Planet Waves FM Special Edition: Gage Hall Survivors

March 5th, 2012 EFC Posted in News No Comments »

Sunday I spent the day in Connecticut, interviewing four graduates of SUNY New Paltz who lived in the dioxin dorms between 1992 and 1994. This is a one hour program that includes an introduction to the issue in the first few minutes, before the interviews begin. The story relates to some college dormitories that were contaminated by PCBs and dioxins in 1991, and which were reoccupied without proper testing or cleanup. While on one level this is a story about one incident on one campus, in truth New Paltz is everywhere.

If you would like to read additional background, here is a recent article, called “Who Will Tell Students About the Dioxin Dorms?” Here is a website devoted to the issue, and a blog that updates fairly regularly.

If you know people in the media, such as editors to radio hosts to bloggers, please send them this page. Thank you.

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New article in Science Daily: Multigenerational Effects

March 3rd, 2012 EFC Posted in News No Comments »

This new article in Science Daily covers the issue of multigenerational effects of a diversity of chemicals.

Here is a quote:

A Washington State University researcher has demonstrated that a variety of environmental toxicants can have negative effects on not just an exposed animal but the next three generations of its offspring.

The animal’s DNA sequence remains unchanged, but the compounds change the way genes turn on and off — the epigenetic effect studied at length by WSU molecular biologist Michael Skinner and expanded on in the current issue of the online journal PLoS ONE.

While Skinner’s earlier research has shown similar effects from a pesticide and fungicide, this is the first to show a greater variety of toxicants — including jet fuel, dioxin, plastics and the pesticides DEET and permethrin — promoting epigenetic disease across generations.

“We didn’t expect them all to have transgenerational effects, but all of them did,” Skinner said. “I thought hydrocarbon would be negative but it was positive too.”

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Statement of Katyanna Keyser

February 25th, 2012 EFC Posted in News No Comments »

This is the second in a series of statements by former residents of the Dioxin Dorms. I will be posting more as they come in. If you lived Bliss, Capen, Gage or Scudder halls, please write to me at dreams@planetwaves.net. Thank you. –efc

My name is Katyanna Keyser and I am a breast cancer survivor who lived in Gage Hall at SUNY @New Paltz from 1991-1993.

Entering as a freshman my name was Katyanna Fetterling.

In late December of 1991 there was a car crash releasing dangerous toxins into our dorm [Gage Residence Hall] causing it to close for a brief period of time. On Feb 1, 1992 we were invited back into the dorms with reassurance that it was “safe.” My parents trusted that the institution was honest and entrusted my welfare in them.

I lived in Gage Hall until June 1993.

For the next 15 years I muddled through life with a low immune system and was sick often.

In 2008, just 2 months after getting married, I felt a lump in my breast. I acted quick and was in the doctor’s office the next day where they whisked me away to St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany, NY for my 1st mammogram. Within seconds I was in another room receiving an ultra sound. Minutes later, I was in front of the director of the breast cancer center in tears. She was 100% insistent that I had a cancerous tumor and needed a sentinel node biopsy the following day. I was broken, in tears and in shock, a newlywed, childless and 36 with no family history of breast cancer.

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Letter to N. Paltz Student Association Senate

February 22nd, 2012 EFC Posted in News No Comments »

Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012

Richard Ichioku Byakugan
Student Association Senator
Student Union Building
SUNY New Paltz
New Paltz, NY 12561

Dear Richard:

This is in response to your request for a brief summary about the toxins situation in Bliss, Capen, Gage and Scudder residence halls. The issue is fully documented at a website called DioxinDorms.com, though I can state the basic facts.

The four dorms plus two other buildings — Parker Theater and Coykendall — were contaminated when a power surge caused a series of transformers to explode. This happened Dec. 29, 1991. The transformers, located in their respective buildings, were filled with a toxic fluid that had been banned as “an imminent threat to human health and the environment” many years earlier; the equipment on campus was ‘grandfathered’ in and allowed to stay but was no less dangerous, as the situation has demonstrated.

Speaking of the dorms per se, all four on that quad were contaminated when the fluid, ashes, smoke and fumes flooded the buildings at different severities. My research indicates that all were re-opened to students prematurely, without adequate testing, and in truth they should be torn down and replaced because repairing them properly would cost more than replacement.

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Dioxin Freaks Unite

February 18th, 2012 EFC Posted in News No Comments »

We’ve been through a week of exemplary astrology — really beautiful stuff: the Jupiter-Chiron sextile, which Mercury comes dancing through; the signs Taurus and Pisces involved; and Jupiter sitting right on the discovery degree of Chiron. I’ve long associated Chiron with environmental issues and the healing of the Earth. No sooner did I ask my question — how is it that the dioxin issue surfaced in a big way today, and has been popping up in smaller ways for many weeks — than I had my answer, at least from an astrological standpoint. Frankly you would think that working as a dioxin activist would drive anyone to be an astrologer, but it’s only happened once.

It's not an aspect -- it's dioxin, the most toxic chemical. To be precise, it's 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-para-dioxin, or 2,3,7,8 TCDD for short. Note the distinctive, extremely stable double benzene ring, the bonded-on chlorine and the two oxygen molecules that make it flat and therefore deadly. If it was an aspect it would be a grand sextile -- note the six-sided shape of the benzene ring. That's why dioxin is so persistent. Benzene rings last a long time.

It's not an aspect -- it's dioxin, the most toxic chemical. To be precise, it's 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-para-dioxin, or 2,3,7,8 TCDD for short. Note the distinctive, extremely stable double benzene ring, the bonded-on chlorine and the two oxygen molecules that make it flat and therefore deadly. If it was an aspect it would be a grand sextile -- note the six-sided shape of the benzene ring. That's why dioxin is so persistent. Benzene rings last a long time.

Environmental toxins issues move so slowly and against such odds it’s amazing they get anywhere, ever. But occasionally they do. The standout event today was the EPA finally, after some 20 years, releasing its reassessment of the toxicity of dioxin.

This study — really, a review of every known study — has been brewing since the 1990s, which cannot have been 20 years ago but it was, amidst truly incredible scandals.

Those astonishing scandals (hardly the first in history; the story of dioxin is the story of nonstop coverups) were so successful at obfuscating the issues that I’ve only seen dioxin covered (or even mentioned) on television about three or four times in all of those 20 years, when really it’s so significant it should be discussed every night.

Dioxin is bad for fetuses. It’s bad for the female and male reproductive systems. It’s bad for any animal (plants don’t seem to mind it, but then animals eat the plants).

How bad is bad? So bad you’re not supposed to know about it. Let’s see if I can get the backstory into one paragraph. In the early 1990s, the paper industry wanted to cover up the growing awareness of the extreme, as in ridiculous, toxicity of dioxin. So they commissioned a reassessment of that toxicity by the EPA, figuring that they could run their coverup from there. But as the data started coming in, it was damning. Dioxin was far worse than they thought, it affected more organ systems at lower levels and more was in the environment than they suspected. The reassessment ran out of control and became the international headquarters for proving how bad the stuff really is. That was largely thanks to two scientists: Dr. William Farland and Dr. Cate Jenkins, two people who actually understood the problem.

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