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Dioxin News and Resources

Local news articles on Dioxin

Chico News & Review Article on BEC's Dioxin Work (11/21/13)  -- A brief history of dioxin in Oroville, the DA's out-of-court settlement with the incinerator's parent company, and BEC's work on the issue. 

Oroville Mercury-Register runs an article on BEC's, ODEC's dioxin outreach (11/5/13) -- BEC, working with the Oroville Dioxin Education Committee that formed as a result of BEC Public Forums last summer, is running four billboards in Oroville to get citizens involved with the dioxin issue. The Education Committee seeks to offer workshops and lectures through community groups and organizations to give residents the tools they need to reduce their exposure to dioxin, and to urge the City and County to prioritize testing and remediation of dioxin contamination in Oroville.

Other News Articles and General Publications on Dioxin

Dioxin: Connecting the Dots (10/18/2012) -- BEC submitted a paid article in the Chico News & Review highlighting our work on this issue.

Oroville cogeneration plant to cease operations (9/27/2012) -- The controversial cogeneration plant in south Oroville that burns biofuel to produce electricity is shutting down operations by the end of October. The Pacific Oroville Power Inc. plant, aka POPI, is owned by New Jersey-based Covanta Energy; it has been under scrutiny by the Butte County District Attorney’s Office for the past three years for possible environmental violations.

Ash pile moves: The toxic remains of a cogeneration plant are out of here, but questions remain (9/6/2012) -- A 19,000-ton pile of dioxin- and metal-tainted ash that has sat off Hicks Lane in Chico for the past four years is on its way out of town for deposit in a Level 2 landfill in Wheatland.

Waste from co-generation plant tests high for dioxins (7/5/2012) -- Last December the Butte County District Attorney’s Office was alerted to a huge pile of fly ash, some 19,000 tons of the stuff, sitting on property off Hicks Lane in North Chico. The ash, reported by a local citizen, was traced to the Covanta Energy-owned Pacific Oroville Power Inc. facility, which is located in Oroville’s Highway 70 Industrial Park. The ash was recently tested by the Butte Environmental Council for the DA’s Office. While the ash does not reach the definition of hazardous, results do show dangerously elevated levels of dioxins and metals. The dioxin tested out at 459 parts per trillion, which is half of the amount classifying official hazardous waste, but well over the safety levels set by the World Health Organization.

Article "BEC Tests: Dioxins Still High in Some Areas" (6/5/2012)-- June 2012 article from the Chico Enterprise-Record (Oroville Mercury-Register) summarizing information from BEC’s Oroville Library presentation on both rounds of egg testing data.

Ash Pile raises concerns - DA’s Office links it to Oroville cogeneration plant (12/22/2011) -- A huge pile of fly ash recently discovered off Hicks Lane in north Chico has raised environmental concerns with the Butte County District Attorney’s Office. The pile, which is larger in length and width than a football field and about 20 feet tall, sits on property owned by MGM Trucking and has been traced to the Pacific Oroville Power Inc. cogeneration plant in Oroville. Is the ash, which has sat on the site for the past three years, toxic?

Study Continues in Oroville on Backyard Chicken Eggs  (12/5/2011)-- Oroville Mercury-Register (Chico Enterprise-Record) article by Heather Hacking about BEC’s egg testing and what it revealed at that point (prior to the second round of testing).

Oroville cogeneration plant spices up its fuel load. But is it safe? (8/27/2009) -- For the past 25 years, a cogeneration plant in Oroville has burned biofuel in a controlled environment to make electricity that is then sold to Pacific Gas & Electric—enough, it is said, to supply power to 20,000 homes. But lately the fuel mixture used to create that energy has changed, and some local officials are concerned.

Cancer Cluster in Oroville (1/10/2008) -- The discovery of a cluster of pancreatic-cancer cases in Oroville has state and local health officials hunting for an environmental cause, with initial attention focused on the Koppers wood-treatment plant, a former Superfund site that closed in 2001.

After company closure, the Superfund cleanup of Koppers keeps chugging along (10/4/2001) -- Koppers, the wood treatment plant whose operations fouled the soil and water in parts of south Oroville for nearly half a decade, closed in March of this year. And, although ceasing operations has helped clear the way for the federal Environmental Protection Agency to move forward with the Superfund site cleanup, the facility’s legacy—not to mention the soil- and water-cleansing equipment—will stick around for at least 10 more years.

LA Times Article on Koppers Fire in Oroville (9/11/1988)
Description of the 1988 Koppers fire, including assessment of quantities of pentachlorophenol burned (varies). Quotes from Dr. Lynn Goldman, the state Department of Health Services (now California Department of Public Health) epidemiologist who was in charge of the official investigation. Mentions the 1963 Koppers fire; records (and even mention) of this earlier fire are almost non-existent.

LA Times follow up Article on Koppers Fire in Oroville (9/12/1988) 
More information about the Koppers fire and comments from Dr. Lynn Goldman. Discusses other possible sources of dioxins in Oroville, and quotes from Koppers’ plant engineer Steve Smith.

More Resources on Dioxin

View a recent presentation on this topic presented at CSU Chico's Sustainability Conference in March 2013.

Environmental Working Group (EWG)
The mission of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) is to use the power of public information to protect public health and the environment. EWG puts out the “Dirty Dozen” list every year; this is the twelve fruits and vegetables with the most pesticide residues. They also compile the “Skin Deep” database, which has safety information on thousands of different personal care products by brand name. They have a Dioxin link on their website.

Energy Justice Network
This website has a LOT of information. It is not updated frequently but has links to books, heath information, remediation efforts, and groups that are working to stop dioxin at its source.

Dying From Dioxin: a book by Lois Gibbs, Director of Center for Health, Environment & Justice, with contributions from other CHEJ staff. This book gives a clear, easy-to-understand description of dioxin’s origins and effects, as well as the history of dioxin’s (lack of) regulation and corporate influence on protective health policies (not good). The latter half of the book is a guide for organizing for healthy, dioxin-free communities and how to build a movement to make it happen. Great resource for information and inspiration! The book is $12 with shipping and can be ordered online at the Center for Health, Environment & Justice.

EWG comments.pdf

A letter dated 7/7/10 from Environmental Working Group’s Jane Houlihan, Senior Vice President for Research, and Olga V. Naidenko, PhD,Senior Scientist, to Dr. Timothy Buckley, the chairman of the Dioxin Review Panel at the Environmental Protection Agency. The letter presents a heavily referenced case that a) the more research is done on dioxin, the more toxic it is found to be; and b) the EPA should complete its dioxin reassessment with all haste and with maximum protection for sensitive populations.

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality brochure (link) about reducing exposure to dioxin, with specific information on Dow Chemical’s Midland facility, which contaminated the Tittabawassee River and the City of Midland. Although it is from a different region, it contains useful information about how human exposure occurs, and how to limit it.

Vietnamese Dioxin Paper
Research paper Some Main Solutions to Mitigate Long-term Consequences on Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin in Vietnam, lead author Nguyen Van Tuong, PhD., MD. Although some of the language is technical, there are useful discussions on dioxin’s half-life in soil (varies greatly), and in humans, and some examination of various traditional and other treatments for reducing dioxins in the body.

After you’ve followed those links, check out the American Chemistry Council’s Dioxin Facts page for an interesting take on dioxin: .