Report Links Corporate Pollution to Dioxin Found in Blood of Louisiana Residents
21 Corporate Crime Reporter 31, July 24, 2007

Government data shows that major industrial companies are responsible for the African American residents of Mossville, Louisiana having levels of dioxins in their blood that are three times higher than that of the general U.S. population.

That's according to a report released today by Advocates for Environmental and Human Rights in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The report found that Mossville residents have significant levels of dioxins contaminating their household dust and yard soil, as well as the foods they eat.

Dioxin is group of cancer-causing chemicals that are the by-product of manufacturing processes at several industrial facilities surrounding the Mossville community.

Federal agencies have claimed not to know the sources of the elevated levels of dioxins in Mossville, a heavily industrialized area located next to the city of Lake Charles.

But the report finds that the agencies' own environmental reports and recently released human health testing data show that specific industrial facilities are the sources of the dioxin poisoning in the Mossville community.

“These federal agencies had all of the data, but they never told residents anything about the corporate sources of poisoning,” said the group’s co-director Nathalie Walker. “And the government isn’t doing a thing about it.”

“Immediate corrective action is needed to eliminate the local industrial sources of dioxins detected in the blood and environment of Mossville residents,” Walker said. “There should be relocation of all willing residents, long-term medical monitoring, and a moratorium that prohibits any new permits for activities or enterprises that release dioxins in or near Mossville.”

Mossville, a historic African American community located in the outskirts of Lake Charles is surrounded by fourteen industrial facilities, including the largest concentration of vinyl production facilities in the US, an oil refinery, a coal-fired power plant, and several other petrochemical manufacturers.

The report claims that the corporations have contaminated bayous and lakes, polluted the air with high levels of cancer-causing chemicals, and spilled toxic chemicals for several decades.

For over a decade, members of the Mossville community have complained about unaccounted for illnesses.

A 1998 health study conducted by the University of Texas at Galveston, Medical Branch revealed that Mossville residents suffer from a host of severe health problems associated with toxic industrial pollution including respiratory ailments, cancer, and diseases affecting the kidney and liver.

“When I was growing up in the 1950s we didn't have all this sickness before the industrial facilities came to Mossville,” said resident Dorothy Felix, a member of Mossville Environmental Action Now, Inc., one of the groups releasing the report. “Now it's so common to know people who frequently go to the doctor for all kinds of health problems...I'm talking about teenage girls with endometriosis and young children who have asthma all the time. I am concerned about the future for my great-grandchildren and my community.”

The report finds a correlation between Mossville-area industrial dioxin releases and the dioxin compounds found in the blood of residents.

Relying on data the collected by the EPA and included in its Toxic Release Inventory, the report's authors said they were able to confirm that dioxin emissions from the Georgia Gulf vinyl manufacturing facility match those found in the blood of residents.


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