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
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.?