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OPPT NEWSBREAK Monday, 22 February 1999


OPPT NEWSBREAK                  Monday, 22 February 1999


                Today's "Toxic News for the Net"
          Brought to you by the OPPTS Chemical Library
            http://www.epa.gov/opptintr/oppt_nb.txt
                                                                  
                             NEWS                                 

"Bombs-to-Plowshares Program Criticized." New York Times, 22
February 99, A8.
     The GAO's study of two Energy Department programs reveals
     that American aid may have been supporting Russian
     scientists still working on projects related to nuclear,
     biological and chemical weapons.  The Energy Departments
     programs were established to employ former Soviet weapons
     scientists in peaceful, profitable work.  One of the
     programs is being criticised for being poorly supervised. 
     Some changes recommended in the report are being
     implemented.  A description of the report's key findings are
     given.

"Everglades Restoration Plan Does Too Little, Experts Say." New
York Times, 22 February 99, A1, A15.
     Nearing draft completion, the Federal-state Everglades plan,
     designed to restore a natural water flow to the Everglades
     and re-establish a healthy ecosystem, is being questioned by
     ecologists who say that the project would leave the South
     Florida peninsula too dependent on a system of
     compartmentalizing levees, canals, pumps and reservoirs etc.
     rather than known-to-work natural processes for water
     distribution.  In a letter to Interior Secretary Bruce
     Babbitt, ecologists and other scientists asked that the
     plan, due in July, be submitted for scientific review.  The
     establishment of a panel to continuously evaluate the
     restoration project over the next few decades is expected.
     Water that is currently being artificially pumped into the
     Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean would be partly
     rechanneled under the plan and released as needed in the
     Everglades.

"A Chemical-Plant Explosion Killed...[What's News]." Wall Street
Journal, 22 February 99, A1.
     Five people were killed and 14 injured on Friday as a result
     of a chemical-plant explosion in Allentown, Pa.

"Tainted Fruit Suspected In Florida Typhoid Cases [National News
Briefs]." New York Times, 22 February 99, A15.
     The FDA has warned consumers not to eat the El Sembrador
     brand of a tropical fruit called mamey or frozen juices made
     from mamey.  The fruit is showing a strong link to typhoid
     fever hospitalizations that have occurred since mid-December, 
     primarily in Hispanic communities in South
     Florida.  El Sembrador's mamey, from Guatemala, was found in
     the home freezers of the victims or at restaurants where
     some ate the fruit.

"Waste Management Stirs an Analysts' Food Fight." Wall Street
Journal, 22 February 99, B5A.
     Stock market analysts are debating whether Waste Management,
     Inc. is raising prices in the New York City market.  The
     industry giant is cited for proposing a 40% price raise for
     garbage sent from New York City to its Virginia and
     Pennsylvania landfills.  The increase is expected to impact
     third-party disposers that are not under contract who use
     WMI landfills.  There hasn't been any input from WMI to
     douse the debate.

"India, Pakistan Pledge to Reduce Nuclear-War Risk." Wall Street
Journal, 22 February 99, A1. "India Leader's Pakistan Visit Ends
in Pledges to Make Peace." New York Times, 22 February 99, A4.
     Ending with a promise to warn one another in advance about
     ballistic-missile tests, the prime ministers of India and
     Pakistan closed their summit meeting.  Both countries,
     capable of launching nuclear-warhead missiles, agreed to
     take action to reduce the chance of accidental nuclear war.  
     Both countries have agreed to make efforts to resolve
     conflicts about Kashmir, a divided region that has been the
     focus of two previous wars between the two countries.

                     EDITORIAL & COMMENTARY

"EPA Can't Win This Country's Sprawl Brawl [Op-Ed]."  Washington
Times, 22 February 99, A21.
     Jonathan H. Adler, senior director of environmental policy
     at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the author of
     "Environmentalism at the Crossroads," criticizes the
     Clinton-Gore Administration's new multibillion-dollar
     environmental agenda, which includes a $700 million subsidy
     for EPA-approved bonds for local environmental projects.  He
     favors returning control over environmental policy to state
     and local governments:  "In many instances, the best thing
     the federal government can do to enhance environmental
     protection is get out of the way--and eliminate those
     policies  and programs which subsidize or encourage
     environmental harm."

"Attack of the Killer Potato [Review & Outlook]." Wall Street
Journal, 22 February 99, A18.
     Lectin, a protein used in Britain to increase potatoes'
     resistance to nematodes and insect pests, has recently
     caused these genetically modified (GM)potatoes to be dubbed
     "killer potatoes".  An audit of the lectin experiments at
     Rowett Institute, however, shows that the growth of rats who
     ate the potatoes was not affected, as falsely claimed to the
     media by research scientist Arpad Pusztai.  About 20
     "supposed" independent scientists supporting Mr. Pusztai's
     research were traced to the radical environmentalist lobby
     Friends of the Earth.  If brought to market, GM potatoes are
     expected to offer a higher yield with less dependence on
     chemical pesticides.  Genetically modified versions of corn,
     soy beans and tomatoes are currently sold in Britain.

                       PEOPLE IN THE NEWS

"6th Ford Worker Dies From Injuries in Blast [National News
Briefs]." New York Times, 22 February 99, A15.
     Ron Moritz is the sixth Ford Motor Co. worker to die of
     injuries he sustained from the natural gas explosion at
     Ford's River Rouge complex in Dearborn, Michigan on February
     1.  

"One Man's Poisons:  Jan Schlichtmann's Last Pollution Case
Turned Into a Toxic Obsession.  Now He's Digging for the Truth
>From a Different Angle."  Washington Post, 22 February 99, C1,
C8.
     This lengthy article profiles Jan Schlichtmann, the lawyer
     whose nine-year battle against "[t]wo corporate giants found
     responsible for contaminating the water" in Woburn, Mass.,
     was the inspiration for the best-selling book and the movie
     "A Civil Action."  Schlichtmann now represents families in
     Toms River, N.J., "where childhood cancer rates are
     unusually high."  He and his co-counsels are in discussions
     with Union Carbide and Ciba Specialty Chemicals, whose
     chemical wastes may have polluted the town's wells. Union
     Carbide has already spent $15 million on cleanup, and Ciba
     has already spent $200 million.

                 ACROSS THE USA, from USA Today
                                
"Washington, DC [Across the USA]." USA Today, 19,20 &21 February
99, 10A.
     The Washington Surgical Center, an abortion clinic, received
     a package with a warning that it contained "Anthrax".  This
     caused authorities to close off a roadway intersection for
     an hour.  The FBI will investigate the contents.

"Elkhart, Illinois [Across the USA]." USA Today, 19,20 & 21
February 99, 10A.
     An experimental power plant that cleanly burns high-sulfur
     and coal will be awarded $22 million in state money.  A
     high-efficiency, low-emissions boiler system power plant is
     planned for the Turris Coal Mine.  It is projected to burn
     300,000 tons of coal a year, providing 3,000 homes with
     electricity.

"Coos Bay, Oregon [Across the USA]." USA Today, 19,20 & 21
February 99, 10A.
     High winds delayed plans to tow the broken bow of the
     derelict freighter, New Carissa, into deep water to sink it.
     Instead, the Coast Guard has been pumping oil out of the
     ship which had run aground earlier in the month.  Although
     200,000 gallons of oil have been burned off, 70,000 gallons
     have spilled onto beaches and 135,00 gallons remain in the
     ship.

"Newport, Rhode Island [Across the USA]." USA Today, 19,20 & 21
February 99, 10A.
     A consultant says that the Navy should remove contaminated
     sediment and other wastes by dredging the waters off
     McAllister Point in Middletown.  A nearby landfill, once
     operated by the Navy, is the source of the sediment.

           AROUND THE BELTWAY: DC/MD/VA REGIONAL NEWS
                                
"Sewer Bans Become a Weapon in the War on Sprawl."  Washington
Post, 22 February 99, A1, A8.
     In the town of Dunkirk in Calvert County, Md.,  residents
     blocked a plan by the county to build a limited sewer system
     for the town's small commercial center.  The existing
     stores, medical facility, fire station, and other small
     businesses are all using septic tanks.  County planners and
     economic development officials said the system would attract
     businesses to the area, but residents argued that the plan
     would encourage sprawl and take away the town's rural
     character.  Similar battles were fought in other fast-growing regions of the
Washington area, including Prince
     William County, Va.

                 LIVING IN THE INFORMATION AGE
                                
"Year 2000 and Home PCs: The Fix May Not Be In." Wall Street
Journal, 22 February 99, B1, B4.
     Simple date errors and other non-crippling home PC problems
     are anticipated as the new millennium takes hold.  This
     concern applies to programs that rely on dates as well as
     others that do not, such as some graphics software that are
     used in conjunction with Y2K-sensitive software.  This
     article names some corrective software packages for sale by
     retailers as well as lists a sample of Web sites that
     provide PC-evaluating software to download.

"U.S. Warns of A-Alert If Computers Misread Year." New York
Times, 22 February 99, A8.
     Fearing that the year 2000 computer problem might set off a
     false nuclear alert by disrupting Russian systems, the
     United States has prompted Russia to establish a joint
     missile-warning center to reduce this risk.  Russians have
     responded favorably.  Though Pentagon officials say that the
     danger of inadvertent nuclear war is minimal they are
     pressing for implementation of the agreement before January
     2000.  Discussions will continue regarding the diagnosis and
     repair of technical issues affected by the year 2000
     problem.

* All items, unless indicated otherwise, are available at the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxics Substances (OPPTS)
Chemical Library
Northeast Mall, Room B606 (Mailcode 7407)
Washington, D.C. 20460
(202) 260-3944; FAX x4659;
E-mail for comments: library-tsca@epamail.epa.gov.
(Due to copyright restrictions, the library cannot provide
photocopies of articles.)

*Viewpoints expressed in the above articles do not necessarily
reflect EPA policy.  Mention of products does not indicate
endorsement.*

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