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Draft Resolution
Zero Dioxin Discharge in Oakland

Date sent:      11 Jan 1999 16:01:01
Send reply to:  Conference "env.justice" 
From:           [email protected]
Subject:        Text of Proposed Oakland Dioxin Resolution
To:             Recipients of conference 

>From: [email protected] (Davis Baltz)


Whereas, the term dioxin represents a group of chemicals which includes
furan and biphenyl compounds1  with the most well-known dioxin,
2,3,7,8-TCDD, believed to be the single most carcinogenic chemical known
to science2;

Whereas, dioxin is a toxic waste byproduct that occurs when chlorinated
waste is burned and when other organic chemicals that contain chlorine are
manufactured and which in itself has no commercial or industrial use1;

Whereas, dioxin is dangerous to human health, is ubiquitous in the
worldwide environment1 and is a known human carcinogen3,;

Whereas, the U.S.  EPA estimates that the lifetime risk of getting cancer
from dioxin exposure is above generally accepted safe levels4, and the
U.S. EPA's Dioxin Reassessment has found dioxin 300,000 times more potent
as a carcinogen than DDT (the use of which was restricted in the U.S. in

Whereas, dioxin is an endocrine disrupting chemical affecting thyroid and
steroid hormones and almost every hormone system examined has been shown
to be altered by dioxin in some cell-type, tissue or developmental

Whereas,  dioxin has been linked to endometriosis7,  immune system
impairment, diabetes, neurotoxicity, birth defects (including fetal
death), decreased fertility, testicular atrophy and reproductive
dysfunction in both women and men6,8;

Whereas, dioxin exposure is significant and universal; over 90% of human
exposure to dioxin occurs through diet9,10 and every person in the world
now carries a "body burden" of dioxin5,8;

Whereas, Americans ingest a daily amount of dioxin that is already 300-600
times higher than the EPA's so-called "safe" dose5,8 and the U.S. EPA
estimates that eating just a quarter pound of Bay fish daily causes cancer
risks to increase to a level of nearly one in 1,00011;

Whereas, Oakland residents who consume fish from the Bay are at additional
risk12; dioxin contamination in fish reaches health advisory levels
throughout the San Francisco Bay13; and, San Francisco Bay fish consumers
are predominantly low income and people of color12;

Whereas, dioxin is found in the breast milk of women worldwide with the
highest concentrations found in women from industrialized countries14 ,
and nursing infants take in 50-100 times more dioxin than adults due to
drinking contaminated breast milk15;

Whereas, respected expert associations and agencies including the
California Medical Association16, the American Public Health
Association17, the Chicago Medical Society18 and the International Joint
Commission19, comprised of the governments of Canada and the U.S., have
agreed upon the need to reduce or eliminate dioxin in the environment;

Whereas, dioxin has been detected in at least 27 measurements of treated
waste water discharged from pollution sources in the Bay Area20 and the
San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board has resolved that
dioxin is a high priority for immediate action to restore water quality
and protect public health21;

Whereas, sources of dioxin pollution include medical and hazardous waste
incineration, the production of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics, biomass
combustion, diesel exhaust, pesticide manufacturing, paper production, oil
refineries22 (see attached table), and urban street runoff23;

Whereas, the healthcare industry is one of the largest producers of dioxin
in the United States24, the only operating commercial medical waste
incinerator in the state of California is located in the City of
Oakland25, Bay Area and out-of-state public health care institutions
generate significant amounts of medical waste designated for Oakland's
incinerator26,  and  the Oakland incinerator threatens or harms public
health, fishing and aquatic life throughout San Francisco Bay23,27;

Whereas the Oakland incinerator is located near other dioxin sources
including diesel emissions and other industrial emitters;

Whereas no regulatory authority considers the additive effect of all the
dioxin sources on the surrounding community,

Whereas, a strategy which eliminates the production of dioxin is the only
viable course in protecting public health since once dioxin is produced,
it is very difficult to destroy or degrade19,27;

Whereas, adverse health effects from dioxin exposure can be reduced
through purchasing decisions that reduce or eliminate products that
produce dioxin (such as PVC-free plastic or chlorine-free paper); and
alternative, less toxic options exist for many products that create

Whereas, pollution prevention is recognized as the most effective waste
management strategy28;

Whereas, careful waste segregation has been proven to reduce dramatically
the medical waste requiring incinceration29 and cost-effective
technologies which are alternatives to incineration exist for almost all
the waste that does need special handling30;

Whereas, dioxin is a clear threat to public health and the environment,
zero exposure is the only strategy that truly protects public health31,
local dioxin contamination has a disproportionate impact on low-income and
minority communities32,33; and dioxin exposure affects all residents of
Oakland and the Bay Area34;

Therefore, be it:
Resolved, that the City of Oakland intends by this resolution to eliminate
dioxin emissions wherever possible; and be it

Further Resolved, that the City of Oakland designates dioxin pollution as
a high priority for immediate action to restore water quality and protect
public health; and be it

Further Resolved,  that the City of Oakland will establish a task force
which would identify the sources of local dioxin pollution, including
sources known to and/or emitted any and all City departments; this task
force would also develop dioxin pollution prevention strategies along with
any associated cost implications, and make any further recommendations to
implement the intent of this resolution (the elimination of dioxin); and
be it

Further Resolved, that the City of Oakland requires dioxin pollution
prevention practices to be a part of all waste management and recycling
programs by City departments, hospitals, and businesses which operate in
the City; and be it

Further Resolved, that the City of Oakland ensures that less-toxic,
non-chlorinated, sustainable alternative products and processes, such as
chlorine-free paper and PVC-free plastics, are actively supported and used
by the City;  and be it

Further Resolved, that the City of Oakland joins in urging Oakland health
care institutions to reduce PVC use and eventually become PVC-free;  and
be it

Further Resolved, that the City of Oakland will send a letter to
Oakland-based health care institutions, to encourage them to phase out the
use of PVC products;  and be it

Further Resolved,  that the City of Oakland send a letter to the Bay Area
Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) supporting zero dioxin emission
and zero dioxin exposure and urging the BAAQMD to eliminate dioxin
pollution into the air; and be it

Further Resolved,  that the City of Oakland send a letter encouraging the
Regional Water Quality Board to exercise its full power and jurisdiction,
as intended by the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Act and the federal Clean
Water Act, to protect the quality of water from degradation and to
implement a plan to phase out dioxin at its sources; and be it

Further Resolved,  that the City of Oakland send a letter to the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency supporting its proposal to require
community right to know reporting of dioxin releases and supporting the
National Environmental Justice Advisory Committee's advice to make dioxin
pollution of San Francisco Bay a high priority under Clean Water Act
section 303(d).

Dioxin Resolution Citations

1.  Courture, L. et al., 1990.  A Critical Review of the Developmental
Toxicity and Teratogenicity of 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-Dioxin: 
Recent Advances Toward Understanding the Mechanism.  Teratology
4l:619-627, 1990. 2.  Healing the Harm:  Eliminating the Pollution from
Health Care Practices, Health Care Without Harm Campaign Report, 1997; and
Huff, 1994. 3.  International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the
World Health Organizations, United Nations, 1997. National Toxicology
Program Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Institute of
Environmental Health Sciences, 1997 4.  Mariani, Jay.  Dioxin Fact Sheet,
Environmental Law and Justice Clinic, Golden Gate University, San
Francisco, 1998. 5.  US EPA.  Risk Characterization of  Dioxin and Related
Compounds�Draft Scientific Reassessment of Dioxin.  Washington, D.C.:
Bureau of National Affairs.  May 3, 1994.. 6.  Birnbaum, Linda et al. 
Developmental Effects of Dioxins and Related Endocrine Disrupting
Chemicals.  Experimental Toxicology Division, US EPA. Toxicology Letters,
p. 743-750, 1995. 7.  Rier, S.E. et al. Endometrosis in Rhesus Monkeys
(Macaca Mulatta) Following Chronic Exposure to
2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin.  Fundamental and Applied Toxicology,
Vol. 21, pp.433-441, 1983. 8.  DeVito, Michael et al.  Comparisons of
Estimated Human Body Burdens of Dioxin-like Chemicals and TCDD Body
Burdens in Experimentally Exposed Animals, pp. 820-831, 1995. Economic
Analysis of the Proposed California Water Quality Toxics Rule, US EPA,
1997. 9.  Schecter, A., 1991.  Levels of Dioxins, Dibenzofurans, PCB and
DDE Congeners in Pool Food Samples Collected in 1995 at Supermarkets
Across the United States.
 Chemosphere, Vol. 34, Nos 5-7, pp. 1437-1447, 1994; and Congener-Specific
Levels of Dioxin and Dibenofurans in U.S. Food and Estimated Daily Dioxin
Toxic Equivalent Intake, Environmental Health Perspectives, 1994. 10.
Testimony of Dr. William Farland in the dioxin science workshop heard by
the RWQCB May 7, 1998. 11. U.S. EPA.  Economic Analysis of the Proposed
California Water Quality Toxics Rule, pp. 8-11, 1997. 12. RWQCB et al. 
Contaminant Levels in Fish Tissue from San Francisco Bay, 1995. 13. OEHHA.
"Health Hazard: Catching Fish and Easting Sport Fish in California",
Interim Sport Fish Advisory for San Francisco Bay.  California Office of
Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, California, EPA. December, 1994.
14. Schechter, A.  Dioxins in Humans and the Environment.  Biological
Basis for Risk Assessment of Dioxins and Related Compounds, Banbry Report
35: 169-214. 1991. 15. Linstrom, Gunilla, et al.  Workshop on Perinatal
Exposure to Dioxin-like Compounds I. Summary, Environmental Health
Perspectives, Volume 103, Supplement 2, March 1995. 16. California Medical
Association, Resolution, 1998. 17. American Public Health Association,
Resolution 9607, 1996. 18. Chicago Medical Society, Resolution, 1998. 19.
Sixth Biennial Report on Great Lakes Water Quality, Washington, D.C. and
Ottawa, Ontario: International Joint Commission, 1992. 20. Self-monitoring
Reports Submitted to to the RWQCB by the Tosco, Unocal, and Pacific
Refining Oil Refineries and the San Francisco Southeast, San Jose/Santa
Clara, Sunnyvale, Union Sanitary District, and West County Agency Sewage
Treatment Plants. 21. Regional Water Quality Control Board, Policy
Statement on Dioxin, February 18, 1998. 22. Thomas, V. et al.  An
Estimation of Dioxin Emissions in the United States. Department of
Chemistry and Center for Energy and Environmental Studies, Princeton
University.  Toxicological and Environmental Chemistry, Vol. 50, pp. 1-37.
 1995. 23. Maher, D. et al., 1997.  PCDD/PCDFS Levels in the Environment:
In Storm Water Outfalls Adjacent to Urban Areas  and Petroleum Refineries
in San Francisco Bay, CA, USA.   Organohalogen Compounds, Vol. 32. 24.
California Technical Support Document for Medical Waste Incinerators,
California Air Resources Board, 1990.  Dioxin Sources, US EPA, 1996. 25.
California Air Resources Board Medical Waste Inventory, 1997. 26. Bay Area
Hospital Medwaste Survey, Jennifer Altman Foundation, March, 1998. 27.
California Zero Dioxin Exposure Alliance Letter to Loretta Barsamian,
Executive Director, Regional Water Quality Board, San Francisco Bay
Region, February 6, 1998. 28. Pollution Prevention Act of 1990, U.S.
Congress. 29. American Hospital Association.  "An Ounce of Prevention: 
Waste Reduction Strategies for Health Care Facilities".  1993. 30.
California Technical Support Document for Medical Waste Incinerators,
California Air Resources Board, 1990. 31. Seventh Biennial Report on Great
Lakes Water Quality, International Joint Commission, 1994. 32. Moffat,S.
"Minorities Are More Likely To Live Near Toxic Sites".  Los Angeles Times,
p. B1.  August, 1995. 33. National Environmental Justice Advisory
Committee to the U.S. EPA, June 3, 1998. 34. Schecter, A.,  Dioxins in
U.S. Food and Estimated Daily Intake. Chemosphere, Vol. 29, Nos. 9-11,
pp.2261-2265, 1994.

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