April 28, 2008

EPA Scientists Fear for Careers

White House Policy Undermining EPA Scientists On Cancer Risks Of Chemicals, GAO Says

WASHINGTON, Apr. 28, 2008

(AP) The Bush administration is undermining the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to determine health dangers of toxic chemicals by letting nonscientists have a bigger, often secret, say, congressional investigators say in a report obtained by The Associated Press.

The administration's decision to give the Defense Department and other agencies an early role in the process adds to years of delay in acting on harmful chemicals and jeopardizes the program's credibility, the Government Accountability Office concluded.

At issue is the EPA's screening of chemicals used in everything from household products to rocket fuel to determine if they pose serious risk of cancer or other illnesses.

A new review process begun by the White House in 2004 is adding more speed bumps for EPA scientists, the GAO said in its report, which will be the subject of a Senate Environment Committee hearing Tuesday. A formal policy effectively doubling the number of steps was adopted two weeks ago.

Cancer risk assessments for nearly a dozen major chemicals are now years overdue, the GAO said, blaming the new multiagency reviews for some of the delay. The EPA, for example, had promised to prepare assessments on 10 major toxic chemicals for external peer review by the end of 2007, but only two reached that stage.

GAO investigators said extensive involvement by EPA managers, White House budget officials and other agencies has eroded the independence of EPA scientists charged with determining the health risks posed by chemicals.

The Pentagon, the Energy Department, NASA and other agencies _ all of which could be severely affected by EPA risk findings _ are being allowed to participate "at almost every step in the assessment process," said the GAO.

Those agencies, their private contractors and manufacturers of the chemicals face restrictions and major cleanup requirements, depending on the EPA's scientific determinations.

"By law the EPA must protect our families from dangerous chemicals," said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., the Senate committee's chairman. "Instead, they're protecting the chemical companies."

The EPA's risk assessment process "never was perfect," Boxer said in an interview Monday. "But at least it put the scientists up front. Now the scientists are being shunted aside."

The GAO said many of the deliberations over risks posed by specific chemicals "occur in what amounts to a black box" of secrecy because the White House claims they are private executive branch deliberations.

Such secrecy "reduces the credibility of the ... assessments and hinders the EPA's ability to manage them," the GAO report said.

The White House said the GAO is wrong in suggesting that the EPA has lost control in assessing the health risks posed by toxic chemicals.

"Only EPA has the authority to finalize an EPA assessment," Kevin F. Neyland, deputy administrator of the White House budget office's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, wrote in response to the GAO. He called the interagency process "a dialogue that helps to ensure the quality" of the reviews.

One EPA scientist with extensive knowledge of the changes in the agency's risk assessment policies ridiculed the claim that the EPA still has the final say.

"Unless there is concurrence by other agencies, ... things don't go forward. It means we stop what we are doing," said the scientist, speaking on condition of anonymity because of fear of endangering his career.

"The (EPA) scientists feel as if they have lost complete control of the process, that it's been taken over by the White House and that they're calling the shots," the scientist said.

The GAO investigation focused on the EPA's computerized database, known as IRIS _ the Integrated Risk Information System. It contains data on the human health effects of exposure to some 540 toxic chemicals in the environment. New chemicals are being roposed constantly for inclusion under a complicated assessment process that can take five years or more.

After years of stops and starts, the GAO said, the EPA has yet to determine carcinogen risks for a number of major chemicals such as:

_Naphthalene, a chemical used in rocket fuel as well as in manufacturing commercial products such as mothballs, dyes and insecticides.

_Trichloroethylene, or TCE, a widely used industrial degreasing agent.

_Perchloroethylene, or "perc," a chemical used in dry cleaning, metal degreasing and making chemical products.

_Formaldehyde, a colorless, flammable gas used to making building materials.

Environmentalists say these chemicals have been widely found at military bases and Superfund sites and in soil, lakes, streams and groundwater.

The findings, after an 18-month investigation by the congressional watchdog agency, come at a time of growing criticism from members of Congress and health and environmental advocates over alleged political interference in the government's science activities.

Last week, a confidential survey by an advocacy group of EPA scientists showed more than half of the 1,600 respondents worried about political pressure in their work.


On the Net:

Environmental Protection Agency: http://www.epa.gov/

EU toxicology standards are driven by a chemicals industry lobby group disturbingly led by BASF (fka as IG Farben), according to Dutch source.


April 27, 2008

Zell Sells For $39 Billion.

Zell Sells

Billionaire mogul Zell sold his massive residential and commercial real estate empire in 2007 for $39 billion.

Zell has placed his waste-to-energy bet on one New Jersey company, Covanta Holding, which is up more than 23 percent in 2007.

It seems the Waste-To-Toxins (WTT) industry is not effectively monitored anywhere, especially for deadly PM2.5 & PM1.0 particles, nor for Dioxins which are only checked for a few hours each year.

German chemical companies, including IG Farben, aka BASF, and BMW, Daimler Benz and Porsche appear to strongly cripple effective European legislation on toxins generators such as incinerators.

Dioxins, Covanta Record, Deadly Particles (PM2.5), Dublin Bay Incinerator, Energy-Answers-Covanta, Money, Poolbeg Incinerator, Zell

April 25, 2008

UK Does Not Monitor PM2.5's: Deaths Increase.

House of Commons portcullis
House of Commons.
Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Written Evidence

Memorandum submitted by Michael Ryan



1.1 The EA's failure to regulate harmful PM2.5 (particles of 2.5 microns and below) emissions from power stations, incinerators, cement works, brickworks and some other industrial processes has caused a massive increase in sickness and premature death, which is likely to continue unless your Parliamentary Committee takes early and effective action. These PM2.5s have increased exponentially due to switch in fuel from coal to hazardous waste mixes.

1.2 The UK only monitor PM10s, ie particles of between four and 11 microns (a micron being one millionth part of a metre), despite proof that the critical upper size of particles to enter the lungs is PM2.5 and particles doing most harm are within the range PM1 to PM2.5.

1.3 There is no effective public health system in the UK to examine the patterns of sickness and premature deaths resulting from industrial PM2.5 pollution despite there being considerable published research on the subject by Dr Dick van Steenis and others.

1.4 If the UK adopted the US Clean Air Act of 1997 we could easily reduce the annual NHS bill by £24 billion. The US saved $193 billion just from reduced hospital visits and days off work according to the White House Office of Management and Budget report which was featured in the Washington Post, 27 September 2003. HM Treasury failed to reply to Paul Marsden MP after he raised this issue on my behalf in October 2004. My letter to Paul Marsden MP is at www.ukhr.org/obesity.

1.5 The failure of the EA to regulate and reduce toxic airborne emissions can be proved and this statement will make use of a case study in Shropshire and also my birth defect research at www.ukhr.org as only part of the proof.

1.6 The failure of public health professionals, whether in Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) or Health Protection Agency (HPA) or elsewhere to study locations and causes of sickness and premature death patterns and take effective remedial action shows a gross dereliction of duty.

1.7 There are two case studies with this report, the first is based in Shropshire and focuses on a range of health parameters and a major unregulated source of PM2.5 pollution, which has caused and is continuing to cause great loss of life. The second is based in Greater London and refers to variations in rates of babies born with defects, a set of data that has been gathered by the government since January 1964 with the aim of "providing early information of causal factors of congenital malformation" (The Times, 6 January 1964, "Scheme to notify malformations"). The principles of each case study apply elsewhere.

1.8 I've read and agree with Dr van Steenis' e-mailed submission (25 November 2005), having discussed the matter with him. We both agree that the best solution would to replace the EA's failed role as a regulator with an Environmental Police Force under the direction of HM Treasury, whose money is at stake for the cost of failure of regulation and also because HM Treasury is the controlling department of the Office of National Statistics (ONS), whose extensive data proves that what is written here is correct and can be used in future to demonstrate that regulation is taking place, unlike today. Such a new department should also be subject to external audit to prove effectiveness. Dr van Steenis would be able to provide expert advice on setting up and auditing such an establishment.


2.1 Dr Dick van Steenis carried out a childhood asthma survey in West Wales [Lancet, 8 April 1995] and found 38% of four-to-five-year-olds in Whitland to be chronic asthmatics compared with just 1% in Aberaeron and other locations upwind of the oil refinery/power station complex at Milford Haven waterway. Dr van Steenis also obtained the cancer admission rates in high and low asthma zones and found a 20-fold differential, ie the high asthma zone had a cancer admission rate that was 2,000% higher than the low asthma zone. Dr van Steenis also obtained the referral rates to consultant psychiatrists for clinical depression in high and low asthma zones and found a nine-fold differential, ie the high asthma zone had a referral rate that was 900% greater than the low asthma zone.

2.2 Dr van Steenis has shown that at least 20 illnesses/health parameters are caused by industrial PM2.5s and the Shropshire Case Study, which started with childhood asthma, is detailing the variation in rates of about half the list.

2.3 The devious role of the EA in public health was clarified during Prime Minister's Questions on 16 November 2005, when Tony Blair MP failed to confirm that the EA "must at all costs protect the people . . ." in response to the question by Jim Dobbin MP. There is no protection from the EA, just an illusion of protection to deceive the public.


3.1 I have replicated Dr van Steenis' asthma survey in Shropshire and obtained the percentage of children in years 3 to 6 who bring inhalers to school for asthma. The highest was 100% in a school immediately downwind of a brickworks. The lowest was 1.9% in a school that was upwind of both the brickworks and also Ironbridge Power Station, the power station being a major source of industrial PM2.5s in Shropshire. The asthma survey is reported at www.ukhr.org/asthma and the variation in percentages of asthma inhalers brought to school can be seen to be higher downwind of the power station, prevailing winds being mainly west-south-westerly, with north-westerly winds being the second most common.

3.2 The rates of infant mortality by electoral ward were obtained and found to be higher downwind of Ironbridge Power Station and the brickworks.

3.3 Telford & Wrekin PCT's 2004 report included ward maps showing highest premature death rates due to both cancer and also coronary. These high death rate wards coincided with wards with high infant mortality and were also in locations with high childhood asthma.

3.4 Dr Dick van Steenis and I met Michael Gwynne (Coroner for East Shropshire) on 27 June 2005 and showed him the above data and Dr van Steenis gave his opinion that suicides would be mostly clustered in the same electoral wards with high rates of infant mortality etc. Mr Gwynne was sceptical, but offered access to his register and subsequent examination has proved Dr van Steenis to be correct.

3.5 Dr van Steenis had earlier spoken to Dr Catherine Woodward at Telford & Wrekin PCT regarding Ironbridge Power Station and a meeting was due to be held, but was cancelled by the PCT. The patterns of illness and premature deaths in Telford & Wrekin must, or should, have been known to Dr Woodward whose own 2004 report referred to high rates of suicide and infant mortality.

3.6 I have requested data from Telford & Wrekin PCT under Freedom of Information; some has been refused (suicide data by electoral ward) and some was false (infant death data by electoral ward failed to match that obtained from the ONS). I also received a threat of a libel action by the Chief Executive of Telford & Wrekin PCT for suggesting in my letter that Dr Woodward was responsible (through her negligence) for more deaths than Dr Harold Shipman.

3.7 The health parameters in Telford & Wrekin PCT that have been studied so far include: infant mortality, stillbirth, childhood asthma, diabetes, COPD, suicide, sudden unexplained deaths, age standardised mortality rates (ie life expectancy), premature cancer deaths and premature death from coronary disease. The correlation of high rates of the above (most by electoral ward, two by GP practice and asthma by school catchment) in the same locations should have been apparent to Telford & Wrekin PCT and their forebears years ago.

3.8 I first raised the issue of excess deaths downwind of Ironbridge Power Station with Michael Gwynne (Coroner) on 2 December 2004. Beacon Radio interviewed me on 14 February 2004 and broadcast several news items about emissions on 15 February 2005 and included statements by Richard Pennells [manager of Ironbridge Power Station], who stated the following in the 10.00 am broadcast: "We monitor our emissions on a minute-by-minute asis, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We can categorically prove we are not a danger to public health." I wrote to Richard Pennells and also the EA after the Beacon Radio broadcast requesting copies of any medical reports that backed up Richard Pennell's claims. Both declined to send me any medical report and I later discovered [through the asthma survey and other health research under Freedom of Information] that no such report can possibly exist unless it is fraudulent, because the PCT refuse to analyse their own data.

3.9 I have raised concerns about the "Unlawful killing of Shropshire citizens" with Shrewsbury & Atcham Borough Council (SABC), Shropshire County Council, Bridgnorth District Council and Telford & Wrekin Unitary Authority by e-mail in October 2005 but all that has happened is that SABC have referred the matter to public health professionals, having earlier claimed on 13 October 2005 to "have been advised that the (medical) evidence does not support (my) concerns". SABC failed to send me a copy of the "evidence" that must also be false, just like that which Richard Pennells referred to on Beacon Radio in the broadcast of 15 February 2005.

3.10 There's a possibility that excess rates of sickness and premature death downwind of Ironbridge Power Station, and other industrial processes around the UK, are known about but covered up. If that is so, it's reasonable to assume that there might be bribery of certain officials responsible for monitoring of airborne emissions or public health to do nothing. If there have been financial inducements to public servants to turn a blind eye to the effects of emissions from Ironbridge Power Stations, such an action is little different to a police officer who, although aware of a Dr Shipman-like character murdering patients, allowing it to proceed in exchange for some financial reward from the murdering doctor.

3.11 Simon Conolly, Chief Executive of Telford & Wrekin PCT, wrote the following to me on 13 June 2005: "Whilst the PCT retains an open mind on this subject (excess premature deaths due to Ironbridge Power Station emissions), I should explain that your views that there are adverse effects from the emissions (from Ironbridge Power Station) is at odds with the professional advice that the PCT has allegedly received from the EA and the HPA. Accordingly, in order to use NHS resources to the best effect, I am not prepared to ask my staff to become engaged in a detailed investigation unless a clear and justified case is put to us that there may be harmful effects associated with the power station emissions."

Mr Conolly's letter had earlier invited me to write to the PCT in order to "explain the scientific case that you (ie Michael Ryan) are alleging in respect of the power station emissions". The data now gathered is such that his only course of action would be to sack Dr Catherine Woodward and then resign in disgrace. The removal of Dr Woodward and Mr Conolly is overdue because Mr Conolly has admitted reliance on "professional advice from the EA and HPA" instead of looking at the facts, many of which are published in Dr Woodward's public health report of 2004. If Mr Conolly had been an effective manager, he'd have studied my letter of 4 June 2005 very carefully—then asked Dr Woodward to investigate the possibility that emissions from Ironbridge Power Station might be causing excess premature deaths. They should have intwerviewed Dr van Steenis and myself. If Dr Woodward carried out such an investigation, she'd have reached the same conclusion as me in much less time and thereby saved many lives. It was both foolish and counterproductive of Mr Conolly to show Dr Woodward my letter as my accusing her of negligence must prejudice her against me.

3.12 Shropshire is a large, mainly rural county. Out-of-hours GP services are provided by "Shropdoc", which might result in a home visit from a GP 50 miles away. The Director of Shropdoc (until his death, aged 46, earlier this month) was Dr Steve Hugh. Dr Hugh's medical practice was at Stirchley and he had lived mainly in Coalbrookdale before moving a short distance to Little Wenlock. Coalbrookdale is in the electoral ward of Ironbridge Gorge, which has the shortest life expectancy by far of any of the 33 wards in Telford & Wrekin (according to ONS) and is also the closest to Ironbridge Power Station. It seems probable that Dr Hugh's sudden death, whilst on a walking holiday in Spain, was due to a heart attack. His premature death is like so many others who have lived and worked downwind of Ironbridge Power Station and where lives will continue to be cut short until effective action is taken to prevent hundreds of premature deaths per annum.


4.1 Using unpublished ONS birth defect data released on the instruction of Ruth Kelly MP, I've calculated rates of babies born with defects in each of the 31 Greater London PCTs for the years 1995 to 2002. Birth defects are known to be caused by radioactivity, organophosphate pesticides/herbicides and industrial emissions of PM2.5s as described in my report at www.ukhr.org.

4.2 If birth defects were randomly distributed, then any of the Greater London PCTs will have a one in 31 chance of having the highest rate in any year. If the same PCT has the highest rate for two consecutive years, the odds are multiplied ie the odds are 1 in 961 of occurring by chance. Bexley PCT had the highest rate of babies born with defects in Greater London for each of the five years 1998 to 2002 and the odds against that sequence being a chance event are one in 28,629,151, ie about twice as unlikely as winning the National Lottery with a single £1 ticket.

4.3 Bexley is the only London Borough with an incinerator authorised to burn radioactive waste (White Rose, Sidcup) according to information supplied to me by Barbara Young, Chief Executive of the EA, in her letter of 23 December 2002. Bexley is also home to the Crossness sewage sludge incinerator which was used to dispose of sewage sludge after dumping sludge in the North Sea was banned on environmental grounds in 1992. This sludge contains heavy metals and other chemicals that are damaging to health when inhaled. The numbers of babies recorded as being born with defects in Bexley for the years 1995 to 2002 are as follows: 24, 33, 33, 56, 48, 66, 65, and 59. It should be noted that scanning techniques for detecting defects have improved considerably since 1995 and so the defect numbers in later years are an understatement of the true scale of the problem.

4.4 Islington PCT, in the heart of the largest urban area in the UK, was chosen as the "control" in my analysis of birth defect data. Islington's birth rate is only slightly less than Bexley's and yet the numbers of babies born with defects during the years 1995 to 2002 were: <5,>

4.4. Greater London PCTs with slightly lower rates of babies born with defects than Bexley are mostly clustered downwind of Grundon's radioactive waste-burning incinerator at Colnbrook. The published ONS birth defect data showed Hillingdon to be the worst London location for birth defects in 2000 and 2001 and John McDonnell MP asked a series of Parliamentary Questions in 2004 after he met Dr van Steenis and I on 9 March 2004.

4.5 As Slough PCT will also be adversely affected by PM2.5 emissions from Grundon's incinerator, I've examined the rates of babies born with defects in Slough PCT as well as the 31 Greater London PCTs to determine how many times each PCT is featured in the worst 10 PCTs during the eight years 1995 to 2002 and found the following:

Primary Care Trust Number of times in top 10 for birth defect rates (out of maximum of 8)
Bexley7(highest 1998 to 2002)
Croydon7(highest in 1996 and 1997)
Hillingdon7(third highest in 2000 and 2001)
Wandsworth7(second highest in 1996,1997 and 1998)
Harrow6(second highest in 1999)
Slough6(fourth highest 2000 and 2002; fifth in 2001)
City and Hackney Teaching5 (highest in 1995)
Tower Hamlets5
Hounslow4(second highest in 2001 and 2002)
Hammersmith and Fulham4

Sutton and Merton3
Greenwich1(seventh highest in 1999)
Haringey Teaching1(joint fourth highest in 2002)
Richmond and Twickenham1 (fifth highest in 2000)
Waltham Forest1 (third highest in 1998)

A Greater London map showing point sources of industrial PM2.5s would explain variations of birth defect rates and other health parameters. Bexley is also affected by emissions from SELCHP (Lewisham) and Littlebrook D Power Station. I raised these issues in my statement to the recent public inquiry using unpublished ONS birth defect data—yet my evidence was wrongly criticised by pro-incinerator "expert" Professor Jim Bridges, whose seven page report on my statement was erroneous as detailed in the South London Mercury, 23 November 2005. Professor Bridges stupidly quoted from non-existent published birth defect data for Bexley and then, through Lovells (his solicitors), refused to retract his erroneous report after I reminded Professor Bridges that I had access to unpublished ONS data.

Michael Ryan

December 2005

Incinerator plans scrapped [Scotland, April 24, 2008]

Waste incinerator plans scrapped

PLANS to build a massive incinerator in Renfrewshire have been scrapped.
The proposals were to create a waste-treatment plant, capable of burning 140,000 tonnes of rubbish a year, in Linwood. But after announcing a U-turn, council bosses have promised to reduce landfill by increasing recycling.

The full article contains 52 words and appears in The Scotsman newspaper.

  • Last Updated: 24 April 2008 10:54 PM
  • Source: The Scotsman
  • Location: Edinburgh


The move follows fierce public resistance to the project, and the Scottish Government recently declaring its opposition to large-scale incinerators.

Incinerator plan up in smoke [USA, April 23, 2008]

Posted: Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008 5:31 AM HST

Waste-to-energy incinerator plan goes up in smoke

By Associated Press

HILO, Hawaii (AP) _ A proposal to build the Big Island's first waste-to-energy incinerator appears dead.

The end comes after Hawaii County spent 1 million dollars and a decade selecting the company.

The council's Finance Committee is composed of all nine council members.

It voted 6-3 against hiring Texas-based Wheelabrator Technologies Incorporated.

Council members expressed concerns with the estimated 125 million dollar price tag and fears the technology was outdated.

For the measure to survive, two of the council members who voted against the proposal must reverse their decisions when it goes before the nine-member council May seventh.

Mayor Harry Kim and the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce provided testimony in favor of the incinerator.

(Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved)

April 23, 2008

Lochlann Quinn

Fresh plans for a €350m development overlooking Sandymount strand in Dublin 4, have been submitted by Liam Carroll's Fabrizia Developments. The plans differ substantially from the previous plans for a 30-storey tower and mainly commercial development which Fabrizia submitted for the former AIB sports grounds in Rinsgend.

Lochlann Quinn

When he is not acting as AIB chairman, Quinn works for Glen Dimplex, one of the country's largest private companies. It owns the Morphy Richards, Belling and Dimplex electrical brands. Quinn's 26 per cent of the company has made him bags of money.

But one of the conditions on which Quinn agreed to give an interview to The Sunday Business Post was that he would not discuss his private investments. He would prefer not to talk about his private business, he said, as it's hard to remain private in this country, and also because he will be returning full-time to the private sector when he leaves AIB.

A brother of former Labour leader Ruairi Quinn, the Glen Dimplex man owns half of the Merrion, Dublin's five-star hotel. He has also invested in Patrick Guilbaud's award-winning restaurant, which is now located next to the hotel. His 118-acre French vineyard in Bordeaux, Chateau de Fieuzal, which he bought last year for €45 million, supplies wine to his hotel.



Lochlann Quinn

Former Deputy Chairman and Finance Director of Glen Dimplex

Educated at Blackrock College and UCD, Lochlann Quinn qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1966. He joined Arthur Andersen & Co. in London and, in 1969, he returned to Dublin to head up their audit practice in Ireland until 1980.

In 1980, he joined Glen Dimplex - a small, privately-owned Irish company - as Deputy Chairman and Finance Director. He was one of two shareholders – he has recently sold his interest. The company now has annual sales of $1.3 billion and employs 8,000 people in Europe and Canada.

Mr Quinn’s private business interests include: a hotel in Dublin; commercial properties in Dublin, London and Brussels; and a vineyard in Bordeaux.

He is Chairman of the National Gallery of Ireland and of the ESB, and a former Director of AIB Bank (1995-96) and Chairman (1997-2003), and former Director of the Irish Museum of Modern Art (1990-2000).

He graduated from University College Dublin (BComm 1962).


Ex-bank boss Lochlann Quinn to chair the ESB


By Ailish O'Hora

Wednesday November 28 2007

The Government has appointed former AIB chairman Lochlann Quinn as chairman of the ESB with effect from January 22 next year.

Mr Quinn will have a five-year term.

Commenting on the appointment Energy Minister Eamon Ryan said: "I am very pleased that Lochlann Quinn will be bringing his unparalleled experience in the business and energy wo

rld to the ESB board." Mr Quinn is a former chairman and director of Allied Irish Banks. He was deputy chairman of Glen Dimplex and is chairman of the National Gallery of Ireland.



The Labour Party is to add Cllr Oisín Quinn to its General Election ticket in Dún Laoghaire, according to The Irish Times.
Quinn, nephew of former Finance Minister and current Dublin South East TD & candidate Ruairi Quinn, has been a Dublin City Councillor since the 2004 Local Elections, where he came second in the Rathmines ward poll to his party colleague, Cllr Mary Freehill, with two thirds of a quota.

Former PA tells of 'shame at summary dismissal'

Businessman Lochlann Quinn leaving the Employment Appeals Tribunal in Dublin yesterday. A former personal assistant to businessman Lochlann Quinn said yesterday she was devastated, humiliated and shamed by her "sudden and unexpected redundancy". Jane O'Byrne, Dundrum, Dublin, has taken a case of unfair dismissal against Mr Quinn, deputy chairman of Glen Dimplex and former AIB chairman.

During the year, Fabrizia Ltd lodged revised
proposals for planning permission on the
former AIB sports grounds in Ringsend. The
¤350 million development proposal includes
some 780 apartments, 21,804m2 of office
space and 2,600m2 of retail.

April 22, 2008

Covanta - Sam Zell

Zell Sells

Covanta - Equity Ownership of Directors and Management

Number of Shares


Beneficially Owned
Percent of Class
Samuel Zell (19)


15.0 %
Zell Shareholding in Covanta, 29-Feb-08: $666 million.

Covanta Book Value Per Share: $6.66
[Source: Yahoo! Finance]

Samuel "Sam" Zell (born September 1941) is a U.S.-born billionaire and real estate entrepreneur. He is co-founder and Chairman of Equity Group Investments, a private investment firm. With an estimated net worth of US$6 billion, he is ranked as the 52nd richest American by Forbes.[1]

On April 2, 2007, Zell bought Tribune Company, publisher of the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, New York Newsday and owner of the Chicago Cubs.

Zell was born in Chicago in 1941 to Jewish immigrant parents from Poland who fled the country just before the Nazi invasion in 1939.

Zell, according to The Forward[6], is also "a major donor to causes in the Middle East. His donations include a $3.1 million donation to the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center in Israel and separate donations to the Israel Center for Social and Economic Progress, a right-wing Israeli think tank.

In 2008, Zell announced a plan to place the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field up for sale separately in order to maximize profits.

Cell Hell


Equity Ownership of Directors and Management

Covanta Stock Price History

Covanta Book Value Per Share: $6.66
[Sorce: Yahoo! Finance]

Covanta Balance Sheet
Total Cash (mrq):151.90 Million
Total Debt (mrq):2.30 Billion

Equity Ownership of Directors and Management

Number of Shares


Beneficially Owned
Percent of Class

David M. Barse (1)

9,338,391 (2)

6.0 %
Ronald J. Broglio (3)

27,925 (4)

Peter C. B. Bynoe (5)

52,018 (6)

Linda J. Fisher (7)


Richard L. Huber (8)

158,884 (9)

John M. Klett

146,591 (10)

Seth Myones

110,032 (10)

Anthony J. Orlando

459,433 (10)

William C. Pate (11)

382,395 (12)

Mark A. Pytosh

135,424 (10)

Robert S. Silberman (13)

39,319 (14)

Timothy J. Simpson

153,944 (10)

Jean Smith (15)

58,703 (16)

Clayton Yeutter (17)

135,016 (18)

Samuel Zell (19)

23,225,534 (20)

15.0 %
All Officers and Directors as a group (16 persons)

34,452,296 (21)

22.2 %

April 20, 2008

Irish Doctors Assessment - Incinerator

Irish Doctors Environmental Association [IDEA]

Cumann Comhshaoil Dhoctúirí na hÉireann

IDEA Position on Incineration

We are a throwaway society that has forgotten that there is no place called ‘away’.

[Very Informative and Long Posting].

The Irish Doctors’ Environmental Association has serious concerns regarding incineration, which we do not regard as a solution to our waste management problem. We are opposed to incineration for three reasons.
  • First of all, it does not make sense to burn the Earth’s resources; resources that we should not destroy, but instead, share with future generations.
  • Secondly, the very presence of incinerators creates it’s own demand, and allows us to continue with our throwaway habits.
  • Thirdly, we are concerned about proven adverse health effects. Incineration does not destroy municipal waste; on the contrary, it transforms it into emissions into the environment and converts household waste to hazardous waste.

Health effects
There are many types of compounds in our domestic waste, which contain numerous chemicals. We do not know enough about the chemicals that we already have in our environment; for example, the European Environment Agency has said that of the 100,000 chemicals on the European market, there is insufficient toxicity information available for even the most basic risk assessments on 75% of them. These are the chemicals that will be present in our waste.
Even more worryingly, 10,000 of these chemicals are at present on the EU list for priority assessment, of which 42 had been prioritized for EU assessment between 1996 and 2000. However, to our most recent knowledge, only 21 risk assessments were publicly available. And these are the chemicals that we already have! It does not make sense to burn unknown and unquantified chemicals, which will combine in the furnace forming new compounds, whose composition and effects we know little or nothing about about, and disperse them widely in our air, food and water.
With such little knowledge, it is impossible to predict adverse health effects of incinerators, new or updated. The decrease in waste volume, seen by it's proponents as the advantage of incineration arises from the dispersal of gasses and particulate aerosols into the environment, and by the formation of ash. Our association is concerned about adverse health effects from these emissions, and from the ash remaining, both bottom and fly ash removed from the stacks. Incineration transforms municipal waste into hazardous waste, producing toxic ash from household waste. The issue of where this is to be stored has not yet been resolved in the Irish context.
The emissions include organic compounds, e.g. dioxins (which have recently been classified as a human carcinogen), polychlorinated bi-phenyls (PCBs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and other chemicals, heavy metals, particulates, inorganic gasses and other gasses. With regard to the emission of chemicals from incinerator stacks, it is generally regarded that setting maximum concentrations to allow ‘dilution and dispersion’ strategies, are adequate for substances of acute toxicity. This is only suitable in situations where the compound is water soluble, with established NOAEL (no observed adverse effect level), and where it is rapidly degraded. Dilution and dispersal will not work in the situation where dioxins and other compounds are soluble in fat, and are persistent and/or bio-accumulate. The human body is not designed to cope with the carbon/chlorine compound. The concentration of these compounds simply increases as they ascend through the food chain and the compounds accumulate in fat tissue. Every living creature on earth now has persistent carbon/chlorine based compounds in it’s fat. It is conservatively estimated that the average person in the ‘developed’ world has between 300 and 500 discernible residues in their bodies, the so-called body burden of chemicals.
We do not need any more. The effect of individual compounds, let alone a mixture is completely unknown and unmeasurable by current technology.
Many of the chemicals produced, by incineration are persistent, bioaccumulative (they accumulate in the body, because the body is not designed to excrete them), and toxic. Furthermore, there may be a long latency period before any adverse health effects become visible. Emissions of dioxins from incinerators may be said to be ‘low’, but the emissions to air only account for what is inhaled; these chemicals will also be found on vegetation and soil and intake will be increased in this way, as well as by absorption from the skin. The concentration of these chemicals is increased each time a step in the food chain is traversed. The longest food chains are found in marine ecosystems, e.g. a small fish contaminated by chemical pollutants will be eaten by a larger fish. As the larger fish will eat many small fish, the concentration of the chemicals will therefore be higher in the larger fish. There are other food chains in nature. These chemicals return to us when we consume the food.
For the general population of industrialized countries, research indicates that dioxins are exerting effects on people at current background levels found in the environment. Such effects include altering the levels of certain hormones, enzymes, and immune system cells. Recent research has shown that calculations of the amounts of dioxin released from incinerators may have been seriously underestimated, by up to thirty times. A list of the known toxicological effects of dioxin is found at the end of this article (1). It does not make sense to increase the exposure of people to these compounds, in fact we urgently require to REDUCE the exposure.
PCBs are a mixture of compounds with a dioxin-like effect and also a phenobarbitone-like effect. Both PCBs and dioxin are toxic to the developing brain of babies, both before and after birth.
Exposure to PCB in the womb is associated with decreased intelligence, suppression of the immune system and interference with the hormonal system of the body. It is possible that some of the effects of PCBs may be related to a ‘dioxin’ like effect. A summary of the effects of exposure to dioxin and PCBs on infants and children is appended at the end of this article (2).
A list of approximately 250 chemicals released from one incinerator is appended at the end of this article (next blog posting). This list is not exhaustive; many of the chemicals released from incinerators remain unidentified.
The toxicological significance of many volatile organic compounds is unknown. However, they are known to contribute to ozone formation, when they combine with nitrogen oxides in sunlight to produce ground level ozone. This is a respiratory irritant.
Apart from mercury, the heavy metals generally remain in the fly and bottom ash. Mercury is found in the emissions to air, and depending on its chemical state, may either be water soluble and remain close to the incinerator, or be carried long distances. Mercury is now being found in humans throughout the world in concentrations which are known to be toxic.
Most natural small particles are greater than 20 microns in size. Those, which are less than 10 microns are generally sea-salts and if inhaled, are reabsorbed.
Combustion processes, however, produce much smaller particles.
Although much attention has been given to the chemical discharges from incinerators, recently the fine particulates (less than 10 microns) and ultrafine particulates (less than 0.05 microns) are giving rise to serious concern. The ultrafine particulates are chemically highly reactive tiny particles and increase the coagubility of blood and the risk of cardiovascular disease. This has recently [Nov 2004] and uniquely been endorsed by the American Heart Association - the largest and one of the most prestigious groupings of cardiovascular disease physicians in the world. Only 5-30% less than 2.5 microns are collected by the mechanisms currently in use. At this size, the particles travel extremely far down into the lungs, to the site where oxygen exchange occurs; in fact they behave physiologically as a gas. Particulate pollution is associated with worsening respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease and an increase in premature mortality. Possible means for their effects include the small size of the particle relative to their surface area, leading to a large area for release of metals, dioxins and other chemicals, their insolubility and the possible generation of free radicals. There appears to be no ‘safe’ level, below which adverse effects from these particles will not occur. As far back as 1997, the US EPA added two new PM-2.5 standards, for the annual and 24-hour standards. Furthermore WHO recently adopted a recommendation to use fine particulate matter 2.5 as an indicator for pollution induced health effects. We have no guidelines in Ireland for the regulation of these particles, and the issue was not addressed in the Health Research Board’s report.
It also appears that methods used to reduce the emissions of nitrogen oxides from incinerators may increase the levels of particulates in the emissions. There is an urgent requirement for research into the environmental and health effects of the particulate aerosols emitted by current incinerators, which because of the large volumes of gas they produce, will have a significant local effect on air quality.
It is also of concern that for every one ton of waste incinerated, one ton of carbon dioxide is produced. This will have a deleterious impact on our commitments to the Kyoto protocol on climate change. The numerous adverse health effects associated with climate change are already evident throughout the world, and these will inevitably become more severe unless greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.
Emissions are said to be regulated, and we are told that there are 'safe levels', which will not be exceeded. However we have 5 concerns regarding the regulations.
Firstly, it does not make sense to talk of 'safe levels' of cancer causing agents.
Secondly, for many substances, no 'safe' standards exist. For example, regulations consider chlorinated dioxins. However, there are similar dioxin-like chemicals for which there are no 'safe levels' estimated. A case in point is mixed chloro and bromo-dioxins, which are also released in appreciable quantities and appear to have equal toxicological significance. There is no obligation to monitor these chemicals, as there is no standard 'safe limit'.
Thirdly, most environmental standards are based on what is feasible, in a BATNEEC framework (best available technology not exceeding excessive cost). This framework has no direct health significance.
Fourthly, there is no ‘standard’ person, people vary genetically and from an environmental exposure standpoint. The foetus and young child being, of course the most sensitive. It is disturbing to note that the blood-brain barrier is only fully developed at six months of age. Therefore, the foetus and young baby are acutely sensitive to the effects of these largely fat-soluble chemicals. This is even more worrying when we note that the brain is composed largely of fatty material, and know the devastating effects that these chemicals have on neurological development.
Finally, a fundamental problem with risk assessments is that estimation of the health consequences of pollution, as we have seen is still poorly understood. Risk assessments are only as good as the assumptions that they are based upon, and there are many assumptions. There is huge uncertainty with regard to the toxicological significance of low-dose, long-term exposure to the developing foetus and infants. There is uncertainty at every stage of the risk assessment process - e.g. how much of the chemical is released, (generally estimates of releases are taken under optimal operating conditions, not during starting up or running down of the incinerator when emissions may increase), individual human exposure, etc. Furthermore, risk assessments generally concentrate on chemicals in isolation and omit to take into account possible reactions with other chemicals. There are studies from different laboratories which indicate that the effects of some chemicals may be enhanced by up to ten times when mixed with other chemicals. It has been estimated that to test just the commonest 1,000 toxic chemicals, in unique groups of three, would require at least 166 million different experiments and would take 180 years (and this study would disregard the need to study varying doses). The U.K. National Research Council noted that ‘there is a dauntingly wide spectrum of inadequacies and uncertainties inherent in the process of risk assessment, each of which alone, could fatally compromise risk assessment procedures'. Therefore the only safe decision is to apply the 'precautionary principle' and not produce any of these compounds in the first place.
For every three tons of waste incinerated, on average one ton of ash is produced. The safe disposal of this also poses a problem, because it also contains dioxins and other chemicals, and heavy metals.
This aspect of waste incineration has yet to be satisfactorily resolved.
Although requested by the European Environment Bureau, there is no requirement for health related surveillance of incinerators in the licensing arrangements, and in Ireland the Health Research Board report of Mar 2003 has stated that we do not have either the manpower or the facilities to support such a surveillance system.
We have a problem with waste production.
Our municipal waste production doubled from the mid-1980s to the present time and continues to increase by approximately 4.5% annually. Two million tons of municipal waste were produced in 1998.
In keeping with this, the government set waste management targets in 1998, largely based on EU guidelines, these include:
*A reduction of 65% reduction in biodegradable waste going to landfill.
*Recycling of 35% of municipal waste
*Recycling of 50% of demolition waste in a five-year period.
*Diversion of 50% of household waste away from landfill
There are two problems with this approach
Firstly, these targets are far too modest; for example, our association would like to see no compostable waste on a landfill site.
Secondly, and more importantly, the structures whereby people may recycle and reuse are not, as yet, widely available. This piecemeal approach by local and national government departments results in the shameful fact that our recycling rates are the lowest in the EU. It is a disgrace that we are even considering any incinerator when we have such an unstructured approach to the implementation of the waste hierarchy.
The waste hierarchy is, of course, reduce (consumption), reuse and recycle. To this, we may add rethink!
We welcome the long overdue tax on plastic bags, which was such a success and is frequently cited around the world. At least one country (South Africa) has recently been reported to be considering the introduction of a 'Disposal Tax' on all consumer goods, which will be refunded to the purchaser on correct end-of-life disposal of the item. Perhaps worth considering?
It is our responsibility to ensure that we deal effectively with the problem, so as not to leave this legacy to future generations.
Any risk that is avoidable is unacceptable. It is therefore wrong to gamble on the health of future generations.
There is sufficient evidence of the dangers of health and environmental contamination to stop incineration now.
We are a throwaway society that has forgotten that there is no place called ‘away’.

There are 210 dioxins/furans, 17 of which are known to be toxicologically significant. 2,3,7,8 tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin [TCDD] is taken as the reference standard and dioxin/furan emissions are toxicologically weighted to this.
  • Class 1 carcinogen
  • Immune system
  • Suppression of cell-mediated and humeral immunity, increased susceptibility to infectious challenge, auto immune response.
  • Male reproductive toxicity
  • Reduced sperm count, testicular atrophy, abnormal testis structure, reduced size of genital organs, feminized hormonal responses, feminized behavioural responses
  • Female reproductive toxicity
  • Decreased fertility, inability to maintain pregnancy, ovarian dysfunction, endometriosis
  • A general increase in both bacterial and viral infections, including ear infections.
  • Developmental impacts
  • Birth defects, foetal death, impaired neurological development and subsequent cognitive deficits, altered sexual development.
  • Modulation of hormones, receptors and growth factors
  • Steroid hormones and receptors (androgens, oestrogens, and steroids), thyroid hormones, insulin, melatonin, vitamin A,
  • Other effects
  • Organ toxicity (liver, spleen, thymus and skin), diabetes, weight loss, wasting syndrome, altered fat and glucose metabolism.

(2) Effects of perinatal exposure to dioxins and PCBs on infants and children
  • Central nervous system
  • Deficits in short-term memory on children whose mothers were exposed to background levels of PCBs and dioxins
  • Delayed motor development, hypotonia and hyporeflexia in children exposed to background levels
  • Hypotonia, lower psychomotor developmental indices, lower cognitive scores in children whose mothers were exposed to background levels.
  • Immune system
  • More frequent ear infections and alteration in immune mechanisms with background levels
  • Growth, sexual development and reproductive health
  • Lower birthweight and smaller head circumference among children exposed to background levels.

Grateful appreciation to Greenpeace UK, Canonbury Villas London N1 2PN whose publication ‘Incineration and Human health State of knowledge of the impacts of waste incinerators on human health’ Greenpeace 2001 provided much of the information for this article.
Health Impacts of Waste Management policies
Edited by P.Nicolopoulou-Stamati, L.Hens and C.V. Howard
Environmental Science and Technology Library 1999
Elizabeth Cullen August 2003

See Also:
Incinerators and their Health Effects
Recycling of Household Waste: IDEA Submission to the Joint Oireactas Committee, Aug 2005
The Zero Waste Alliance website

www.ideaireland.org © 2004-2008

Chemicals Emitted - Incinerator

pentane; trichlorofluoromethane; acetonitrile; acetone; iodomethane; dichloromethane; 2-methyl-2-propanol; 2-methylpentane; chloroform; ethyl acetate; 2,2-dimethyl-3-pentanol; cyclohexane; benzene; 2-methylhexane; 3-methylhexane; 1,3-dimethylcyclopentane; 1,2-dimethylcyclopentane; trichloroethene; heptane; methylcyclohexane; ethylcyclopentane; 2-hexanone; toluene; 1,2-dimethylcyclohexane; 2-methylpropyl acetate; 3-methyleneheptane; paraldehyde; octane; tetrachloroethylene; butanoic acid ethyl ester; butyl acetate; ethylcyclohexane; 2-methyloctane; dimethyldioxane;

Link to above Emissions Video

2-furanecarboxaldehyde; chlorobenzene; methyl hexanol; trimethylcyclohexane; ethyl benzene; formic acid; xylene; acetic acid; aliphatic carbonyl; ethylmethylcyclohexane; 2-heptanone; 2-butoxyethanol; nonane; isopropyl benzene; propylcyclohexane; dimethyloctane; pentanecarboxylic acid; propyl benzene; benzaldehyde; 5-methyl-2-furane carboxaldehyde; 1-ethyl-2-methylbenzene; 1,3,5-trimethylbenzene; trimethylbenzene; benzonitrile; methylpropylcyclohexane; 2-chlorophenol; 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene; phenol; 1,3-dichlorobenzene; 1,4-dichlorobenzene; decane; hexanecarboxylic acid; 1-ethyl-4-methylbenzene; 2-methylisopropylbenzene; benzyl alcohol; trimethylbenzene; 1-methyl-3-propylbenzene; 2-ethyl-1,4-dimethylbenzene; 2-methylbenzaldehyde; 1-methyl-2-propylbenzene; methyl decane; 4-methylbenzaldehyde; 1-ethyl-3,5-dimethylbenzene; 1-methyl-(1-pro-penyl)benzene; bromochlorobenzene; 4-methylphenol; benzoic acid methyl ester; 2-chloro-6-methylphenol; ethyldimethylbenzene; undecane; heptanecarboxylic acid; 1-(chloromethyl)-4-methylbenzene; 1,3-diethylbenzene; 1,2,3-trichlorobenzene; 4-methylbenzyl alcohol; ethylhex anoic acid; ethyl benzaldehyde; 2,4-dichlorophenol; 1,2,4-trichlorobenzene; naphthalene; cyclopentasiloxanedecamethyl; methyl acetophenone; ethanol-1-(2-butoxyethoxy); 4-chlorophenol; benzothiazole; benzoic acid; octanoic acid; 2-bromo-4-chlorophenol; 1,2,5-trichlorobenzene; dodecane; bromochlorophenol; 2,4-dichloro-6-methylphenol; dichloromethylphenol; hydroxybenzonitrile; tetrachlorobenzene; methylbenzoic acid; trichlorophenol; 2-(hydroxymethyl) benzoic acid; 2-ethylnaphthalene-1,2,3,4-tetrahydro; 2,4,6-trichlorophenol; 4-ethylacetophenone; 2,3,5-trichlorophenol; 4-chlorobenzoic acid; 2,3,4-trichlorophenol; 1,2,3,5-tetrachlorobenzene; 1,1'biphenyl (2-ethenyl-naphthalene); 3,4,5-trichlorophenol; chlorobenzoic acid; 2-hydroxy-3,5-dichlorobenzaldehyde; 2-methylbiphenyl; 2-nitrostyrene(2-nitroethenylbenzene); decanecarboxylic acid; hydroxymethoxybenzaldehyde; hydroxychloroacetophenone; ethylbenzoic acid; 2,6-dichloro-4-nitrophenol; sulphonic acid m.w. 192; 4-bromo-2,5-dichlorophenol; 2-ethylbiphenyl; bromodichlorophenol; 1(3H)-isobenzofuranone-5-methyl; dimethylphthalate; 2,6-di-tertiary-butyl-p-benzoquinone; 3,4,6-trichloro-1-methyl-phenol; 2-tertiary-butyl-4-methoxyphenol; 2,2'-dimethylbiphenyl; 2,3'-dimethylbiphenyl; pentachlorobenzene; bibenzyl; 2,4'-dimethylbiphenyl; 1-methyl-2-phenylmethylbenzene; benzoic acid phenyl ester; 2,3,4,6-tetrachlorophenol; tetrachlorobenzofurane; fluorene; phthalic ester; dodecanecarboxylic acid; 3,3'-dimethylbiphenyl; 3,4'-dimethylbiphenyl; hexadecane; benzophenone; tridecanoic acid; hexachlorobenzene; cholesterol; heptadecane; fluorenone; dibenzothiophene; pentachlorophenol; sulphonic acid m.w. 224; phenanthrene; tetradecanecarboxylic acid; octadecane; phthelic ester; tetradecanoic acid isopropyl ester; caffeine; 12-methyltetradecacarboxylic acid; pentadecacarboxylic acid; methylphenanthrene; nonedecane; 9-hexadecene carboxylic acid; anthraquinone; dibutylphthalate; hexadecanoic acid; eicosane; methylhexadecanoic acid; fluoroanthene; pentachlorobiphenyl; heptadecanecarboxylic acid; octadecadienal; pentachlorobiphenyl; aliphatic amide; octadecanecarboxylic acid; hexadecane amide; docosane; hexachlorobiphenyl; benzylbutylphthalate; aliphatic amide; diisooctylphthalate; hexadecanoic acid hexadecyl ester.

April 18, 2008

Covanta, Florida: A Decade of Lawsuits.

Covanta, Florida: A Decade of Lawsuits. Recycling Undermined.

In Lake County, Florida, an incinerator contract with Covanta in 1991 has caused more than a decade of acrimony, lawsuits and political fallout.

In late 2000, Lake County, Florida commenced a lawsuit in Florida state court against Covanta-Lake, Inc. relating to the waste to energy facility operated by Covanta in Lake County, Florida.

In the lawsuit, the County sought to have its service agreement with Covanta-Lake declared void and in violation of the Florida Constitution.
  • That lawsuit was stayed by the commencement of the (Bankruptcy) Chapter 11 Cases.
  • Lake County subsequently filed a proof of claim seeking in excess of $80 million from Covanta-Lake and Covanta.

More at SEC website, 10-Q Filin
g: http://sec.edgar-online.com/2003/11/14/0000903423-03-000954/Section15.asp

Paying for pollution

Along with the environmental and health risks associated with incineration, taxpayers are forced to bear the considerable financial costs involved in building and operating Ogden facilities. The case of Lake County, Florida offers a dramatic example of the financial toll Ogden can exact from a community. The county's original 1984 incineration proposal called for General Electric (GE) to design, finance, build and operate a facility, at no cost to the community.

By the time construction began in 1990, however,
  • GE had pulled out of the deal,
  • Ogden was the builder, operator and owner of the incinerator and
  • construction costs had risen to $79 million.
  • In addition, the county is paying the plant's property taxes.

County Commissioner Richard Swartz says, "We went straight from a situation where Lake County had no financial obligation - zero, none - to a situation where Lake County ended up paying not only for the $79 million in construction costs, but to a total obligation for debt service and operating costs of nearly $300 million over the 22-year life of the Ogden contract."

Like many communities that have negotiated with Ogden, Lake County locked itself into a "put-or-pay" contract, which forces the county to provide the incinerator with a required tonnage of garbage, or else be charged a penalty. The county is also responsible for disposal of the incinerator ash.

  • Swartz says the Ogden contract has undermined the positive economic and environmental effects of the county's recycling program.

The city of Tulsa, Okla., had to divert its trash to a landfill in 2003 when Covanta briefly closed its incinerator there, citing financial problems.