Monday, September 26, 2011

Real Life's a Beach (cont'd)

This is a continuing series which began here

The compound dioxin is one of a family of related compounds which results as an unwanted by-product in the making of several widely used chemicals. While the compound can result naturally, [2] Missouri's dioxin, and thus Times Beach's, have been traced back to the production of the herbicide 2,4,5-T, the defoliant used in Agent Orange, and to the chemical hexachlorophene, once used in the antibacterial PhisoHex. [3]  In November of 1969, the North Eastern Pharmaceutical Chemical Company of Verona, Missouri, began producing hexachlorophene. Dioxin containing wastes were properly disposed of until 1971 when, allegedly to save money, the company hired Independent Petrochemical Company to haul away its waste oil. Independent, in turn subcontracted the job to Russell M. Bliss, a waste oil hauler from Frontenac, Missouri. Bliss transported 18,500 gallons of oil containing dioxin from the plant, which he then mixed with oil from other sources. [4] He sprayed half of the tainted oil to control dust on his own farm and three horse arenas in eastern Missouri. The consequences were severe. Over the next few days and weeks at least 65 horses, a number of smaller animals and uncounted wild birds died at the three stables an on Bliss's farm. The six-year old daughter of one of the stable owners developed an inflamed and bleeding bladder after playing in the arena and an adult complained of skin lesions after exposure to the stables. Investigators from the State of Missouri, reasoning that something must have been in the oil, obtained samples and sent them to CDC in Atlanta for analysis. Bliss was asked if anything had been in the oil - "We were told only that it was used oil. They (Independent) sent me a sample in the mail. I hope my soul rots in Hell if I'm lying." [5]
[2] Scientists at Dow Chemical Co. argue that many naturally occurring combustion processes produce small but measurable amounts of dioxin.

[3] This product was taken off the market, then reintroduced without hexachlorophene under the name pHisoderm.

[4] Janice Long, David J. Hanson, "Dioxin issue focuses on three major controversies in the U.S." Chemical and Engineering News, 6 June, 1983, p. 23.

[5] Laszio K. Domjan, "Handler of dioxin oil is leaving business," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 2 Dec., 1982, sec A, p. 1, quoted therein.


  1. Death, disease, birth defects, defoliants and economic deprivation!

    Methinks you're getting a bit too gloomy about this dioxin stuff, Pollo.

    You may start your lighter note for the day here.

    De nada!

  2. You no likey the new series?

    Thanks for the video link, Ritty. It hard for me to believe that saw those guys 24 years ago (1987). They instigated a full on riot in Ft. Collins, CO afterwards.

    My wife read the Kiedis memoir and liked it. I haven't read it yet.

    Flea rocks! I think I linked you that BH Surfers video where he makes a cameo.

  3. Wow. '87 was before I even got into them - it sounds like we're talking the Hillel Slovak era.

    Which leads me to ask... Was that an early picture of him on the white t-shirts they all wore later in the video? I can't figure out who else it could be.

    Given your weariness with civil disobedience lately, I'll try to steer clear of any questions regarding that riot. ;-)

  4. First, thanks for that link. I would have never thought to look. Here's how I remember them in 1987.

    I don't think that's Slavak on the shirt. He had much more expressive face. No clue who that is. Is there some Brazilian cause celebre perhaps?