Archive for First Nations

4/7/14 Media Advisory: Environmental Health Protection Candidate Asks St. Lawrence County Legislature When Dialogue on PCBs and POPs

Environmental Health Protection Candidate Asks St. Lawrence County
Legislature When Dialogue on PCBs and POPs

Monday, April 7, 2014, 7:00 PM

St. Lawrence County Courthouse, Legislative Board Room, Canton, NY USA

St. Lawrence County has a long history of PCB releases to the
environment.  Three industrial facilities in the Town of Massena used
and released PCBs for several decades before the substances were
banned in the 1970s.  Open waste burning creates and releases PCBs.
This source of PCB releases has been of major significance ever since
plastics became a large part of the waste stream.  A state wide ban on
open waste burning took effect in 2009.  The practice continues but at
a decreased level of activity.

Everyone in St. Lawrence County, everyone on Earth has a body burden
of PCBs and the other persistent organic pollutants (POPs).  Some of
the other well known POPs include:  dioxins, DDT, Mirex, Toxaphene and
brominated flame retardants.  The World Health Organization recommends
action to minimize the exposure that children receive to these
chemicals.  POPs exposure is linked to increased risk for diseases and
disorders, including:  cancer, diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune
disease, autism, ADHD, obesity, reproductive problems, cognitive
impairments and immune system dysfunction.

Minimizing exposure involves a simple, straightforward process of
education and decision making.  Providing the general public with
information on the damages to health that are associated with exposure
to POPs and making known the fact that POPs are contaminants of all
animal fats goes far to fulfill the educational component of this
process.  Educated people then have the opportunity to choose to
consume little or no animal fats.  In the case of flame retardants,
household and vehicle interior dust are significant sources of
exposure.  Regular cleaning addresses these sources.

“Earth Month 2014 is a great time to push forward with environmental
health protection.  When will the St. Lawrence County Legislature
enter into dialogue on the subjects of POPs body burden, disease risk
and exposure minimization with concerned residents of this county and
the Akwesasne Reserve?  There is much opportunity to improve public
health by taking action to minimize exposures.  The dialogue that we
seek is a promising avenue  to governmental action.  I believe that
the St. Lawrence County Public Health Department will someday soon set
about creating its own POPs exposure minimization educational
outreach.  Talking about PCBs and POPs is the place to start.”-Donald
L. Hassig

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4/8/14 News Release: Indian Time Bringing Out the Truth About PCB Exposure and Damages to Health at Akwesasne

Indian Time Bringing Out the Truth About PCB Exposure and Damages to
Health at Akwesasne

http://www.indiantime.net/story/2014/03/27/reader-submission/when-will-the-time-come-for-st-lawrence-county-government-to-talk-with-residents-of-akwesasne-and-st-lawrence-county-about-pcbs/13422.html

“I find great joy in having my letter published by Indian Time.  The
willingness of Indian Time to assist with bringing out the Truth about
past and ongoing PCB exposures and damages to health at Akwesasne is
most encouraging.  I feel very hopeful about change coming when I
think about the power of information published on the internet.  I
believe that many residents of Akwesasne will learn about persistent
organic pollutants (POPs) exposure minimization through the joint
efforts of Cancer Action NY and Indian Time.  This is the way public
health education should be, people working together to share
information about avoidable health hazards.”-Donald L. Hassig

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3/18/14 Media Advisory: Dialogue on Past and Ongoing PCB Exposures of Akwesasne and St. Lawrence County with St. Lawrence County Board of Health

Dialogue on Past and Ongoing PCB Exposures of Akwesasne and St.
Lawrence County with St. Lawrence County Board of Health

Tuesday, March 18, 2014, 6:00 PM

Second Floor Conference Room, St. Lawrence County Human Services
Building, State Route 310, Canton, NY USA

PCBs were and continue to be part of life for Akwesasne and St.
Lawrence County residents.  Providing educational outreach on the
subject of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) exposure minimization
to these populations is a critical step in minimizing the harm that
this exposure will cause.  POPs exposure minimization education comes
before the St. Lawrence County Board of Health at its March 18
meeting.  Obtaining the support of the Board of Health is a key step
in creating an educational outreach on POPs
exposure minimization within the Public Health Department.

PCBs are part of a larger group of chemicals referred to as POPs.  All
animal fat is contaminated with POPs.  This has come to be the case
due to the longterm presence of POPs in the environment.  Minimizing
POPs exposure will reduce risk of developing diseases and disorders,
including:  cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune
diseases, reproductive problems, autism, hypothyroidism, ADHD and
cognitive impairments.

“Public health protection is largely about education.  Providing
residents of Akwesasne and St. Lawrence County with information on the
POPs exposure that results from consumption of animal fat foods,
including:  meats, fish, dairy products and eggs empowers changes in
diet that minimize POPs exposure.  Once people know that they continue
to be exposed to PCBs and the other POPs when they eat animal fat,
they can choose foods that contain little or no animal fat.  This
choice is the strongest action that a person can take to avoid
exposure to some of the most dangerous of man-made chemicals.  The St.
Lawrence County Board of Health can take a major part in helping the
St. Lawrence County Public Health Department set up a POPs exposure
minimization education program.”-Donald L. Hassig

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Celebrating Truth Coming Out in 2012 and Looking Joyously Ahead to Days of Bringing Good Change in 2013

On December 31, 2012, I gave a spoken word/environmental dance
performance in the Main Hallway of the St. Lawrence County Courthouse
celebrating this past year when the World as we have known it changed
in a tremendously important way.  In 2012, the Truth came out about
the harm that corporations are doing to the Earth and its inhabitants.
Together with this Truth came the Truth about government failure to
act upon its responsibility to protect the environment and the public
health.  These Truths are now widely know.  This knowledge matters.
This knowledge of fundamental Truths concerning life in a World
dominated by industrialized societies is a powerful force for bringing
change.

As I danced and spoke freely about Truths of such significance, I
experienced intensely a panoply of feelings:  the desire to create
justice, anger that corporate/government culture people are causing so
much harm, determination to keep on pounding away at the work of
creating government accountability, and gladness that 2012 had
unveiled the bad behaviors of the corporate/government culture.  I am
so happy to have found a way to move forward with bringing change that
is beautiful, exciting and mindful.

In the wonderful moments of dance and speaking from my heart, two new
thoughts came to me.  I conceived of the need for action to minimize
the suffering that is taking place due to harm having been done to the
people of Akwesasne and the Town of Massena by the use and disposal of
industrial chemicals including PCBs and mercury.  Additionally, I
realized the responsibility that dairy farmers bear for having
produced and sold milk fat in a time of animal fat contamination.
This responsibility imposes the duty to take action for minimizing the
suffering of those who consumed milk fat that contained persistent
organic pollutants (POPs) and the duty to take action to minimize
ongoing exposures to POPs.  The dairy farmers of St. Lawrence County
should be showing support for the educational outreach on POPs
exposure minimization that Cancer Action NY has long advocated for.
They should be glad to have the St. Lawrence County Public Health
Department start providing such education.

Exercising freedom of expression has proven itself to be a great
source of inspiration and spiritual power in my life.  As the first
year of the New World begins to unfold, I am deeply joyed to have
dancing and speaking freely to share with my fellow Americans.  I
believe that 2013 will bring amazing advances in the use of scientific
knowledge to protect the environment and the public health.  This is
good for America.  We are finally moving forward with environmental
revolution.

Donald L. Hassig, Director
Cancer Action NY
Cancer Action News Network
P O Box 340
Colton, NY USA 13625
315.262.2456
www.canceractionny.org

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12/31/12 Media Advisory: “2012 Brought Out the Truth About Chemical Exposures at Akwesasne. 2013 Will Bring Action to Minimize Harm.”

Spoken Word Performance:
“2012 Brought Out the Truth About Chemical Exposures at Akwesasne.
2013 Will Bring Action to Minimize Harm.”

Monday, December 31, 2012, 12:00 PM

St. Lawrence County Courthouse, Main Hallway Outside Legislative Board
Room, Canton, NY USA

2012 was the End of the World as we know it.  Things are very
different now.  This is because the Truth had been coming out for some
considerable period of years and it came out most powerfully of all in
2012.  Here in the St. Lawrence River Valley, the Truth about
industrial chemical exposure and damage to health came clear for many.
At the November 15, Grasse River Superfund clean-up meeting, the
people of Akwesasne spoke the words of exposure to PCBs, ruined health
and determination to bring about changes that would begin to protect
and improve their health.  In 2013, like never before, we will see the
fruits of the Truth having become know.

The people of the Akwesasne Reserve have received exposures to
industrial chemicals including PCBs and mercury that are resulting in
damages to health.  Many are suffering cancers, diabetes, heart
disease, reproductive problems, and learning disabilities.  Action to
minimize the harm that results from these exposures is of critical
importance.  Such actions include:  education on avoidable exposures,
high quality health care and clean-up of contamination.  These things
will only be done if significant numbers of people voice support for
doing them.

Cancer Action NY and Eagle Creek Entertainment are working together to
organize an awareness raising concert.  This concert will feature Native
American performers and keynote speakers on the subject of the
poisoning of Akwesasne.  We are hopeful that the event will galvanize
widespread public support for action.  The concert will take place in Spring
of 2013.


Donald L. Hassig, Director
Cancer Action NY
Cancer Action News Network
P O Box 340
Colton, NY USA 13625
315.262.2456
www.canceractionny.org

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12/27/12 Letter to Suzanne Wells, US EPA Concerning POPs Exposure Minimization Education on Akwesasne Reserve and in Town of Massena

12/27/12

Suzanne Wells
Superfund Program
US Environmental Protection Agency
Transmitted by electronic mail

Dear Ms. Wells,

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a broad mandate to
protect the environment and public health.  I believe that this
mandate includes making full use of scientific knowledge to minimize
the harm that will result from contamination of the environment with
man-made chemicals.  Populations, which reside in the vicinity of POPs
contaminated sites, have received respiratory exposures to site
specific contaminants as a result of evaporation from the sites.  Oral
exposures have occurred whenever local fish and wildlife were
consumed.  These exposures have taken place in addition to exposures
received as a result of the presence of POPs in all animal fats
available in the mainstream food supply, including those animal fats
found in meats, dairy products, eggs and fish.  Consumption of
mainstream food supply animal fats is a major source of exposure for
the populations referred to above.  Exposure minimization is key to
minimizing harm.  Accomplishing exposure minimization requires
providing people with warnings of major exposure routes.  Providing
such warnings makes possible exposure avoidance behavioral changes.

I am interested in creating an educational outreach for the
populations at the Akwesasne Reserve and in the Town of Massena that
provides residents with a warning of the
POPs exposure health hazard constituted by contamination of mainstream
food supply animal fat foods, including:  meats, eggs, fish and dairy
products available in
supermarkets.  This education is important due to a history of site
related exposures to POPS.  I have spoken with leaders in both
Akwesasne and the Town of Massena and it is clear that there is little
or no public awareness of this health hazard.  People are aware of the
PCB contamination that exists in St. Lawrence River, Grasse River and
Raquette River fish, but they are completely in the dark regarding
mainstream food supply contamination.  Making mainstream food supply
contamination known to these populations is a key step in minimizing
the POPs exposures received in the St. Lawrence River Valley.  I am
hopeful that widespread awareness of this health hazard will lead to
new consumption patterns that exclude hotdogs, hamburgers, bologna,
butter, lard, and other foods high in animal fats.

I believe that EPA is one of the governmental entities most suited to
providing populations that reside in the vicinity of POPs contaminated
sites with a warning of the POPs exposure health hazard constituted by
mainstream food supply contamination.  I would like to enter into a
dialogue with EPA for the purpose of creating an educational outreach
within the agency designed to provide this warning.

I have provided a copy of my proposal for educational outreach below.
Please review the proposal as a preliminary to entering into the
proposed dialogue.

joyous in Nature,

Donald L. Hassig

_______________________________________________________________________

Proposal for Minimizing Harm to Human Health Resultant from Persistent
Organic Pollutants Contamination of the Environment:  Focus on
Akwesasne

Overview

Exposure minimization is a key paradigm of public health protection.
The Akwesasne Reserve located along the St. Lawrence River at the
mouths of the Grasse, Raquette and St. Regis rivers is a place of
above average exposures to persistent organic pollutants (POPs).  This
exposure has resulted from the contamination of the region with PCBs,
which were used and disposed of at the ALCOA West facility, the former
Reynolds Metals facility and the former GM Powertrain facility.  The
region has received additional inputs of POPs as a result of being
located downstream and downwind from the Great Lakes Basin.
Considering the excess exposure that has occurred here, POPs  exposure
minimization is merited.  Two important strategies of exposure
minimization are:  (1) contaminant removal and (2) educational
outreach on exposure minimization, which involves making known the
existence of the POPs exposure health hazard constituted by
contamination of all animal fats, including both fats present in local
wild caught fish and wildlife as well as fats present in the meats,
fish, dairy products and eggs available in the mainstream food supply.

This project proposal is for the establishment of an educational
outreach on the subject of POPs exposure minimization on the Akwesasne
Reserve and in the Town of Massena.  The educational outreach would
implement strategies, including:  (1) door to door visits for the
purpose of distributing literature and speaking directly with
residents; (2) development of a website based upon the website
akwesasnehealth.wordpress.com; (3) presentations to community groups;
and (4) dialogue with the health professionals of the project area.

Contamination of the Global Environment

During the past 100 years the manufacture and use of certain
halogenated hydrocarbons has gradually led to the contamination of the
global environment.  These substances are highly resistant to natural
break-down processes.  They are also soluble in fats.  Because of
these two characteristics, POPs accumulate to the highest levels in
organisms at the top of food chains.  Many species of organisms have
body burdens of POPs.  Consumption of animal fats is the major
exposure route for this group of anthropogenic chemicals.

All peoples of the Earth bear body burdens of POPs, but those who
consume relatively large quantities of animal fats have the greatest
accumulation of POPs in their fat tissues.  First Nations peoples with
diets composed largely of fish and wildlife have received particularly
heavy POPs exposures.

POPs are not evenly distributed throughout the world.  These
substances evaporate at elevated temperatures and condense out of cold
air to redeposit onto the surface of the planet.  The boreal and
arctic ecosystems are reservoirs of POPs.  The sediments of the Great
Lakes are another vast POPs reservoir.  The outdoor air of the Great
Lakes region contains elevated concentrations of POPs.  Those First
Nations peoples living in the Great Lakes region and downwind from the
Great Lakes on the St. Lawrence River receive significant respiratory
POPs exposures in addition to the POPs exposures  resultant from
consumption of fish and wildlife produced in these ecosystems.

Excess Exposures of the People of Akwesasne

The people of Akwesasne, a Mohawk reserve located on the St. Lawrence
River East of Massena, New York, have a long history of consuming fish
from the St. Lawrence River.  Akwesasne is not only downwind from
Great Lakes POPs.  It is downwind also from nearby POPs contaminated
waste disposal sites on the ALCOA West property, the former Reynolds
Metals property and the former GM Powertrain site.  All three
properties contain areas that were classified as Superfund sites.
Major remedial activities have taken place at these sites, but
remediation was conducted many years after disposal activities
contaminated soils and sediments.  Large quantities of PCBs remain on
the former GM Powertrain site.  All sites were sources of PCB releases
to the outdoor atmosphere leading to respiratory exposures for
decades.  Thus the people of Akwesasne have received oral and
respiratory exposures to POPs that are far in excess of the average
exposure of residents of North America.

Damages to Human Health

The scientific research literature of POPs exposure impacts on human
health is vast and rapidly growing.  Scientific knowledge now supports
the conclusion that POPs exposure at current levels of food supply
contamination imposes a significant quantity of disease risk upon the
average consumer of animal based foods.  Damages to health associated
with POPs exposure include:  cancer, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular
disease, immune system dysfunction, impairment of sexual function,
autoimmune diseases, impairment of cognitive function and obesity.

Akwesasne residents experience high rates of type 2 diabetes,
cardiovascular disease and cancer.  Epidemiological studies have
demonstrated a connection between PCB exposure and elevated incidence
of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease at Akwesasne.  Anecdotal
evidence supports the conclusion that cancer incidence is far above
average in this place where so much exposure to POPs has occurred for
so very many years.

Minimization of Harm to Human Health

A groundbreaking public health policy document titled, “Persistent
Organic Pollutants:  Impact on Child Health” was published in 2010 by
the World Health Organization.  This report recommends that health
arena leaders take action to minimize the exposure that children
receive to POPs.

POPs exposure minimization can be accomplished via a number of
strategies.  The strategies involving action to reduce the presence of
POPs in the environment and food supply include:  banning the
production and use of POPs such as brominated flame retardants,
clean-up of POPs contaminated sites and establishing a prohibition
against the use of animal fats in the feeding of food animals.  POPs
exposure minimization can also be accomplished by implementing
strategies that motivate exposure avoidance behaviors.  Principal
among these strategies is POPs exposure minimization education.  Such
education involves providing the general public with a clearly set
forth warning describing the POPs health hazard and recommending
limited animal fat consumption.

“Persistent Organic Pollutants:  Impact on Child Health”, World Health
Organization, 2010

http://www.who.int/ceh/publications/persistent_organic_pollutant/en/index.html

Restricting consumption of all animal fats is highlighted as a
priority strategy for POPs exposure minimization.  Simona Surdu, PhD
is the report’s major author.  David O. Carpenter, MD, Director of the
SUNY Albany Institute for Health and the Environment is a contributing
author.  The WHO recently designated the Institute for Health and the
Environment as one of its world-wide centers.

“Children are more sensitive than adults to almost all dangerous
substances, and that particularly is true for persistent organic
pollutants (POPs).  Prenatal and early life exposure to POPs results
in reduced cognitive function, suppressed immune system function and
altered development of the reproductive system as well as increased
risk of development of other diseases, such as cancer, later in
life.”-David O. Carpenter, MD

Multiple exposure to POPs and resultant unquantified total damages to
health are addressed in the 2010 WHO policy document.  Use of
precaution is advised in the face of incomplete yet substantial
knowledge of serious damages to health resulting from POPs exposure.
Concerns involving gestational, lactational, childhood and adolescent
exposures are raised.  This is the first time that a governmental
public health entity has provided leadership on the use of scientific
knowledge to minimize the harm that will result from global POPs
contamination.   Focus on action to minimize exposure makes this a
highly important public health protection document.

The National Center for Environmental Health and the Agency for Toxic
Substances and Disease Registry of the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention have begun a process for developing educational pieces on
the subject of POPs exposure minimization.  Early documents in this
vein include a piece intended for education of physicians on the
subject of PCB exposure health effects and another physician education
piece on the subject of dioxin exposure health effects.  These
documents would be utilized in educational outreach to physicians
practicing within the project area.

Summary

During the course of the past 100 years the global environment has
become heavily polluted with a large number of man-made chemicals,
many of which persist in the environment and accumulate to the highest
levels at the top of food chains.  POPs are a major part of global
contamination.  Human beings are heavily impacted by POPs exposures:
cancers, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, ADHD, reduced
cognitive function, impaired immune system function  and altered
reproductive function.  The time is upon us for cooperative efforts by
governmental public health entities and non-government environmental
health organizations to conduct educational outreach programs focusing
on POPs exposure minimization.  Such educational outreach is a crucial
part of the overall effort to minimize the harm that will result from
POPs contamination of our world.


Donald L. Hassig, Director
Cancer Action NY
Cancer Action News Network
P O Box 340
Colton, NY USA 13625
315.262.2456
www.canceractionny.org

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12/10/12 News Release: Larry Thompson on Trial for Action to End Chemical Assault

On August 11, 2011, Larry Thompson entered the GM Powertrain Superfund
site and proceeded to excavate the Toxic Mound, an illegal industrial
waste landfill that EPA had decided to leave in place on the site.
The Toxic Mound industrial landfill had no liner.  It is located
adjacent to the Akwesasne Reserve.  Water stands on the reserve within
a short distance from the base of the Toxic Mound.  This water has
been found to be contaminated with PCBs.  There is much suffering and
death from diseases that are associated with PCB exposure amongst the
people of Raquette Point and the rest of Akwesasne.

Larry Thompson had consulted with his Clan Mother and it was her
position that the Toxic Mound must be removed from the GM Superfund
site.  Considering the many years of inaction on clean-up and the EPA
decision to leave the Toxic Mound, Larry chose to take action on
removal.

The New York State Police responded to a complaint of an intruder at
the Superfund site.  Mr. Thompson was arrested and charged with
criminal mischief, criminal trespass, reckless endangerment and
resisting arrest.  A Grand Jury was convened and decided to indict Mr.
Thompson.

Larry Thompson has chosen to represent himself.  A trial date has been
set for December 11, 2012.  St. Lawrence County Judge Jerome Richards
will be presiding.  It is Mr. Thompson’s intention to argue that New
York State courts have no jurisdiction over him due to the fact that
he has never given up any of his primal sovereignty.  Mr. Thompson
considers himself to be a member of a tribal group of people that
refer to themselves as Onkwehonwe, which means pure people.  The
Onkwehonwe have never made any treaties or pacts with New York State
or the government of the United States.

St. Lawrence County benefited from the economic activity that took
place in connection with the industrial facilities located along the
St. Lawrence River between Massena and Akwesasne.  St. Lawrence County
government bears responsibility for minimizing the harm that will
result from the polluting of the region with industrial chemicals.
The St. Lawrence County Public Health Department should commence an
educational outreach designed to warn the residents of Akwesasne and
Massena of the persistent organic pollutants (POPs) exposure health
hazard.  By telling the people of this region the whole Truth of food
supply contamination, much of the ongoing exposure to POPs could be
eliminated.  Most people are still unaware of the presence of POPs in
the meats, fish, eggs and dairy products that are available in
supermarkets.  They think that by avoiding eating the fish and
wildlife of the area they are eliminating their exposures to PCBs.
Minimizing ongoing exposures is a critical part of minimizing harm.

Exposure to industrial chemicals has imposed a terrible burden of
disease upon the people of Akwesasne.  Many, many people who live
downwind and downstream from the ALCOA facilities and the former GM
Powertrain facility in St. Lawrence County have died from cancer,
diabetes and heart disease.  Scientific knowledge has accumulated,
which provides a solid foundation for concluding that exposure to
industrial chemicals caused this.  The people of Akwesasne are under
an assault that consists of industrial chemical exposures.
Corporations that used hazardous substances including PCBs and mercury
are responsible for this assault.  The governments of New York State
and the United States are also responsible for this assault because
they failed to control the corporations that were using the hazardous
chemicals.  Government responsibility for this assault also arises
from government’s failure to warn the residents of Akwesasne of the
health hazard constituted by persistent organic pollutants (POPs)
contamination of the mainstream food supply.  All of the animal fats
present in foods available in supermarkets, including:  meats, fish,
dairy products and eggs are contaminated with POPs.  In 2010, the
World Health Organization (WHO) published a report titled, “Persistent
Organic Pollutants:  Impact on Child Health”.  WHO calls for a
worldwide effort to minimize the exposures that children receive to
POPs.  WHO states that populations residing in the vicinity of POPs
contaminated sites such as the GM Powertrain Superfund Site should be
given first consideration for action to minimize their POPs exposures.


Donald L. Hassig, Director
Cancer Action NY
Cancer Action News Network
P O Box 340
Colton, NY USA 13625
315.262.2456
www.canceractionny.org

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