Green Delaware Alert #493
Delaware cases of Multiple Myeloma sought
Blood cancer thought connected to DuPont titanium dioxide plant emissions
“Jury Awards Man $14M in Lawsuit Against DuPont”
Over five years, DuPont’s Edge Moor plant reports 560 pounds of “dioxin” to Toxics Release Inventory
June 13, 2006
Longtime Delaware activist Maryanne McGonegal has multiple myeloma, a relatively rare blood cancer associated with exposure to dioxin. Dioxin is probably the most toxic chemical compound we know of and is tied to a wide range of health problems. It is so toxic that the minimum reportable quantity is one-tenth of a gram–about 1/280th of an ounce.
The three largest dioxin sources in the United States are DuPont’s Edge Moor (Delaware), DeLisle (Mississippi), and New Johnsonville (Tennessee), titanium dioxide plants. The Delaware plant has generally been the worst:. For 2001, Edge Moor reported 169 pounds of dioxin, 52 percent of total US dioxin. In that year DuPont overall was responsible for 70 percent of reported US dioxin. (For details see Green Delaware’s website, especially Alert 242 at http://greendel.org/item.xhtml?name=alert_0242 .)
Dioxin has only been reported under the “TRI” since 2000, but DuPont’s Edge Moor plant has been running the dioxin-making “chloride” process since about 1956. Here is a brief summary of DuPont Edge Moor dioxin data reported under the Toxics Release Inventory (which the Bush administration is trying to curtail):
2000 85 pounds
2001 169 pounds
2002 153 pounds
2003 91 pounds
2004 62 pounds
total 560 pounds
Most of this has gone into “solid waste” and not directly into the air. But people have been exposed to the dust. In recent years most of these wastes have gone to a garbage dump in Lee County, South Carolina, as an unregulated waste–and apparently with no warnings to the community. Before that it was piled up on the banks of the Delaware River in the notorious “Dioxin Pile” the Minner administration seems determined to protect. Before that it was casually piled up, spread around, put into the Cherry Island garbage dump, used by the Corps of Engineers to build berms, etc. (For more information, search on “Dioxin Pile” at www.greendel.org. Particularly, learn about how State Representative Diana McWilliams and State Senator Harris McDowell have sided with DuPont over the health of their constituents.)
Dioxin-contaminated wastes from Edge Moor have also intentionally been added to Wilmington’s drinking water–as a “filter aid.”
In Mississippi, over two thousand people are sueing DuPont, alleging harm to their health from DuPont’s toxic emissions. The first case tried was that of Glen Strong, who, the jury decided, got MULTIPLE MYELOMA from eating shellfish contaminated by DuPont. (DuPont dumped large amounts of toxic materials into the water; they accumulated in marine organisms which people ate …)
Now, people are looking for other cases of multiple myeloma in Delaware, especially in or around the Edge-Moor plant. If you know of any such cases, please report them to:
Susan Mangini <firstname.lastname@example.org>, (302)738-6126, (302)559-9084
“I need everyone to help to identify others in Delaware who have “Multiple Myeloma”, like Maryanne. I would like to focus on the area around the City of Wilmington, near the DuPont Edgemoor Site, where Maryanne lives, and work outwards from there. Please
forward this email to other groups who maybe able to help us. Email me with names of other multiple myeloma victims as they are discovered.
Thank you for your carisoprodol help with this.”
(See attached story below.)
Comment from Green Delaware:
A very quick look at some cancer statistics for Delaware as a whole did not seem to indicate that multiple myeloma has been elevated in the state as a whole. But there could be a “cancer cluster” associated with DuPont’s Edge Moor plant. We are seeking more detailed information from the Delaware Cancer Registry.
In general, public health authorities tend to minimize the connection between disease and chemical pollution, and this has certainly been true in Delaware, where the political power of the chemical industry has been overwhelming. But evidence for the connection keeps growing stronger. See, for example, ”
Environmental Chemicals Implicated In Cancer, Say Experts” at
Jury Awards Man $14M in Lawsuit Against DuPont
The Associated Press
An oyster fisherman from Mississippi who claimed chemicals from a DuPont factory caused his rare blood cancer was awarded $14
million in actual damages in the first of 1,996 lawsuits involving the plant.
A jury found DuPont DeLisle at fault Friday for Glen Strong’s multiple myeloma. Strong’s wife received $1.5 million for loss
of “love and companionship.” The jury was scheduled to meet again Monday to decide on punitive damages.
DuPont officials say they plan to appeal.
“There is no connection between our operations and any health effects alleged by the plaintiffs,” said Mary Kate Campbell, a
Strong and 1,995 other plaintiffs filed lawsuits claiming releases of dioxins from the plant caused a variety of health
problems. The chemical company is defending each case individually.
DuPont DeLisle, about five miles from Strong’s home, makes titanium dioxide, a white pigment used in paint, plastics, toothpaste
and other products.
Victor Hawkins, who worked at the plant for 18 years, testified that releases from faulty disposal stacks often produced
clouds of dust floating over the employee parking lot that took the paint off cars. Hawkins said DuPont later installed an automated car wash for workers to drive through at the end of the day.
“There’s never been anything so egregious as it is here,” said Al Hopkins, Strong’s attorney. “This chemical company cares
nothing about the people of south Mississippi.”
Trial lawyers claimed dioxins — chemicals that in some forms can be hazardous even in small amounts — entered Strong’s
body through the air and by eating oysters harvested from St. Louis Bay on the Gulf of Mexico.
DuPont called no witnesses in its defense Thursday, relying on testimony of Strong’s doctor, who said there was no way to
determine the root of multiple myeloma.
Just before the trial began, the Mississippi Supreme Court upheld sanctions issued by the judge in the case excluding nine DuPont
witnesses from testifying in the case — a decision the company also plans to appeal.
“The jury was prevented from hearing from the real scientists, who would have proven that DuPont was not responsible for Mr.
Strong’s illness,” Campbell said. “We don’t blame the jury, because they only heard half the story.”
The judge ruled that DuPont “deliberately avoided” depositions of its witnesses by not giving Strong’s attorneys an opportunity to interview them before the trial.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press.
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