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#6 - Ozone Loss In Upper Atmosphere May Lead To 40 Million Cancers In Americans, EPA Research Says, 04-Jan-1987

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) predicts that Americans
could suffer 40 million cases of skin cancer and 800,000 cancer deaths
in the next 88 years because of depletion of atmospheric ozone.
Chlorofluorocarbons, which are manufactured gases used as refrigerants
and foams outside the U.S., break down the ozone in the upper
atmosphere which acts as a shield to keep out harmful ultraviolet
radiation from the sun. (At ground level, ozone itself is a dangerous
pollutant, harmful to vegetation and to human lungs; in the upper
atmosphere it filters out the sun's most powerful and cancer-causing
rays, protecting the earth and its inhabitants.)

The agency based its prediction on a continuation of current trends, so
the estimates of skin cancer incidence and cancer deaths contain a wide
margin of error. The agency said if the use of chlorofluorocarbons is
reduced, the projected risks would be lowered by 90%, but with faster
growth in their use, cancer risks would rise four-fold. The risk
assessment still must be reviewed by additional EPA scientists and may
be revised. The agency said if the assessment is supported by the
review, immediate controls would have to be placed on the production of
chlorofluorocarbons. The EPA assessment also said that increasing
ultraviolet radiation on the earth would lead to more problems with the
human immune system and eye cataracts, rising losses of crops and
forest products and reduced aquatic resources. The Reagan
Administration, which previously said more study was needed, planned to
propose to a conference of industrialized nations in Geneva late in
1986 that a global "near-term freeze" be put on
chlorofluorocarbons.

--Peter Montague

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FACING $1.6 BILLION CLEANUP TAB, NJ DEVELOPS ITS FUNDING SOURCES

NJ residents in November, 1986, approved a $200 million bond issue that
will allow the state to begin a $1.6 billion cleanup program for the
state's worst toxic waste sites. NJ has more sites than any other
state--97 sites--on the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
"national priorities list" of 812 sites nationwide.

The NJ Legislature passed companion bills to raise $535 million over a
5-year period. In addition, the state expects to get $500 million from
the federal Superfund and another $500 million from industries found to
be responsible for the pollution. At the 600 worst toxic waste sites in
the state, 371 of the responsible parties have been identified and will
be required to pay for cleanup. The state plans to clean up the
remaining 229 with public funds. The Lipari landfill in Gloucester
County is at the top of the national priority list, making it the worst
toxic waste site in the nation.

A state assistant environmental protection commissioner said NJ hopes
to have cleanup projects well under way at 15 sites by the end of 1988,
now that the federal Superfund has been reauthorized.

--Peter Montague

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VERMONT ELECTRIC COOP RAISES ITS RATES 40% TO PAY FOR ATOM POWER

The future of the Vermont Electric Cooperative, formed with 10,500
rural customers that private companies refused to serve, is being
threatened by the failure of nuclear reactors in which it invested. The
federal government loaned the co-op $67 million to invest in power
plants. According to the VT Public Advocate, the co-op invested in
every failed nuclear plant in New England, including 5 that have been
canceled and Seabrook 1 (NH), whose costs exceeded original estimates
by billions of dollars. To try to pay for its nuclear commitments, the
co-op has raised its rates 40% in less than a year; electric rates are
now 50% above the state average and are threatening to rise higher.

--Peter Montague

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RACHEL DATABASE NOW CONTAINS DATA ON 1058 TOXIC CHEMICALS

The Rachel database now contains detailed information about 1058 toxic
chemicals. The information is derived from the U.S. Coast Guard's CHRIS
Manual, which stands for Chemical Hazard Response Information System.
The Coast Guard developed the Manual for use by its personnel when
called to respond to chemical emergencies. The 1058 chemicals include
all the common chemicals found polluting the environment today.

The Rachel database, which is accessible to the public free, is a full-
text searching system; every word in every document is indexed. Thus if
a user asks for information on "arsenic trioxide," the computer will
show all documents that contain the chemical name arsenic trioxide,
including the section on arsenic trioxide from the CHRIS Manual.

--Peter Montague

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Descriptor terms: rachel; databases; chemicals; chris manual; chemical
hazard response information system; vt; vermont electric cooperative;
nuclear power; costs; financing; epa; ozone; air pollution; cancer;
skin cancer; cfcs; radiation; limits; standards; ronald reagan; immune
system; health; studies; global environmental problems; nj; epa;
financing; bonding; fines; toxic waste; corporations; npl; superfund;
remedial action; lipari landfill, nj; funding; hazardous waste;