Phyllis Glazer, of Winona, has spent the past few years and her own inheritance fighting a waste-injection well facility in her community. In 1992, she and neighbors formed MOSES \(Mothers Organized elieves that dioxin is of one of many chemicals residents of the community have been breathing, and that the source of those chemicals is the American Ecology Environmental Services Corporation formerly run by Gibralhandles and stores over seven hundred chemicals in different combinations,” said Glazer. She adds that the community usually doesn’t know which chemicals are being dispersed into the local environment, partly due to the lack of consistent oversight or testing for dioxin by the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission. Gibraltar had been cited for numerous TNRCC violations, including handling PCBs beyond the plant’s licensed capacity \(according to Glazer, twenty-four times agement claimed they weren’t handling PCBs at all. During that period several years ago, after what was called an “upset” \(an explosion or release of toxins, possibly resulting from an incompatible mix of 101ncluded a woman who began lactating at the age of sixty-six. That was before the Winona community had heard about the hormone-mimicking effects of dioxin. Glazer says her own nasal septum “disintegrated” as she drove past the plant during a release, and she suffered throat burns. She described additional damaged septum cases, cancers, numerous rare genetic birth defects, and immune-system depression in Winona-area people and livestock. For her, the Baton Rouge conference was inspiring. “To see so many people who refused to be victimizedit empowers us to do something.” Midlothian, Texas, roughly a hundred miles southwest of Winona, is not downwind of the AEESC injection well, but residents there have reason to believe they are breathing the identical chemicals. One of the three cement companies in Midlothian wastes originating from the Winona AEESC plant. “What’s not injected [at Winona] will come to Midlothian to be burned,” said Sue Pope, founder of the Midlothian-area organization, Down ‘ winders at Risk. She notes that the area supports four or five dairies and is a beefraising area, yet “neither the milk nor the beef is tested for dioxin.” Pope says she became a full-time activist out of necessity. “It’s not the dairies’ fault, but not one living being has been tested by the TNRCC for dioxin.” The TNRCC recently issued a controversial report on the Midlothian area, and concluded that the cement-kiln incineration and related industries posed no ongoing risk to area residents. The Sierra Club and other environmentalist organizations have charged that the report is superficial and misleading, especially because it is not derived from human or animal studies. CONFERENCE COORDINATOR Lester described the meeting as an important stage of anti-dioxin orga nization. “What I see coming out of the conference is a coordinated group, keeping in touch with each other. This is not a final step, but a long-term strategic planning group with a very diverse membership.” Lester said a “cookbook” of conclusions from the strategic planning workshops will be compiled and distributed to conference-goers. The conference also addressed alternatives to dioxin-creating industries. Wayne Roberts, a Toronto-based economist, discussed corporate welfare for the chlorine industry. “We are literally paying to kill ourselves,” he said, “[yet] we have economic answers to chlorine and its derivatives. We can replace it.” It was Roberts who suggested we may be “dying for Barbie and Ken” \(citing the material used to make the toy, polyvinyl chloride, as a dolls also exemplify the dangers of dioxin’s hormonal effects. “If you want to see what dioxin doescheck out Ken.” Texas today: a state full of Sunbelt boosters, strident anti-unionists, oil and gas companies, nuclear weapons and power plants, political hucksters, underpaid workers and toxic wastes, to mention a few. BUT DO NOT DESPAIR! SUBSCRIBE TO: r,,,, Lf Ill TIXAS 4111server Name Address City State Zip $32 enclosed for a one-year subscription. Bill me for $32. The Texas Observer 307 West 7th Street Austin,TX 78701 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 7
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