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#7 - New Data Reveal Who Produces Toxics, Industry By Industry -- Wall Of Secrecy Begins To Fall, 11-Jan-1987

Where do hazardous wastes come from? Over the years, American
industrialists have made decisions causing large quantities of
hazardous chemicals to enter the environment. The public has been
excluded from these decisions. If the public had been asked, the
decisions might have been made differently. But the decision-making
process was closed.

Now, during the '80s, those decision-making processes are being opened
up to public scrutiny for the first time. This represents a new
frontier: public input into industrial decisions affecting the natural
and human environments. Providing the information-engine for this
movement is an increasingly sophisticated coalition of environmental,
labor and community activists armed with computer technology, making it
possible for local citizens and small-town decision-makers to gain
access to information they would previously have been denied.

During February, 1987, we will begin putting on-line in the Rachel
database a unique resource that tells people what chemicals are being
used by what industries. For 535 representative factories from 143
different standard industrial classifications (SIC codes, 4-digit), we
will present quantitative information about their use of 100 different
cancer-causing chemicals: how much they purchase, how much they
produce, how much they dump into a local sewer, how much they dump into
local rivers and streams, how much inventory they maintain at any one
time, how much they allow to escape via the smokestack, how much they
allow to escape through fugitive (uncontrolled) emissions, and, lastly,
how much they dump.

The data are specific to industries in New Jersey (America's number one
producer of chemicals), but the data are typical of industries
everywhere, so all decision-makers and interested citizens can find
this unique information resource useful and relevant to their local
situation. At the very least, armed with this information, citizens can
ask the manager of a local factory, "In New Jersey, your industry uses
these toxic chemicals in large quantity. Is your operation different?
If you say Yes, give us the data to back up your claim."

The data was gathered from 1978 through 1982 in a unique program
conducted by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
(DEP). The data-gathering effort began when Dr. Glenn Paulson was
directing scientific research for the New Jersey DEP. Dr. Paulson is
now with Clean Sites, Inc., in Alexandria, VA. The intention of the
program was to gather data about industries, so that the sources of
hazardous and toxic chemicals could become known for the first

--Peter Montague



A federal appeals court in November, 1986, ruled that the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) acted properly when it refused to
set strict limits on emissions of vinyl chloride, a cancer-causing
chemical used in making plastics. The court said the Clean Air Act did
not support the view of the plaintiff, the Natural Resources Defense
Council, that the EPA was required to set strict limits on vinyl
chloride emissions and said that EPA Administrator Lee Thomas had
properly concluded that the agency had the discretion to weigh cost and
available technology in deciding not to impose the regulations.

--Peter Montague



Two national essay contests are being held regarding smoking; both
sides in the cigarette fight say they are holding their contest to
increase public awareness of the issue. In Oct. 1986 the Philip Morris
Companies announced a contest with a $15,000 grand prize and winners in
each state for essays answering how an advertising ban on tobacco
products would affect "the future of free expression in a free market

A spokesman for the NY-based maker of Marlboro cigarettes said the
contest was in response to a call made by the American Medical
Association (AMA) for a ban on all tobacco advertising except at the
point of sale.

On Nov. 3, 1986 a physicians' organization, Doctors Ought to Care,
announced their contest with a $1,000 top prize. Their contest, aimed
primarily at law students, asks, "Are tobacco company executives
criminally liable for the deaths, diseases and fires that their
products cause?"

In broadest terms, tobacco raises questions about car manufacturers who
knowingly sell unsafe products to an unsuspecting public, chemical
company executives who sell products they know will pollute the
environment when they are discarded, and pesticide executives who
convince farmers of the need for dangerous chemicals they know will end
up contaminating mothers' milk and everyone's morning cup of

--Peter Montague


Descriptor terms: tobacco; public participation; public health; philip
morris; american medical association; advertising; marlboro cigarettes;
production; liability; cancer; fires; pesticides; cigarettes;
pollution; hazardous waste; chemicals; environmentalists; rachel;
databases; statistics; clean sites, inc; sic codes; new jersey
industrial survey; nj; statistics; production; lawsuits; epa; nrdc;
limits; vinyl chloride; cancer; chemicals; plastics; regulations;