Dundas Star News
Pesticide owners haven’t reported Biedermann fire
By Craig Campbell, News Staff
Companies that own the rights to pesticides made at Biedermann
Packaging in Dundas, and found in Spencer Creek after a July 2007 fire
at the Head Street plant, have not yet reported the incident to the
federal government –more than 18 months after they were legally
Environment Hamilton’s Biedermann Working Group has filed an
environmental petition with Canada’s Auditor General, pointing to
deficiencies in the Pest Control Incident Reporting System and asking
why the registrants of pesticides containing chemicals suspected of
killing fish and aquatic life in Spencer Creek have not yet filed
Under the Pest Control Products Incident Reporting Regulations of the
Federal Pest Control Products Act, registrants must file incident
reports within 15 days after an incident that has a major effect on
Home Hardware Stores Ltd. of St. Jacob’s, Ont., and Spectrum Brands IP
Inc., of Brantford are the only two pesticide registrants to file
incident reports for the Biedermann Packaging fire of July 26, 2007.
Both companies filed reports with the PMRA within 20 days of the
incident, accounting for six pesticide products and four chemical
ingredients in the Biedermann building at the time of the fire. Both
categorized the severity of the environmental impact as “major.”
But none of the three main chemicals found by the Ontario Ministry of
the Environment and Royal Botanical Gardens in the highest
concentrations within Spencer Creek after the fire, and believed
responsible for most of the damage to Spencer Creek and Cootes
Paradise, are accounted for.
No incident reports have been filed by the registrants of pesticide
products that contain the chemical ingredients Diazinon, Malathion and
In a submission to the Auditor General of Canada, Environment Hamilton
asks why the registrants of the three most significant chemicals in
the July 2007 Dundas environmental disaster have not yet filed an
incident report, and if the appropriate department will find the
registrants and request the required reports be filed, finally
enforcing the regulation that was apparently contravened a year and a
“Will Health Canada or other responsible departments examine the use
and incidents of Malathion, Carbaryl and, particularly, Diazinon to
determine if these active ingredients should continue to be
registered, available and sold in Canada,” the environmental petition
Neither Health Canada nor the Pest Management Regulatory Agency would
not answer any questions this week about how incident reporting
regulations of the Pest Control Products Act are enforced.
The PMRA will have 120 days to respond to Environment Hamilton’s
Auditor General of Canada Petitions - Pesticides
Pest Management Regulatory Agency
2720 Riverside Drive
Telephone: (613) 736-3701
Fax: (613) 736-3707
COMPLIANCE, LAB SERVICES AND REGIONAL OPERATIONS DIRECTORATE
Pest Management Regulatory Agency
2720 Riverside Drive
Telephone: (613) 736-3486
Fax: (613) 736-3870
RE-EVALUATION MANAGEMENT DIRECTORATE
Pest Management Regulatory Agency
2720 Riverside Drive
Telephone: (613) 736-3485
Fax: (613) 736-3840
DIRECTOR GENERAL'S OFFICE
1600 Scott Street
Telephone: (613) 941-3003
Fax: (613) 941-3007
Dr Karen Dodds PhD
Assistant Deputy Minister
70 Colombine Driveway, Tunney's Pasture
Tel: (613) 957-3059
Fax: (613) 954-0336
Dr Claire Franklin
February 25, 2009, The Charleston Gazette
Board cancels hearing under Bayer pressure
Public meeting was for discussion of MIC storage
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Under pressure from Bayer CropScience, the U.S.
Chemical Safety Board has canceled a public meeting where it planned
to brief Kanawha Valley residents on its investigation of the August
explosion that killed two Institute plant workers.
Board members had scheduled the meeting for March 19, and intended to
discuss concerns about a methyl isocyanate tank located near the site
of the deadly blast.
Two weeks ago, Bayer lawyers warned board members and agency staff
that the company felt such information should not be discussed in a
Bayer lawyers cited an obscure maritime law that was intended to keep
confidential documents prepared by Bayer for the specific purpose of
deterring terrorist attacks on the Institute plant's barge loading
John Bresland, the chemical board's chairman, said this week that his
agency decided to call off the public meeting while it looks into
Bayer's confidentiality claims.
"We decided it would be better to postpone the meeting and get this
issue clarified," Bresland said in a Monday phone interview.
But chemical plant safety advocates were shocked by the board's
decision. They said it raises concerns that the industry has
discovered a new legal loophole that company attorneys may try to
exploit to derail detailed investigations of plant accidents.
"We would hope that this does not become a precedent," said Rick Hind,
who follows chemical safety issues for Greenpeace.
Maya Nye, a leader of the local group People Concerned about MIC, said
this week, "I don't understand why this is top-secret information. But
this seems to be consistent with Bayer's lack of communication with
Robert C. Gombar, a Washington, D.C., attorney for Bayer, did not
return a phone call Tuesday.
Tom Dover, Bayer's Institute plant spokesman, declined to answer
detailed questions about the company's dealings with the Chemical
Word of the board's action comes as Saturday's deadline nears for
another federal agency, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health
Administration, to issue any citations for violations it found related
to the Aug. 28, 2008, explosion and fire. Under federal law, OSHA has
six months from the date it starts an investigation to issue
Plant worker Barry Withrow was killed in the explosion and a second
employee, Bill Oxley, died about six weeks later at a burn center in
Pittsburgh. Thousands of residents between South Charleston and the
Putnam County line were advised to take shelter in their homes.
The explosion occurred in a unit where Bayer makes methomyl, which it
then uses to produce Larvin, the company's brand name of the
But the Institute plant is best known for its production and use of
methyl isocyanate, or MIC, the chemical that killed thousands of
people in a leak from a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, in
Bayer uses MIC to make methomyl, and the methomyl unit includes a tank
that can hold up to 40,000 pounds of MIC, according to company
disclosures filed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That
storage tank is located 50 to 75 feet from the location of the August
explosion, according to state and federal inspectors.
Safety board investigators were looking into that tank, and asking
Bayer questions about whether it was in an unsafe location or had
appropriate safety devices.
Among the board's questions, Bresland said this week, was, "Should it
be in that location or more remote from where there would be a
"That is certainly something we would be looking into," Bresland said.
But Bayer lawyers told safety board officials at a Feb. 12 meeting
that any information about MIC handling and storage was protected from
public disclosure under the Coast Guard's rules to implement the 2002
Maritime Transportation Security Act. But that law and the Coast
Guard's rules appear to apply only to reports and data specifically
put together by Bayer in planning its facility security plans.
Dover, the Bayer spokesman, confirmed that the company believes the
Institute plant is covered by the Coast Guard rules. Dover added that
there is information in the plant's security plant that the Coast
Guard believes should not be released.
But Dover declined to offer any examples of what information he was
talking about, or to explain what information the chemical board might
have made public from the plant's security plan.
Dover referred further questions to the Coast Guard, but officials
there did not respond to requests for comment.
Paul Orum, a longtime chemical industry watchdog in Washington, said
he would be very surprised if Coast Guard regulations protected the
kind of information the chemical board planned to share with the
"I don't know of any basis for what they're claiming," Orum said.
Bresland said Bayer officials also expressed concern about possible
negative media coverage from a public meeting, and worried the meeting
would veer into a broader debate over the Institute plant's storage of
large amounts of MIC.
"They realized that a public meeting would have some negative
consequences for Bayer," Bresland said.
Internally, chemical safety board officials were already discussing
whether their probe should include an examination of the longstanding
issues over MIC stockpiles at the Institute facility.
Bayer reports to EPA that it stores between 100,000 and 999,999 pounds
of MIC at the plant. And for years, local and international activists
have urged various plant owners to reduce that stockpile, as other
chemical makers and some other Bayer facilities have done.
The major MIC storage tanks are underground and on the other side of
the plant from where the August explosion occurred. Those tanks store
an average of about 200,000 pounds of the chemical, according to EPA
But Fred Millar, another longtime chemical company watchdog, wondered
whether Bayer should have the smaller MIC tank located above ground
near the methomyl unit that blew up in August.
"It feels like you've got a situation where the plant was caught with
its pants down, and there's a questionable practice of storing this
methyl isocyanate far too close to a dangerous reactive chemical
unit," Millar said Tuesday. "This is no time for the Chemical Safety
Board to be delaying talking about this to the public." By Ken Ward
Jr., Staff writer
A Collection of Materials on Bayer´s Institute Plant: www.cbgnetwork.de/2627.html
Thursday February 26th, 2009
The NB Telegraph-Journal
Missing in action
Agent Orange Veterans Affairs has given out less than half the
promised $96M compensation
by Rob Linke
OTTAWA - The federal government has approved $20,000 compensation
payments to fewer than half the Agent Orange spraying victims it
predicted would qualify, and is on course to spend less than half the
$96 million it announced.
When Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson and Defence Minister
Peter MacKay announced the payments in Fredericton in September 2007,
the government estimated there would be 4,400 eligible recipients.
Paying them would cost $95.5 million, said the Veterans Affairs
Now, with just a month to go before the April 1 deadline to apply for
payments, Veterans Affairs has approved 2,075 applicants whose payouts
will total $41.5 million.
That's about 43 per cent of the 2007 estimate.
Seeing the program roll out on a much smaller scale is "no surprise to
me at all," said NDP veterans affairs critic Peter Stoffer. "They
sounded like big numbers when they were announced but the restrictions
they imposed were designed to ensure they never met those numbers.
"And now the proof is in the pudding."
Class-action lawyer Tony Merchant's Saskatchewan firm is pursuing
lawsuits against the federal government over the spraying.
Merchant had predicted in an interview the day the compensation
package was unveiled that the $20,000 payments would never total $96
Wednesday, he accused the government of inflating the 2007 estimates
"to make it look like they were addressing the problem in a meaningful
"The higher the figure, the better it looked."
Thompson countered Wednesday that "no consideration was ever given to
trying to make it look bigger than it was."
"At the end, the number is going to be what it is and we all
Veterans Affairs said the original estimate was based on census and
military records for the Gagetown area in 1966 and 1967, when the
defoliant Agent Orange was sprayed in tests conducted for the U.S.
Officials also weighed incidence rates for the diseases and conditions
the government concedes Agent Orange can cause, based on research by
the U.S. National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine.
The 12 conditions include several cancers, type 2 diabetes and spina
"Given the passage of time and missing information, I think we did the
very best we could," said Thompson. "It was fair and it was generous
and we did our best to calculate what it would be."
Thompson said he purposely went to cabinet to get approval for enough
funding that he wouldn't have to return for more.
Spending less "was something we understood could happen," he said. "I
never felt we would have to spend all the $96 million."
But critics say so few people applied because the $20,000 was such a
low amount, and so few became eligible because the criteria were so
Said Merchant, "If they've had cancers and other diseases from what
the government did wrong, it is a pittance."
Some 3,100 people have applied.
Ken Dobbie, a founder and president of the Agent Orange Association of
Canada, has been ill for 30 years, beginning with liver trouble, and
disabled for 19.
He is often in and out of hospital.
The Kingston, Ont. man, who had a summer job clearing brush at
Gagetown in 1966, applied for a $20,000 payment last February by
sending his 645-page affidavit, part of the class-action lawsuit, to
He got his cheque within days - far quicker than what he was told is
the average turnaround.
"I was actually embarrassed it came so quickly for me when so many
guys were turned down or had to wait much longer," said Dobbie. "It
was like they were waiting for my application because I've been
He maintains the payment package "was wholly unacceptable" given the
decades of spraying of several herbicides at Gagetown, well beyond
"They built the whole thing around seven days and 400 litres of
spraying in 1966 and 1967," ignoring other herbicides sprayed from
1956 to 1984.
Merchant's lawsuits continue to win rulings in advance of a full
trial. He said a judge has agreed 440,000 individuals could
potentially belong to the affected class.
More than 4,000 clients have signed up with his firm.
Stoffer argued for an independent investigation of the spraying, while
Liberal veterans affairs critic Judy Sgro pointed to the lawsuit as a
sign the issue won't be resolved for years - and as a lesson for
"Any time we expose our citizens to health hazards, we should be
paying attention to all of them," she said.
Thompson said the package was something other governments over 40
years "failed to do, and some told us we couldn't do.
"I'm proud of what we have done."
February 26, 2009
Peace Arch News
Program to support ban on pesticides in city
by Alex Browne
White Rock council is committed to launching an education program to
support an impending ban on cosmetic pesticides in the city.
But it wants more information on what such a program would look like,
and what the costs of specific options would be.
Municipal operations director David Pollock said he believed detailed
information could be presented to council by March 2.
A Feb. 23 report to council from Pollock outlined education programs
in general terms, noting a draft bylaw prohibiting cosmetic pesticides
is currently being prepared.
The bylaw is a result of a Jan. 14 motion by Coun. Helen Fathers,
prompted by concerns for public health based on information provided
by the Surrey White Rock Pesticide Free Coalition and the Canadian
Cancer Society. That motion also asked that staff develop a program
encouraging residents, business and property owners to use
alternatives to cosmetic pesticides.
Pollock said a check with municipalities suggested such a program
would cost between $10,000 and $20,000, or 50 cents to $1 per capita
for White Rock residents.
Among steps it could include: providing information on the city
website; newspaper notices and articles; brochures and lawn signs;
community workshops and pesticide drop-off days.
Pollock suggested that if no budget was available, using the city’s
website and “City News” newspaper advertisements, working with media
and having staff do outreach in schools and groups would minimize
Coun. James Coleridge, while praising the report as a good first step,
wondered whether the options as outlined would “get the job done.”
Coun. Doug MacLean compared the initiative to anti-smoking and anti-
idling bylaws and suggested staff provide information on what money
was spent on public information supporting those measures.
“I don’t believe we spent $20,000 on those initiatives,” he said. “I
believe our community is very law-abiding and will seek to comply.
This is a very environmentally friendly community.”
Other members of council endorsed Coun. Lynne Sinclair’s suggestion
the report be fine-tuned to present options outlining the difference
between spending no dollars or spending $10,000 and $20,000.
Mayor Catherine Ferguson said the city has to be prepared to back its
bylaw with public education – and shoulder the costs involved.
Wisconsin Assembly Unanimously Approves Phosphorus Ban
If approved by the State Senate, the measure would prohibit people
from applying fertilizers with phosphorus to lawns, golf courses and
other mowed grass.
The state Assembly approved a bill Feb. 24 that would ban phosphorus
in lawn fertilizers.
The measure would bar people from applying fertilizer with phosphorus
to lawns, golf courses and other mowed grass. It still could be used
on first-year lawns and phosphorus-poor soils.
Retailers would be barred from displaying fertilizer with phosphorus,
but would be allowed to post a sign saying it was available off the
sales floor, such as a storage room.
The bill's author, Rep. Spencer Black, a Madison Democrat, says
phosphorus run-off contributes to algae growth in state waters.
The Assembly approved the measure 96-0. It now goes to the state
February 01st, 2009 | Category: Film Screenings
‘You, Me, and the S.P.P: Trading Democracy for Corporate Rule’
Paul Manly’s latest film ‘You, Me, and the S.P.P: Trading Democracy
for Corporate Rule’ is almost ready for a full release. There are
preview screenings in the following communities on the following
Duncan - At the Duncan Garage, February 23rd, for 2 screenings 7pm and
Saskatoon - March 1st, 7:00pm, Neatby Timlin Theatre,Room 241 – Arts
Building, U of S Campus
Prince Albert Saskatchewan - March 4th, 7pm at Union Centre 107 - 8th
Regina Saskatchewan - March 5th, 7:30 at the the Royal Saskatchewan
Museum (Albert and College St.)
Saltspring Island - Our Island Our World Film Festival March 7th (time
There will be more screenings to announce soon. The DVD should be
ready to release in late March.
Manly Media is a full service media production company with a
commitment to contribute to the creation of electronic media that
educates, informs and adds to the public dialogue on issues of
Warning Industry Propaganda Below
Feb 26, 2009
NYSTA announces Turfgrass Advocacy Day
The New York State Turfgrass Association (NYSTA) and allied industry
members are invited to attend 2009 Turfgrass Advocacy Day at the
Empire State Plaza Concourse in Albany, NY, on March 11 from 7 a.m. to
2 p.m. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about the
latest legislative updates and meet with their legislators to address
issues of concern.
The day will begin with a 7 a.m. breakfast while industry experts
review issues and advocacy strategy. Attendees will then meet with
legislators from 9:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., giving them the opportunity
to communicate their views on important Green Industry issues.
Following the appointments, a luncheon has been scheduled where New
York State Sen. David J. Valesky, the highest-ranking upstate
legislator in the Chamber, will address participants on issues facing
the horticultural and agricultural industries in New York State.
Issues highlighted at 2009 Turfgrass Advocacy Day include:
* Pesticide Product Registration: Request continued legislative
oversight of the pesticide registration program to address delays that
prevent the use of pesticide products, including new formulations with
improved modes of action, less potential for pesticide resistance,
better efficacy and environmental compatibility with the goals of
integrated pest management (IPM).
* Pesticides - Using Less Than Label Rates: Support legislation
that would allow commercial applicators to use pesticides in a dosage,
concentration or frequency less than specified on the label.
* Local Regulation of Pesticides: Oppose pesticide legislation
that would create local ordinances or regulations.
* Pre-emption of Fertilizer: Support for legislation providing pre-
emption to the state for fertilizer application and use through the
New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.
* Turfgrass Environmental Stewardship Fund: Continuation of an
appropriation in the New York State Budget for the Turfgrass
Environmental Stewardship Fund. This fund is distributed in the form
of grants with a preference toward research that will have a positive
impact on the environment.
* New York Farm Viability Institute: Continued funding for the New
York Farm Viability Institute, an independent, non-profit organization
that is dedicated to strengthening agricultural and horticultural
industries by eliminating barriers to success.
The registration deadline is Friday, Feb. 27, and sponsorship
opportunities are available. To register, please access the 2009
Turfgrass Advocacy Day brochure on the NYSTA web site at www.nysta.org.
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