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Re: A bit of history, for those new to the anti-dioxin movement

  At 01:55 AM 8/8/97 -0400 ,jon@cqs.com  wrote:
  >Oh, yes, there's a bit of good news that I forgot to
  >report: after
  >a 6-year battle, a BFI-owned incinerator in Bronx, N.Y.
  >was closed
  >by order of the Governor of New York. 
  That is good news....medical waste incineration in
  general is a high impact, high cost alternative for
  managing medical waste.   The older genre of
  medical waste incinerators without any acid gas or
  decent particulate controls are especially nasty.
  One of the
  >bits of scientific fallout from this struggle is a
  >possible linkage
  >between dioxin-laden particulates and the pandemic of
  >in the U.S. (and possibly elsewhere, I haven't seen the
  >from Europe).
  I doubt there is any connection at all between PCDD/F exposures
  and causation/aggravation of asthma.   I've never seen a single
  article even suggesting this in the American Review of Respiratory Disease
  and Critical Care Medicine, which is the pre-eminent journal
  in the world on respiratory diseases, including asthma.
   The operation of this relatively small
  >waste incinerator - which NEVER had a stack test -
  Any scientist who would conclusively determine that
  a community health effect came from a medical
  waste incinerator on which there was no information 
  about emissions and therefore no way to 
  calculate/predict actual exposures would likely be 
  very quickly blown out of the water.
  >by a DOUBLING of asthma visits to hospitals and clinics
  >and asthma
  Emissions of hydrochloric acid, fine particulate matter and
  possibly airborne chromium (a known risk factor for 
  occupational asthma)  are the more likely cause of any asthma morbidity
  that was found.
  Airborne particulate matter doesn't have to contain 
  any chemical toxicants to exert a toxic effect,
  particularly on pre-existing asthmatics.
  Asthma is a disease of chronic and gross  inflamation of the airways
  of the lung and the resulting sensitization of these tissues
  to further airborne insults.   Acid aerosals and fine particulate matter have
  the potential to seriously aggravate such asthmatic conditions
  by triggering bronchospasm, or a narrowing of the airways
  of the lung, in persons whose airways are already inflamed
  because of exposure to allergens, chronic lung infections,
  exposure to aspirated gastric acids, other occupational/environmental
  exposures, genetic predisposition or from other factors.
  Older medical waste incinerators without effective particulate
  controls are common sources of heavy particulate emissions, particularly
  when poorly trained hospital personnel jam them full of 
  waste creating poor combustion conditions.
  >The possibility that dioxin may be at work in the
  >asthma pandemic
  >is interesting as well because we know that diesel
  >have dioxin molecules clinging to them because
  >solvents are used in the oil refining process for
  >diesel fuel.
  As noted above, I am unaware of any support in the
  medical literature that PCDD/F in diesel particulate
  play any role whatsoever in asthmatic responses.
  If you have such medical literature abstracts,
  "post 'em if you got 'em"
  Diesel particulates contribute to asthmatic responses
  because they are very small and they can be coated
  with irritating substances that condense on such particles.
  Diesel particulate is a cancer hazard primarily because
  it contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are
  also found in cigarette smoke and coke oven emissions.
  Alex J. Sagady & Associates        Email:  asagady@sojourn.com
  Environmental Consulting and Database Systems
  PO Box 39  East Lansing, MI  48826-0039  
  (517) 332-6971 (voice); (517) 332-8987 (fax)