The residents of Cape Cod are aware of the clean up efforts involving the Mass Military Reservation and the effect of pollution on the underlying groundwater. Since this area is under Federal control the massive cleanup efforts are monitored and supervised by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency. This is unfortunately not the case involving the use of toxic materials by the state. The herbicide Pathway, which is a restricted use material requiring certification as a commercial applicator by both state and Federal law to purchase, possess, and use was the material applied by Fish & Wildlife without any regard to the safety of employees or the public. Massachusetts is a self regulating, self-invstigating, and self-insuring state. An acronym for this state would certainly seem to be a monopoly. What does this mean to residents? Since neither the Federal EPA or OSHA can investigate, unless invited by the state, Massachusetts does as it wishes without fear of penalty or interferance,while in violation of state and federal law. (See Pesticide Bureau Investigation) What better area to pollute, as any material found in test wells will be attributed to the MA Military Reservation. Interestingly, this material is used only by the Southeast MA District, and almost exclusively in the Francis A.Crane Wildlife Areas in Falmouth.
For at least ten years the state has violated their own license requirements, Federal Regulations, and both MGL132B and 333CMR in using this chemical herbicide in the Crane Wildlife areas located off Rte.151. The larger main area abuts the MA Military Reservation, while the smaller Quail area is off Hayway Road, both of which are administered by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries, Wildlife, & Environmental Law Enforcement. The use of unlicensed Division employees, with no training in application and without any personal protection or the proper application equiptment as required by the Code of Federal Regulations ( Worker Protection Standard, 40 CFR part 170 ) and the resulting injuries suffered would seem a major violation of law, ( industrial accident, or perhaps at the least, due to total disregard for safety, criminal negligence ), not to mention the environmental impact to the underlying aquifer and the possible hazards to persons using this area, but will the state penalize those responsible? Certainly not, as any adverse findings would pose a liability to the state. With three supervisors, a District Manager, Wildlife Manager, Fisheries Manager/"Safety Ofiicer", overseeing four employees an "accident" of this nature should not happen. With 1.3 employees per supervisor, it makes you wonder about the state's "financial problem".
Even though the MA Pesticide Bureau lists this material on their web site as a restricted use product, subject to license requirements to purchase, possess, or use, and during their investigation document 104 illegal applications, in only a four year period. This alone, by law, could result in fines up to $2,600,000 and/or 104 years incarceration, yet the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office has refused to investigate this matter, and is in fact defending those responsible. Is this any wonder, as the Environmental Police comprise the Attorney General's Environmental Strike Force, and they are a division of the Massachusetts Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, & Environmental Law Enforcement. This material, illegally purchased without a license from Arborchem Products Co. 943 Nixon Drive, Mechanicsburg PA, which is a division of Asplundh Tree Expert Company, and transported across state lines in violation of Federal Law, is not even addressed. In today's world it can make you wonder just who they may be selling hazardous materials to. Many private companies receive heavy fines for far less serious violations. Certainly does give new meaning to the phrase,"Justice is blind". Your tax dollars at work !!
The material used is an phenoxy family chemical manufactured by Dow Chemical, and distributed under the trade name of Pathway. The composition of the material is Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), Picloram, ethylene glycol, isopropal alcohol, triisopropanolamine, and additional "inert" ingredients. Both 2,4-D (banned from use on Veterans Administration property ) and Picloram are known to be contaminated during manufacture, 2,4-D with one of the dioxin family of compounds (CCD's), and Picloram with Hexachlorobenzene. The combination of 2,4-D, and Picloram has been used in the past, in Viet Nam, where it was known as Agent White. Originally the organophosphate group of chemicals were developed as nerve agents in the early 1900's, and are known for their nuerotoxic properties in addition to their ability to affect celluar structure as endocrine disrupters. Have we forgetten the lessons learned from the Viet Nam era ? Even Dow cautions that Pathway "is not appropriate for use on sandy to sandy loam types of soil, since it will seek out underlying ground water." In addition Hexachlorobenzene breaks down to Pentachlorophenol contaminating the soil. Both materials are suspected to be carcinogens, yet neither dioxins or Hexachlorobenzene are required to be listed as ingredients since they are byproducts of manufacture.
To use this material in areas that are frequented by many different groups for recreation, from hunters to persons walking their animals, people involved in horse and dog trials, to people just enjoying nature is a travesty. This is an insidious material that may have taken an unknown toll over the years. Restricted Entry warning signs, required by law, were never posted which may have led to unknown exposure. This is even true for the employees using this herbicide, since certainly if we had known warning signs were required it would have alerted us to the fact that this wasn't the harmless material the supervisors kept telling us it was. Is this acceceptable to you and those you care about ? Is it acceptable to have a massive cleanup operation at the Military Reservation, and yet continue to pollute the adjacant land areas over the major aquifer, the Cape's primary water source ? If not, it is time for citizens to demand an investigation and to hold those responsible accountable for their actions. Of interest, the new Massachusetts web site uses the catchphrase "Your Government, Your Way". Perhaps that should read, "Your Government, Our Way," like it or not !!
If it can kill a tree, imagine what it could do to you !!!! Consider this, in most cases of a vehicle striking a tree, the tree survives. Could you ?
With the increased rate of childhood cancer in the adjoining areas, and the newly discovered fact that herbicides of this nature were used for approximately forty years by the MA Division of Fish & Wildlife, it can make one wonder if this may not have had an impact. Also one must consider that required warning signs were never posted, and "empty" containers were disposed of with household trash in these areas.
Just as an update to the Cape Cod Times article, once again I have been denied any Workers Compensation benifits for injuries that resulted from the exposure I had received, even though the case was won. After waiting four years for this case to be heard, it finally was in October of 2004. The Administrative "Judge", Lynn Coffin Brendemuehl, who is obviously overemployed, does admit in her ruling, which took an additional year to receive, that I had in fact been injured but due to my being "underemployeed" I was not entitled to any benefits, not even the cost of medical expenses I had paid out of pocket. While she did not agree entirely with the testimony of the the two supervisiors I worked for, never the less no benefits were paid from the time I became ill untill I began receiving a state disability pension. These supervisors, Steve Hurley, a biologist and the Fisheries Manager/Safety Officer and Richard Turner, the Wildlife Manager made statements such as "Were not responsible for the saftey of the employees, they're grown men" or the most interesting " the herbicide is only harmful if you get it on your skin". In addition the judged dismmised benefits called for under MGL 152 sec.28 which deals with Employer negligence. It seems she beleives that alleged ignorance is a valid excuse to violate the law. Strange as all my life I beleived ignorance was not an excuse to violate the law, but it would seem this judge must beleive ignorance is bliss. Perhaps she should return to a career at her husbands law firm ! Surely another example of the monopoly that is called Massachusetts !
One other note that deserves mention in these economic times is the fact that these same supervisors have no difficulty justifying to themselves the use of state vehicles for their own personal use. Since each vehicle has it's own credit card for gas purchases it certainly is, as far as they are concerned, a great benefit to them. Again your tax dollars at work in Massachusetts.
Strange that since I added the text version of the DIA appeals decision it suddenly was removed. Unless the state would like to delete the whole listing of decisions it is still available as a download. (See link below for pdf. version)
MA Pesticide Bureau Investigation & Findings of Illegal Activity
Cape Cod Hunting
Chemical Index by Name
Healthy Tomorrow Worst Ten Chemicals
Viet Nam Herbicides List
Combined Pesticide & Fertilizer Effects
Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow
Chemical Scorecard Health Effects
Toxics Action Center
Arborchem/Asplundh Previous Violation
UMass Pesticide Education Program
Massachusetts State License Requirements
State Restricted Use Products List
U.S. EPA Information for Pesticide Use
Symptoms of Pesticide Poisoning
Antidoteradio; the Voice of Reason
Related Cape Cod Times Article
MA Chemicals of Concern
OSHA Protection for Public Employees
The Human Cost of Pathway Use : In Memory of the late Sal Paterno
A Chemical Reaction - YouTube