Multinational Monitor

APR 2003
VOL 24 No. 4


Chemical Trespass: The Chemical Body Burden and theThreat to Public Health
by Stacy Malkan

The Legacy of Lead: Pervasive Poisoning, Suspect Science and the Industry Effort to Escape Liability
by Wendy Johnson

Mercury and Bush’s Not-So-Clear Skies: The Administration Plan for More Coal Plant Mercury Emissions Over a Longer Period
by Zach Corrigan


Fighting for Asbestos Justice in Brazil
an interview with Fernanda Giannasi


Letter to the Editor

Behind the Lines

Tony Mazzocchi, Environmental Health and Justice Crusader

The Front
Southern Solidarity

The Lawrence Summers Memorial Award

Response to the Columbia Shuttle Disaster

Book Review
The Deadly Politics of Industrial Pollution

Names In the News


Corporate Threats to Environmental Health

Chemical Trespass: The Chemical Body Burden and the Threat to Public Health

by Stacy Malkan

Chemical contamination of water, air and food supplies has been documented for decades, but only recently have scientists begun to uncover details about the industrial pollution of a much more intimate site: our bodies.

It should come as no surprise that industrial chemicals are running through our veins. Industry reported dumping 7.1 billion pounds of hazardous compounds into the air and water in the United States in the year 2000, according to the most recent Toxic Release Inventory, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program that tracks only a subset of industries. But not until recently, with advances in the technology of biomonitoring, have scientists been able to accurately measure the actual levels of chemicals in people's bodies. MORE>>

The Legacy of Lead: Pervasive Poisoning, Suspect Science and the Industry Effort to Escape Liability

by Wendy Johnson

According to a 1997 EPA analysis, every year 9,000 children in the United States are poisoned by lead paint so severely that they are destined to have IQs below 70. The total number of children poisoned by lead paint since its introduction in the early part of the 1900s is in the tens of millions. Although it was banned in 1978, the durable toxin lingers on the windows, walls and porches of older houses and is embedded in the soil around foundations.

Emerging research suggests the problem may be more troubling than previously realized. Scientists are increasingly concluding that tolerances for blood lead levels should be set lower than previously thought. In other words, lead takes a toll on child development in doses much lower than previously believed.

This is a conclusion that the lead and paint industries do not want scientists and - even more importantly - government regulators to reach. Public health advocates charge the industry-friendly Bush administration is stacking government science advisory committees to protect lead businesses - at the expense of children like Simantha. MORE>>

Fighting for Asbestos Justice in Brazil

An Interview with Fernanda Giannasi

Fernanda Giannasi is inspector for the Brazilian Ministry of Labor, and a leader both in the Brazilian and international movements to ban asbestos. A civil engineer by training, she has been a labor inspector since 1983, and has been active in organizing asbestos victims groups. Giannasi has campaigned against double standards by foreign auto manufacturing corporations using asbestos in Brazil in ways they do not in Europe and North America, and against the remaining European multinational corporation in the asbestos mining and manufacturing sector in Brazil, the French firm Saint-Gobain. Saint-Gobain has left the asbestos business in France, and under pressure from Giannasi and others, is, years later, on the verge of selling its asbestos mining interests in Brazil. Saint-Gobain responded to pressure from Giannasi by filing a criminal defamation suit against her. Unions and public health advocates worldwide launched an international solidarity campaign on her behalf; a Brazilian criminal court dismissed the charges against her in December 2002. MORE>>


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