POPs, PCBs pose dangers to North Country, says Lisbon man
Thursday, February 13, 2014 - 6:38 am

To the Editor:

As a result of the use of PCBs at the industrial facilities located in the town of Massena, the people of the Akwesasne Reserve and St. Lawrence County have received harmful exposures to this group of chemicals.

PCBs are some of the most well studied chemicals, belonging to the large group of chemical substances referred to as persistent organic pollutants (POPs).

Over the course of the past several decades a great quantity of scientific knowledge has accumulated on the damages to health imposed by exposure to PCBs and the other POPs.

In 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) published, “Persistent Organic Pollutants: Impact on Child Health.” This report sets forth the conclusion that evidence of serious harm exists and recommends action to minimize the POPs exposure received by children.

Minimizing POPs exposure involves minimizing consumption of animal fats. All animal fats are contaminated with POPs. This includes the animal fats found in mainstream food supply foods such as meats, fish, dairy products, eggs and processed foods in which animal fat is an ingredient.

The WHO report is available at www.who.int/ceh/publications/persistent_organic_pollutant/en/.

People residing at Akwesasne and in St. Lawrence County are suffering diseases and disorders, including cancers, heart disease, type two diabetes, autism, ADHD, reproductive problems and hypothyroidism.

Science has demonstrated that these damages to health are caused by exposure to PCBs and the other POPs.

Steps can be taken to reduce the risk of more Akwesasne and St. Lawrence County residents developing PCB and POPs exposure associated diseases and disorders. Minimizing exposure to PCBs and all other POPs is of highest importance in preventing damages to health in these populations.

There are two major actions that will minimize exposure. Removal of PCBs from the contaminated sites will help to minimize exposure. Choosing to eat little or no animal fat will also help minimize exposure. These are key steps in addressing the poisoning that has occurred here.

The New York State Department of Health and the US Environmental Protection Agency have failed to warn residents of Akwesasne and St. Lawrence County of the POPs exposure health hazard because corporations in the chemicals, manufacturing and foods sectors of the economy oppose providing the public with information on the subjects of POPs exposure and damages to health.

As the truth comes out about this we will create new and better governmental public health entities.

Don Hassig

Lisbon