Kodak: Sharing Moments, Taking Lives

| June 20, 2003

On Earth Day 2003, Kodak brazenly announced that the EPA had proclaimed the company ?a remarkable example of how organizations can combine environmental concerns with smart business strategy.? This is a dubious distinction, given the fact that three years ago an EPA report named Kodak New York state?s number-one producer of dioxin?a carcinogen found in Agent Orange. Not surprisingly, people living near the company?s Rochester plant have experienced high rates of neuropathy, diabetes, and cancers of the thyroid and pancreas?all illnesses suffered by Vietnam veterans.

According to Michael I. Niman of Alternet, residents of the Kodak Park neighborhood have also reported ailments such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, asthma, cerebral palsy, nervous system disorders and Primary Biliary Cirrhosis?a rare autoimmune disease. A concerned mother conducting a door-to-door survey documented 33 cases of children living with brain cancer within a five-mile radius of the Kodak facility. Both the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute have placed Rochester ?in the top ten percentile for death rates from 13 different types of cancers.?

Kodak is not only the state?s leading producer of dioxin, it?s also the number-one producer of airborne carcinogens, waterborne developmental toxicants, and ?releases of suspected endocrine, gastrointestinal, liver, cardiovascular, kidney, respiratory, and reproductive toxicants, as well as neurotoxins.? In fact, Kodak releases more toxic emissions than all of the 144 major polluters in the three surrounding counties combined. A 1996 Kodak Park groundwater study revealed methylene chloride concentrations as high as 3.6 million parts per billion?720,000 times the federal limit of five parts per billion. Although the self-congratulatory Earth Day press release announced that Kodak has reduced its methylene chloride emissions by 50 percent, Niman reminds us that ?even a 99 percent cut? is an ?unacceptable amount.?
?Erin Ferdinand

Go there>>Kodak?s Toxic Moments

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