deranged. They had always been like pets to the Tennants. At the sight of a Tennant they would amble over, nuzzle and let themselves be milked. No longer. Now when they saw the farmers, they charged.

Wilbur fed a videotape into the VCR. The footage, shot on a camcorder, was grainy and intercut with static. Images jumped and repeated. The sound accelerated and slowed down. It had the quality of a horror movie. In the opening shot the camera pans across the creek. It takes in the surrounding forest, the white ash trees shedding their leaves and the rippling, shallow water, before pausing on what appears to be a snowbank at an elbow in the creek. The camera zooms in, revealing a mound of soapy froth.

‘‘I’ve taken two dead deer and two dead cattle off this ripple,’’ Tennant says in voice-over. ‘‘The blood run out of their noses and out their mouths. … They’re trying to cover this stuff up. But it’s not going to be covered up, because I’m going to bring it out in the open for people to see.’’

The video shows a large pipe running into the creek, discharging green water with bubbles on the surface. ‘‘This is what they expect a man’s cows to drink on his own property,’’ Wilbur says. ‘‘It’s about high time that someone in the state department of something-or-another got off their cans.’’

At one point, the video cuts to a skinny red cow standing in hay. Patches of its hair are missing, and its back is humped — a result, Wilbur speculates, of a kidney malfunction. Another blast of static is followed by a close-up of a dead black calf lying in the snow, its eye a brilliant, chemical blue. ‘‘One hundred fifty-three of these animals I’ve lost on this farm,’’ Wilbur says later in the video. ‘‘Every veterinarian that I’ve called in Parkersburg, they will not return my phone calls or they don’t want to get involved. Since they don’t want to get involved, I’ll have to dissect this thing myself. … I’m going to start at this head.’’

The video cuts to a calf’s bisected head. Close-ups follow of the calf’s blackened teeth (‘‘They say that’s due to high concentrations of fluoride in the water that they drink’’), its liver, heart, stomachs, kidneys and gall bladder. Each organ is sliced open, and Wilbur points out unusual discolorations — some dark, some green — and textures. ‘‘I don’t even like the looks of them,’’ he says. ‘‘It don’t look like anything I’ve been into before.’’

Bilott watched the video and looked at photographs for several hours. He saw cows with stringy tails, malformed hooves, giant lesions protruding from their hides and red, receded eyes; cows suffering constant diarrhea, slobbering white slime the consistency of toothpaste, staggering bowlegged like drunks. Tennant always zoomed in on his cows’ eyes. ‘‘This cow’s done a lot of suffering,’’ he would say, as a blinking eye filled the screen.

‘‘This is bad,’’ Bilott said to himself. ‘‘There’s something really bad going on here.’’

Bilott decided right away to take the Tennant case. It was, he says again, ‘‘the right thing to do.’’ Bilott might have had the practiced look of a corporate lawyer — soft-spoken, milk-complected, conservatively attired — but the job had not come naturally to him. He did not have a typical Taft résumé. He had not attended college or law school in the Ivy League. His father was a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force, and Bilott spent most of his childhood moving among air bases near Albany; Flint, Mich.; Newport Beach, Calif.; and Wiesbaden, West Germany. Bilott attended eight schools before graduating from Fairborn High, near Ohio’s Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. As a junior, he received a recruitment letter from a tiny liberal-arts school in Sarasota called the New College of Florida, which graded pass/fail and allowed students to design their own curriculums. Many of his friends there were idealistic, progressive — ideological misfits in Reagan’s America. He met with professors individually and came to value critical thinking. ‘‘I learned to question everything you read,’’ he said. ‘‘Don’t take anything at face value. Don’t care what other people say. I liked that philosophy.’’ Bilott studied political science and wrote his thesis about the rise and fall of Dayton. He hoped to become a city manager.

But his father, who late in life enrolled in law school, encouraged Bilott to do the same. Surprising his professors, he chose to attend law school at Ohio State, where his favorite course was environmental law. ‘‘It seemed like it would have real-world impact,’’ he said. ‘‘It was something you could do to make a difference.’’ When, after graduation, Taft made him an offer, his mentors and friends from New College were aghast. They didn’t understand how he could join a corporate firm. Bilott didn’t see it that way. He hadn’t really thought about the ethics of it, to be honest. ‘‘My family said that a big firm was where you’d get the most opportunities,’’ he said. ‘‘I knew nobody who had ever worked at a firm, nobody who knew anything about it. I just tried to get the best job I could. I don’t think I had any clue of what that involved.’’
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At Taft, he asked to join Thomas Terp’s environmental team. Ten years earlier, Congress passed the legislation known as Superfund, which financed the emergency cleanup of hazardous-waste dumps. Superfund was a lucrative development for firms like Taft, creating an entire subfield within environmental law, one that required a deep understanding of the new regulations in order to guide negotiations among municipal agencies and numerous private parties. Terp’s team at Taft was a leader in the field.

As an associate, Bilott was asked to determine which companies contributed which toxins and hazardous wastes in what quantities to which sites. He took depositions from plant employees, perused public records and organized huge amounts of historical data. He became an expert on the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory framework, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act. He mastered the chemistry of the pollutants, despite the fact that chemistry had been his worst subject in high school. ‘‘I learned how these companies work, how the laws work, how you defend these claims,’’ he said. He became the consummate insider.

Bilott was proud of the work he did. The main part of his job, as he understood it, was to help clients comply with the new regulations. Many of his clients, including Thiokol and Bee Chemical, disposed of hazardous waste long before the practice became so tightly regulated. He worked long hours and knew few people in Cincinnati. A colleague on Taft’s environmental team, observing that he had little time for a social life, introduced him to a childhood friend named Sarah Barlage. She was a lawyer, too, at another downtown Cincinnati firm, where she de­fended corporations against worker’s-compensation claims. Bilott joined the two friends for lunch. Sarah doesn’t remember him speaking. ‘‘My first impression was that he was not like other guys,’’ she says. ‘‘I’m pretty chatty. He’s much quieter. We complemented each other.’’

They married in 1996. The first of their three sons was born two years later. He felt secure enough at Taft for Barlage to quit her job and raise their children full-time. Terp, his supervisor, recalls him as ‘‘a real standout lawyer: incredibly bright, energetic, tenacious and very, very thorough.’’ He was a model Taft lawyer. Then Wilbur Tennant came along.

The Tennant case put Taft in a highly unusual position. The law firm was in the business of representing chemical corporations, not suing them. The prospect of taking on DuPont ‘‘did cause us pause,’’ Terp concedes. ‘‘But it was not a terribly difficult decision for us. I’m a firm believer that our work on the plaintiff’s side makes us better defense lawyers.’’

Bilott sought help with the Tennant case from a West Virginia lawyer named Larry Winter. For many years, Winter was a partner at Spilman, Thomas & Battle — one of the firms that represented DuPont in West Virginia — though he had left Spilman to start a practice specializing in personal-injury cases. He was amazed that Bilott would sue DuPont while remaining at Taft.

‘‘His taking on the Tennant case,’’ Winter says, ‘‘given the type of practice Taft had, I found to be inconceivable.’’

Bilott, for his part, is reluctant to discuss his motivations for taking the case. The closest he came to elaborating was after being asked whether, having set out ‘‘to make a difference’’ in the world, he had any misgivings about the path his career had taken.

‘‘There was a reason why I was interested in helping out the Tennants,’’ he said after a pause. ‘‘It was a great opportunity to use my background for people who really needed it.’’

Bilott filed a federal suit against DuPont in the summer of 1999 in the Southern District of West Virginia. In response, DuPont’s in-house lawyer, Bernard Reilly, informed him that DuPont and the E.P.A. would commission a study of the property, conducted by three veterinarians chosen by DuPont and three chosen by the E.P.A. Their report did not find DuPont responsible for the cattle’s health problems. The culprit, instead, was poor husbandry: ‘‘poor nutrition, inadequate veterinary care and lack of fly control.’’ In other words, the Tennants didn’t know how to raise cattle; if the cows were dying, it was their own fault.

This did not sit well with the Tennants, who began to suffer the consequences of antagonizing Parkersburg’s main employer. Lifelong friends ignored the Tennants on the streets of Parkersburg and walked out of restaurants when they entered. ‘‘I’m not allowed to talk to you,’’ they said, when confronted. Four different times, the Tennants changed churches.

Wilbur called the office nearly every day, but Bilott had little to tell him. He was doing for the Tennants what he would have done for any of his corporate clients — pulling permits, studying land deeds and requesting from DuPont all documentation related to Dry Run Landfill — but he could find no evidence that explained what was happening to the cattle. ‘‘We were getting frustrated,’’ Bilott said. ‘‘I couldn’t blame the Tennants for getting angry.’’

With the trial looming, Bilott stumbled upon a letter DuPont had sent to the E.P.A. that mentioned a substance at the landfill with a cryptic name: ‘‘PFOA.’’ In all his years working with chemical companies, Bilott had never heard of PFOA. It did not appear on any list of regulated materials, nor could he find it in Taft’s in-house library. The chemistry expert that he had retained for the case did, however, vaguely recall an article in a trade journal about a similar-sounding compound: PFOS, a soaplike agent used by the technology conglomerate 3M in the fabrication of Scotchgard.

Bilott hunted through his files for other references to PFOA, which he learned was short for perfluorooctanoic acid. But there was nothing. He asked DuPont to share all documentation related to the substance; DuPont refused. In the fall of 2000, Bilott requested a court order to force them. Against DuPont’s protests, the order was granted. Dozens of boxes containing thousands of unorganized documents began to arrive at Taft’s headquarters: private internal correspondence, medical and health reports and confidential studies conducted by DuPont scientists. There were more than 110,000 pages in all, some half a century old. Bilott spent the next few months on the floor of his office, poring over the documents and arranging them in chronological order. He stopped answering his office phone. When people called his secretary, she explained that he was in the office but had not been able to reach the phone in time, because he was trapped on all sides by boxes.

‘‘I started seeing a story,’’ Bilott said. ‘‘I may have been the first one to actually go through them all. It became apparent what was going on: They had known for a long time that this stuff was bad.’’

Bilott is given to understatement. (‘‘To say that Rob Bilott is understated,’’ his colleague Edison Hill says, ‘‘is an understatement.’’) The story that Bilott began to see, cross-legged on his office floor, was astounding in its breadth, specificity and sheer brazenness. ‘‘I was shocked,’’ he said. That was another understatement. Bilott could not believe the scale of incriminating material that DuPont had sent him. The company appeared not to realize what it had handed over. ‘‘It was one of those things where you can’t believe you’re reading what you’re reading,’’ he said. ‘‘That it’s actually been put in writing. It was the kind of stuff you always heard about happening but you never thought you’d see written down.’’

The story began in 1951, when DuPont started purchasing PFOA (which the company refers to as C8) from 3M for use in the manufacturing of Teflon. 3M invented PFOA just four years earlier; it was used to keep coatings like Teflon from clumping during production. Though PFOA was not classified by the government as a hazardous substance, 3M sent DuPont recommendations on how to dispose of it. It was to be incinerated or sent to chemical-waste facilities. DuPont’s own instructions specified that it was not to be flushed into surface water or sewers. But over the decades that followed, DuPont pumped hundreds of thousands of pounds of PFOA powder through the outfall pipes of the Parkersburg facility into the Ohio River. The company dumped 7,100 tons of PFOA-laced sludge into ‘‘digestion ponds’’: open, unlined pits on the Washington Works property, from which the chemical could seep straight into the ground. PFOA entered the local water table, which supplied drinking water to the communities of Parkersburg, Vienna, Little Hocking and Lubeck — more than 100,000 people in all.

Bilott learned from the documents that 3M and DuPont had been conducting secret medical studies on PFOA for more than four decades. In 1961, DuPont researchers found that the chemical could increase the size of the liver in rats and rabbits. A year later, they replicated these results in studies with dogs. PFOA’s peculiar chemical structure made it uncannily resistant to degradation. It also bound to plasma proteins in the blood, circulating through each organ in the body. In the 1970s, DuPont discovered that there were high concentrations of PFOA in the blood of factory workers at Washington Works. They did not tell their workers this. In 1981, 3M — which continued to serve as the supplier of PFOA to DuPont and other corporations — found that ingestion of the substance caused birth defects in rats. After 3M shared this information, DuPont tested the children of pregnant employees in their Teflon division. Of seven births, two had eye defects. DuPont did not make this information public.

In 1984, DuPont became aware that dust vented from factory chimneys settled well beyond the property line and, more disturbing, that PFOA was present in the local water supply. DuPont declined to disclose this finding. In 1991, DuPont scientists determined an internal safety limit for PFOA concentration in drinking water: one part per billion. The same year, DuPont found that water in one local district contained PFOA levels at three times that figure. Despite internal debate, it declined to make the information public.

(In a statement, DuPont claimed that it did volunteer health information about PFOA to the E.P.A. during those decades. When asked for evidence, it forwarded two letters written to West Virginian government agencies from 1982 and 1992, both of which cited internal studies that called into question links between PFOA exposure and human health problems.)

By the ’90s, Bilott discovered, DuPont understood that PFOA caused cancerous testicular, pancreatic and liver tumors in lab animals. One laboratory study suggested possible DNA damage from PFOA exposure, and a study of workers linked exposure with prostate cancer. DuPont at last hastened to develop an alternative to PFOA. An interoffice memo sent in 1993 announced that ‘‘for the first time, we have a viable candidate’’ that appeared to be less toxic and stayed in the body for a much shorter duration of time. Discussions were held at DuPont’s corporate headquarters to discuss switching to the new compound. DuPont decided against it. The risk was too great: Products manufactured with PFOA were an important part of DuPont’s business, worth $1 billion in annual profit.

But the crucial discovery for the Tennant case was this: By the late 1980s, as DuPont became increasingly concerned about the health effects of PFOA waste, it decided it needed to find a landfill for the toxic sludge dumped on company property. Fortunately they had recently bought 66 acres from a low-level employee at the Washington Works facility that would do perfectly.

By 1990, DuPont had dumped 7,100 tons of PFOA sludge into Dry Run Landfill. DuPont’s scientists understood that the landfill drained into the Tennants’ remaining property, and they tested the water in Dry Run Creek. It contained an extraordinarily high concentration of PFOA. DuPont did not tell this to the Tennants at the time, nor did it disclose the fact in the cattle report that it commissioned for the Tennant case a decade later — the report that blamed poor husbandry for the deaths of their cows. Bilott had what he needed.

In August 2000, Bilott called DuPont’s lawyer, Bernard Reilly, and explained that he knew what was going on. It was a brief conversation.

The Tennants settled. The firm would receive its contingency fee. The whole business might have ended right there. But Bilott was not satisfied.

‘‘I was irritated,’’ he says.

DuPont was nothing like the corporations he had represented at Taft in the Superfund cases. ‘‘This was a completely different scenario. DuPont had for decades been actively trying to conceal their actions. They knew this stuff was harmful, and they put it in the water anyway. These were bad facts.’’ He had seen what the PFOA-tainted drinking water had done to cattle. What was it doing to the tens of thousands of people in the areas around Parkersburg who drank it daily from their taps? What did the insides of their heads look like? Were their internal organs green?

Bilott spent the following months drafting a public brief against DuPont. It was 972 pages long, including 136 attached exhibits. His colleagues call it ‘‘Rob’s Famous Letter.’’ ‘‘We have confirmed that the chemicals and pollutants released into the environment by DuPont at its Dry Run Landfill and other nearby DuPont-owned facilities may pose an imminent and substantial threat to health or the environment,’’ Bilott wrote. He demanded immediate action to regulate PFOA and provide clean water to those living near the factory. On March 6, 2001, he sent the letter to the director of every relevant regulatory authority, including Christie Whitman, administrator of the E.P.A., and the United States attorney general, John Ashcroft.

DuPont reacted quickly, requesting a gag order to block Bilott from providing the information he had discovered in the Tennant case to the government. A federal court denied it. Bilott sent his entire case file to the E.P.A.

‘‘DuPont freaked out when they realized that this guy was onto them,’’ says Ned McWilliams, a young trial lawyer who later joined Bilott’s legal team. ‘‘For a corporation to seek a gag order to prevent somebody from speaking to the E.P.A. is an extraordinary remedy. You could realize how bad that looks. They must have known that there was a small chance of winning. But they were so afraid that they were willing to roll the dice.’’

With the Famous Letter, Bilott crossed a line. Though nominally representing the Tennants — their settlement had yet to be concluded — Bilott spoke for the public, claiming extensive fraud and wrongdoing. He had become a threat not merely to DuPont but also to, in the words of one internal memo, ‘‘the entire fluoropolymers industry’’ — an industry responsible for the high-performance plastics used in many modern devices, including kitchen products, computer cables, implantable medical devices and bearings and seals used in cars and airplanes. PFOA was only one of more than 60,000 synthetic chemicals that companies produced and released into the world without regulatory oversight.

‘‘Rob’s letter lifted the curtain on a whole new theater,’’ says Harry Deitzler, a plaintiff’s lawyer in West Virginia who works with Bilott. ‘‘Before that letter, corporations could rely upon the public misperception that if a chemical was dangerous, it was regulated.’’ Under the 1976 Toxic Sub­stances Control Act, the E.P.A. can test chemicals only when it has been provided evidence of harm. This arrangement, which largely allows chemical companies to regulate themselves, is the reason that the E.P.A. has restricted only five chemicals, out of tens of thousands on the market, in the last 40 years.

It was especially damning to see these allegations against DuPont under the letterhead of one of the nation’s most prestigious corporate defense firms. ‘‘You can imagine what some of the other companies that Taft was representing — a Dow Chemical — might have thought of a Taft lawyer taking on DuPont,’’ Larry Winter says. ‘‘There was a threat that the firm would suffer financially.’’ When I asked Thomas Terp about Taft’s reaction to the Famous Letter, he replied, not quite convincingly, that he didn’t recall one. ‘‘Our partners,’’ he said, ‘‘are proud of the work that he has done.’’

Bilott, however, worried that corporations doing business with Taft might see things differently. ‘‘I’m not stupid, and the people around me aren’t stupid,’’ he said. ‘‘You can’t ignore the economic realities of the ways that business is run and the way clients think. I perceived that there were some ‘What the hell are you doing?’ responses.’’

The letter led, three years later, in 2006, to DuPont’s reaching a $16.5 million settlement with the E.P.A., which had accused the company of concealing its knowledge of PFOA’s toxicity and presence in the environment in violation of the Toxic Substances Control Act. (DuPont was not required to admit liability.) At the time, it was the largest civil administrative penalty the E.P.A. had obtained in its history, a statement that sounds more impressive than it is. The fine represented less than 2 percent of the profits earned by DuPont on PFOA that year.

Bilott never represented a corporate client again.

The obvious next step was to file a class-action lawsuit against DuPont on behalf of everyone whose water was tainted by PFOA. In all ways but one, Bilott himself was in the ideal position to file such a suit. He understood PFOA’s history as well as anyone inside DuPont did. He had the technical and regulatory expertise, as he had proved in the Tennant case. The only part that didn’t make sense was his firm: No Taft lawyer, to anyone’s recollection, had ever filed a class-action lawsuit.

It was one thing to pursue a sentimental case on behalf of a few West Virginia cattle farmers and even write a public letter to the E.P.A. But an industry-threatening class-action suit against one of the world’s largest chemical corporations was different. It might establish a precedent for suing corporations over unregulated sub­stances and imperil Taft’s bottom line. This point was made to Terp by Bernard Reilly, DuPont’s in-house lawyer, according to accounts from Bilott’s plaintiff’s-lawyer colleagues; they say Reilly called to demand that Bilott back off the case. (Terp confirms that Reilly called him but will not disclose the content of the call; Bilott and Reilly decline to speak about it, citing continuing litigation.) Given what Bilott had documented in his Famous Letter, Taft stood by its partner.

A lead plaintiff soon presented himself. Joseph Kiger, a night-school teacher in Parkersburg, called Bilott to ask for help. About nine months earlier, he received a peculiar note from the Little Hocking water district. It arrived on Halloween day, enclosed in the monthly water bill. The note explained that an unregulated chemical named PFOA had been detected in the drinking water in ‘‘low concentrations,’’ but that it was not a health risk. Kiger had underlined statements that he found particularly baffling, like: ‘‘DuPont reports that it has toxicological and epidemiological data to support confidence that exposure guidelines established by DuPont are protective of human health.’’ The term ‘‘support confidence’’ seemed bizarre, as did ‘‘protective of human health,’’ not to mention the claim that DuPont’s own data supported its confidence in its own guidelines.

Still, Kiger might have forgotten about it had his wife, Darlene, not already spent much of her adulthood thinking about PFOA. Darlene’s first husband had been a chemist in DuPont’s PFOA lab. (Darlene asked that he not be named so that he wouldn’t be involved in the local politics around the case.) ‘‘When you worked at DuPont in this town,’’ Darlene says today, ‘‘you could have everything you wanted.’’ DuPont paid for his education, it secured him a mortgage and it paid him a generous salary. DuPont even gave him a free supply of PFOA, which, Darlene says, she used as soap in the family’s dishwasher and to clean the car. Sometimes her husband came home from work sick — fever, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting — after working in one of the PFOA storage tanks. It was a common occurrence at Washington Works. Darlene says the men at the plant called it ‘‘Teflon flu.’’

In 1976, after Darlene gave birth to their second child, her husband told her that he was not allowed to bring his work clothes home anymore. DuPont, he said, had found out that PFOA was causing health problems for women and birth defects in children. Darlene would remember this six years later when, at 36, she had to have an emergency hysterectomy and again eight years later, when she had a second surgery. When the strange letter from the water district arrived, Darlene says, ‘‘I kept thinking back to his clothing, to my hysterectomy. I asked myself, what does DuPont have to do with our drinking water?’’

Joe called the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources (‘‘They treated me like I had the plague’’), the Parkersburg office of the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (‘‘nothing to worry about’’), the water division (‘‘I got shut down’’), the local health department (‘‘just plain rude’’), even DuPont (‘‘I was fed the biggest line of [expletive] anybody could have been fed’’), before a scientist in the regional E.P.A. office finally took his call.

‘‘Good God, Joe,’’ the scientist said. ‘‘What the hell is that stuff doing in your water?’’ He sent Kiger information about the Tennant lawsuit. On the court papers Kiger kept seeing the same name: Robert Bilott, of Taft Stettinius & Hollister, in Cincinnati.

Bilott had anticipated suing on behalf of the one or two water districts closest to Washington Works. But tests revealed that six districts, as well as dozens of private wells, were tainted with levels of PFOA higher than DuPont’s own internal safety standard. In Lubeck, the Kigers’ district, the water tested positive for PFOA at seven times the limit. All told, 70,000 people were drinking poisoned water. Some had been doing so for decades.

But Bilott faced a vexing legal problem. PFOA was not a regulated substance. It appeared on no federal or state list of contaminants. How could Bilott claim that 70,000 people had been poisoned if the government didn’t recognize PFOA as a toxin — if PFOA, legally speaking, was no different than water itself? In 2001, it could not even be proved that exposure to PFOA in public drinking water caused health problems. There was scant information available about its impact on large populations. How could the class prove it had been harmed by PFOA when the health effects were largely unknown?

The best metric Bilott had to judge a safe exposure level was DuPont’s own internal limit of one part per billion. But when DuPont learned that Bilott was preparing a new lawsuit, it announced that it would re-evaluate that figure. As in the Tennant case, DuPont formed a team composed of its own scientists and scientists from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. It announced a new threshold: 150 parts per billion.

Bilott found the figure ‘‘mind-blowing.’’ The toxicologists he hired had settled upon a safety limit of 0.2 parts per billion. But West Virginia endorsed the new standard. Within two years, three lawyers regularly used by DuPont were hired by the state D.E.P. in leadership positions. One of them was placed in charge of the entire agency. ‘‘The way that transpired was just amazing to me,’’ Bilott says. ‘‘I suppose it wasn’t so amazing to my fellow counsel in West Virginia who know the system there. But it was to me.’’ The same DuPont lawyers tasked with writing the safety limit, Bilott said, had become the government regulators responsible for enforcing that limit.

Bilott devised a new legal strategy. A year earlier, West Virginia had become one of the first states to recognize what is called, in tort law, a medical-monitoring claim. A plaintiff needs to prove only that he or she has been exposed to a toxin. If the plaintiff wins, the defendant is required to fund regular medical tests. In these cases, should a plaintiff later become ill, he or she can sue retroactively for damages. For this reason, Bilott filed the class-action suit in August 2001 in state court, even though four of the six affected water districts lay across the Ohio border.

Meanwhile the E.P.A., drawing from Bilott’s research, began its own investigation into the toxicity of PFOA. In 2002, the agency released its initial findings: PFOA might pose human health risks not only to those drinking tainted water, but also to the general public — anyone, for instance, who cooked with Teflon pans. The E.P.A. was particularly alarmed to learn that PFOA had been detected in American blood banks, something 3M and DuPont had known as early as 1976. By 2003 the average concentration of PFOA in the blood of an adult American was four to five parts per billion. In 2000, 3M ceased production of PFOA. DuPont, rather than use an alternative compound, built a new factory in Fayetteville, N.C., to manufacture the substance for its own use.

Bilott’s strategy appeared to have worked. In September 2004, DuPont decided to settle the class-action suit. It agreed to install filtration plants in the six affected water districts if they wanted them and pay a cash award of $70 million. It would fund a scientific study to determine whether there was a ‘‘probable link’’ — a term that delicately avoided any declaration of causation — between PFOA and any diseases. If such links existed, DuPont would pay for medical monitoring of the affected group in perpetuity. Until the scientific study came back with its results, class members were forbidden from filing personal-injury suits against DuPont.

A reasonable expectation, at this point, was that the lawyers would move on. ‘‘In any other class action you’ve ever read about,’’ Deitzler says, ‘‘you get your 10 bucks in the mail, the lawyers get paid and the lawsuit goes away. That’s what we were supposed to do.’’ For three years, Bilott had worked for nothing, costing his firm a fortune. But now Taft received a windfall: Bilott and his team of West Virginian plaintiff lawyers received $21.7 million in fees from the settlement. ‘‘I think they were thinking, This guy did O.K.,’’ Deitzler says. ‘‘I wouldn’t be surprised if he got a raise.’’

Not only had Taft recouped its losses, but DuPont was providing clean water to the communities named in the suit. Bilott had every reason to walk away.

He didn’t.

‘‘There was a gap in the data,’’ Bilott says. The company’s internal health studies, as damning as they were, were limited to factory employees. DuPont could argue — and had argued — that even if PFOA caused medical problems, it was only because factory workers had been exposed at exponentially higher levels than neighbors who drank tainted water. The gap allowed DuPont to claim that it had done nothing wrong.

Bilott represented 70,000 people who had been drinking PFOA-laced drinking water for decades. What if the settlement money could be used to test them? ‘‘Class members were concerned about three things,’’ Winter says. ‘‘One: Do I have C8 in my blood? Two: If I do, is it harmful? Three: If it’s harmful, what are the effects?’’ Bilott and his colleagues realized they could answer all three questions, if only they could test their clients. Now, they realized, there was a way to do so. After the settlement, the legal team pushed to make receipt of the cash award contingent on a full medical examination. The class voted in favor of this approach, and within months, nearly 70,000 West Virginians were trading their blood for a $400 check.

The team of epidemiologists was flooded with medical data, and there was nothing DuPont could do to stop it. In fact, it was another term of the settlement that DuPont would fund the research without limitation. The scientists, freed from the restraints of academic budgets and grants, had hit the epidemiological jackpot: an entire population’s personal data and infinite resources available to study them. The scientists designed 12 studies, including one that, using sophisticated environmental modeling technology, determined exactly how much PFOA each individual class member had ingested.

It was assured that the panel would return convincing results. But Bilott could not predict what those results would be. If no correlation was found between PFOA and illness, Bilott’s clients would be barred under the terms of the agreement from filing any personal-injury cases. Because of the sheer quantity of data provided by the community health study and the un­limited budget — it ultimately cost DuPont $33 million — the panel took longer than ex­pected to perform its analysis. Two years passed without any findings. Bilott waited. A third year passed. Then a fourth, a fifth, a sixth. Still the panel was quiet. Bilott waited.

It was not a peaceful wait. The pressure on Bilott at Taft had built since he initiated the class-action suit in 2001. The legal fees had granted him a reprieve, but as the years passed without resolution, and Bilott continued to spend the firm’s money and was unable to attract new clients, he found himself in an awkward position.

‘‘This case,’’ Winter says, ‘‘regardless of how hugely successful it ends up, will never in the Taft firm’s mind replace what they’ve lost in the way of legal business over the years.’’

The longer it took for the science panel to conduct its research, the more expensive the case became. Taft continued to pay consultants to interpret the new findings and relay them to the epidemiologists. Bilott counseled class members in West Virginia and Ohio and traveled frequently to Washington to attend meetings at the E.P.A., which was deciding whether to issue advisories about PFOA. ‘‘We were incurring a lot of expenses,’’ Bilott says. ‘‘If the scientific panel found no link with diseases, we’d have to eat it all.’’

Clients called Bilott to say that they had received diagnoses of cancer or that a family member had died. They wanted to know why it was taking so long. When would they get relief? Among those who called was Jim Tennant. Wilbur, who had cancer, had died of a heart attack. Two years later, Wilbur’s wife died of cancer. Bilott was tormented by ‘‘the thought that we still hadn’t been able to hold this company responsible for what they did in time for those people to see it.’’

Taft did not waver in its support of the case, but the strain began to show. ‘‘It was stressful,’’ Sarah Barlage, Bilott’s wife, says. ‘‘He was exasperated that it was lasting a long time. But his heels were so dug in. He’s extremely stubborn. Every day that went by with no movement gave him more drive to see it through. But in the back of our minds, we knew that there are cases that go on forever.’’

His colleagues on the case detected a change in Bilott. ‘‘I had the impression that it was extremely tough on him,’’ Winter says. ‘‘Rob had a young family, kids growing up, and he was under pressure from his firm. Rob is a private person. He didn’t complain. But he showed signs of being under enormous stress.’’

In 2010, Bilott began suffering strange attacks: His vision would blur, he couldn’t put on his socks, his arms felt numb. His doctors didn’t know what was happening. The attacks recurred periodically, bringing blurry vision, slurred speech and difficulty moving one side of his body. They struck suddenly, without warning, and their effects lasted days. The doctors asked whether he was under heightened stress at work. ‘‘Nothing different than normal,’’ Bilott told them. ‘‘Nothing it hadn’t been for years.’’

The doctors ultimately hit upon an effective medication. The episodes ceased and their symptoms, apart from an occasional tic, are under control, but he still doesn’t have a diagnosis.

‘‘It was stressful,’’ Bilott says, ‘‘not to know what the heck was going on.’’

In December 2011, after seven years, the scientists began to release their findings: there was a ‘‘probable link’’ between PFOA and kidney cancer, testicular cancer, thyroid disease, high cholesterol, pre-eclampsia and ulcerative colitis.

‘‘There was relief,’’ Bilott says, understated nearly to the point of self-effacement. ‘‘We were able to deliver what we had promised to these folks seven years earlier. Especially since, for all those years, DuPont had been saying that we were lying, trying to scare and mislead people. Now we had a scientific answer.’’

As of October, 3,535 plaintiffs have filed personal-injury lawsuits against DuPont. The first member of this group to go to trial was a kidney-cancer survivor named Carla Bartlett. In October, Bartlett was awarded $1.6 million. DuPont plans to appeal. This may have ramifications well beyond Bartlett’s case: Hers is one of five ‘‘bellwether’’ cases that will be tried over the course of this year. After that, DuPont may choose to settle with every afflicted class member, using the outcome of the bellwether cases to determine settlement awards. Or DuPont can fight each suit individually, a tactic that tobacco companies have used to fight personal-injury lawsuits. At the rate of four trials a year, DuPont would continue to fight PFOA cases until the year 2890.

DuPont’s continuing refusal to accept responsibility is maddening to Bilott. ‘‘To think that you’ve negotiated in good faith a deal that everybody has abided by and worked on for seven years, you reach a point where certain things were to be resolved but then remain contested,’’ he says. ‘‘I think about the clients who have been waiting for this, many of whom are sick or have died while waiting. It’s infuriating.’’

As part of its agreement with the E.P.A., DuPont ceased production and use of PFOA in 2013. The five other companies in the world that produce PFOA are also phasing out production. DuPont, which is currently negotiating a merger with Dow Chemical, last year severed its chemical businesses: They have been spun off into a new corporation called Chemours. The new company has replaced PFOA with similar fluorine-based compounds designed to biodegrade more quickly — the alternative considered and then discarded by DuPont more than 20 years ago. Like PFOA, these new substances have not come under any regulation from the E.P.A. When asked about the safety of the new chemicals, Chemours replied in a statement: ‘‘A significant body of data demonstrates that these alternative chemistries can be used safely.’’

Last May, 200 scientists from a variety of disciplines signed the Madrid Statement, which expresses concern about the production of all fluorochemicals, or PFASs, including those that have replaced PFOA. PFOA and its replacements are suspected to belong to a large class of artificial compounds called endocrine-disrupting chemicals; these compounds, which include chemicals used in the production of pesticides, plastics and gasoline, interfere with human reproduction and metabolism and cause cancer, thyroid problems and nervous-system disorders. In the last five years, however, a new wave of endocrinology research has found that even extremely low doses of such chemicals can create significant health problems. Among the Madrid scientists’ recommendations: ‘‘Enact legislation to require only essential uses of PFASs’’ and ‘‘Whenever possible, avoid products containing, or manufactured using, PFASs. These include many products that are stain-resistant, waterproof or nonstick.’’

When asked about the Madrid Statement, Dan Turner, DuPont’s head of global media relations, wrote in an email: ‘‘DuPont does not believe the Madrid Statement reflects a true consideration of the available data on alternatives to long-chain perfluorochemicals, such as PFOA. DuPont worked for more than a decade, with oversight from regulators, to introduce its alternatives. Extensive data has been developed, demonstrating that these alternatives are much more rapidly eliminated from the body than PFOA, and have improved health safety profiles. We are confident that these alternative chemistries can be used safely — they are well characterized, and the data has been used to register them with environmental agencies around the world.’’

Every year Rob Bilott writes a letter to the E.P.A. and the West Virginia D.E.P., urging the regulation of PFOA in drinking water. In 2009, the E.P.A. set a ‘‘provisional’’ limit of 0.4 parts per billion for short-term exposure, but has never finalized that figure. This means that local water districts are under no obligation to tell customers whether PFOA is in their water. In response to Bilott’s most recent letter, the E.P.A. claimed that it would announce a ‘‘lifetime health advisory level for PFOA’’ by ‘‘early 2016.’’

This advisory level, if indeed announced, might be a source of comfort to future generations. But if you are a sentient being reading this article in 2016, you already have PFOA in your blood. It is in your parents’ blood, your children’s blood, your lover’s blood. How did it get there? Through the air, through your diet, through your use of nonstick cookware, through your umbilical cord. Or you might have drunk tainted water. The Environmental Working Group has found manufactured fluoro­chemicals present in 94 water districts across 27 states (see sidebar beginning on Page 38). Residents of Seattle; Wilmington, Del.; Colorado Springs; and Nassau County on Long Island are among those whose water has a higher concentration of fluorochemicals than that in some of the districts included in Rob Bilott’s class-action suit. The drinking water in Parkersburg itself, whose water district was not included in the original class-action suit and has failed to compel DuPont to pay for a filtration system, is currently tainted with high levels of PFOA. Most residents appear not to know this.

Where scientists have tested for the presence of PFOA in the world, they have found it. PFOA is in the blood or vital organs of Atlantic salmon, swordfish, striped mullet, gray seals, common cormorants, Alaskan polar bears, brown pelicans, sea turtles, sea eagles, Midwestern bald eagles, California sea lions and Laysan albatrosses on Sand Island, a wildlife refuge on Midway Atoll, in the middle of the North Pacific Ocean, about halfway between North America and Asia.

‘‘We see a situation,’’ Joe Kiger says, ‘‘that has gone from Washington Works, to statewide, to the United States, and now it’s everywhere, it’s global. We’ve taken the cap off something here. But it’s just not DuPont. Good God. There are 60,000 unregulated chemicals out there right now. We have no idea what we’re taking.’’

Bilott doesn’t regret fighting DuPont for the last 16 years, nor for letting PFOA consume his career. But he is still angry. ‘‘The thought that DuPont could get away with this for this long,’’ Bilott says, his tone landing halfway between wonder and rage, ‘‘that they could keep making a profit off it, then get the agreement of the governmental agencies to slowly phase it out, only to replace it with an alternative with unknown human effects — we told the agencies about this in 2001, and they’ve essentially done nothing. That’s 14 years of this stuff continuing to be used, continuing to be in the drinking water all over the country. DuPont just quietly switches over to the next substance. And in the meantime, they fight everyone who has been injured by it.’’

Bilott is currently prosecuting Wolf v. DuPont, the second of the personal-injury cases filed by the members of his class. The plaintiff, John M. Wolf of Parkersburg, claims that PFOA in his drinking water caused him to develop ulcerative colitis. That trial begins in March. When it concludes, there will be 3,533 cases left to try.

Further Reading

For more about DuPont’s FPOA pollution, see ‘‘The Teflon Toxin’’ by Sharon Lerner (The Intercept, Aug. 17, 2015) and ‘‘Welcome to Beautiful Parkersburg, West Virginia’’ by Mariah Blake (The Huffington Post, Aug. 27, 2015).

Nathaniel Rich is a contributing writer for the magazine and the author of ‘‘Odds Against Tomorrow.’’ He lives in New Orleans and is a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books and The Atlantic.

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