Dear Friend and Reader:
Eric Francis at home in Brussels, 2007.
It's a miracle that after sixteen years, anyone still cares about the dioxin-contaminated dorms at SUNY New Paltz -- Bliss, Capen, Gage and Scudder halls. Though the incident on Dec. 29, 1991 received plenty of press coverage initially, and led to my investigation that documented the sordid corporate history of PCBs and dioxins,
it is difficult to maintain focus on something that happened so long ago in this era of the "three-day news cycle."
It is true, there are plenty of ugly dioxin and PCB contamination scenes around the world, but New Paltz is in a category of its own. State agencies and a university administration, with full knowledge of both the extent of contamination and also with the extent of missing data, shuffle 1,000 young students a year through tainted buildings.
How many will get sick? It's impossible to tell for sure. Maybe nobody will. Maybe some already are. What we do know is that the risks are not distributed evenly. This is true for the dormitories themselves, where the contamination is spread unevenly, and for the population, where people come into such situations with different predispositions. These may be genetic, they may be based on diet, they may be based on previous exposures to toxins. For example, someone who took care of a lawn using Roundup or a product with the "Plus 2" designation (meaning it contains the dioxin-contaminated herbicide 2,4-D) will face a much greater risk living in one of the dioxin dorms.
In any event, it is ridiculous that young students are living in buildings that have dioxin and PCBs in them, and it is unconscionable, ignorant and evil that anyone could say that such a place is safe. At best, the dioxin dorms at SUNY New Paltz pose an unknown and unknowable risk to an individual, but it's a risk with potentially dire consequences. For more information about the effects of dioxins, PCBs and other hormone-disruptors, I suggest you take a look at Our Stolen Future
, an excellent and informative website and also a book.
What action we may take to have the buildings torn down is another story; for now, my intention is to warn as many students and parents as possible, so that you may at least make an informed decision about whether you or any student you're responsible for want to live there.
This website contains a diversity of articles, some dating back 16 years, others current. There is also a selection of "classic" history-making investigative reports that help establish the basis of concern.
This website is made possible by the efforts of my friends at Planet Waves and others around the world, and it's funded by Planet Waves, Inc.
Thanks for reading.
Brussels, Aug. 1, 2007