Get Dioxin out of the Kanawha River

West Virginia Rivers Coalition Action Alert

Decades of chemical production near Nitro have left a 45-mile stretch of the Kanawha River and several waterways near Nitro inundated with dioxin. Extremely carcinogenic and capable of causing an array of reproduction problems, birth defects, liver and immune system damage and skin diseases, dioxin has concentrated in river sediment and fatty tissues of fish, making impossible the safe consumption of fish caught downriver from Nitro. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that there is no safe level of exposure to dioxin.

Dioxin was discarded near the Kanawha River at Nitro and nearby waterways between World War II and the Vietnam War in dumpsites used primarily by Monsanto. The dioxins were a main ingredient in Agent Orange, and the mix of dioxins now found in the state’s most populated valley shows up in fish all the way to the Ohio River and possibly the Mississippi River.

The EPA touts its Superfund program as "the most aggressive hazardous waste cleanup program in the world," and citizens in the Kanawha Valley and throughout the state are calling for the Nitro-area waterways to be designated as a Superfund site. Superfund cleanup activities will rid them of dioxin, eliminating a grave health risk and spawning economic development. For the area to receive designation as a Superfund site on its National Priority List, EPA requires that a state’s governor recommend a site to the List.

It is imperative that dioxin in the Nitro area be cleaned up to make safe a waterway along which thousands of West Virginians live and work. The West Virginia Citizen Action Group (CAG) is circulating a petition asking Governor Cecil Underwood (who, ironically, served as Monsanto’s vice president during its production of the dioxins) to make the nomination. West Virginia Rivers Coalition supports this petition drive in encouraging Underwood to nominate the area to the EPA Superfund National Priority List.

Action: Write a letter telling Gov. Underwood and EPA Region III administrator Michael McCabe how critical it is that dioxin in the Kanawha River and surrounding waterways be eliminated. Ask Underwood to nominate the area to the Superfund National Priority List. Tell Underwood and EPA that:

_ Cleanup must happen so Kanawha River fish are safe for our families to eat.

_ Superfund cleanup is key for making the Kanawha safe for our children to enjoy.

_ Dioxin in the Kanawha endangers thousands of people living in the state’s most populated valley.

Mail to:

Governor Cecil Underwood

State Capitol

Charleston, WV 25305-0370

Mr. Michael McCabe, Regional Administrator

EPA - Region III

841 Chestnut Street (3RA00)

Philadelphia, PA 19107-4431

Also CAG needs your support in its petition drive. E-mail a "signature" of support to _