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OPPT NEWSBREAK Wednesday, 3 February 1999


OPPT NEWSBREAK                       Wednesday, 3 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

"Decades of Mishandling Hazardous Cargo Leave Railroads a Toxic
Legacy." Wall Street Journal, 3 February 99, A1, A10.
     Toxic chemicals such as perchloroethylene, butadiene,
     acrylamide and carbon tetrachloride from old rail yards have
     contaminated soils and drinking water supplied to
     surrounding, mostly poor, residential areas across the
     country.  Railroads have identified 300 out of more than
     2,000 rail yards that are polluted.  Until recent
     investigations by the EPA and others, contamination has gone
     undetected because spills occurring years before were
     readily absorbed by the gravel surface of rail yards. Since
     the turn of the century chemicals were disposed of on site
     without awareness of long-term consequences.  Today, toxic-
     damage lawsuits against railroads are on the rise.  Health
     effects of exposure to rail yard pollutants are not
     completely understood due to chemical changes over time. 
     This article profiles present day effects of rail yard
     pollutants in Louisiana, Indiana, Montana and Massachusetts. 
     Preventative safety measures currently enforced by the
     railroad industry are also given.

"Farms Fold Under Price Crunch." USA Today, 2 February 99, 1B.
     Among other problems cited, some say that environmentalists
     are applying pressure to force large-scale hog farms out of
     business.

                     EDITORIAL & COMMENTARY

" Smart growth' a Dumb Idea [Commentary]."  Washington Times, 3
February 99, A15.
     Steven Hayward, a Bradley fellow at the Heritage Foundation,
     presents a newer version of his article that appeared in the
     foundation's magazine, Policy Review.  He discusses Vice
     President Al Gore's recently proposed $10 billion program to
     curb suburban sprawl, that would be administered by the EPA
     and other federal agencies.  Hayward explains why he thinks
     "smart growth" is a bad idea and won't work. He concludes: 
     "Remember, these are the same folks who gave use  urban
     renewal' in the 1960s and 1970s.  Now they are prescribing
      suburban renewal.'  Maybe it's time we moved back to the
     cities."

                 ACROSS THE USA, from USA Today

"Soldotna, Alaska [Across the USA]." USA Today, 1 February 99,
13A.
     About 19,000 gallons of oil that spilled from Unocal Corp.'s
     Swanson River oil field on the Kenai Peninsula has been
     recovered.  A pipeline leak was the cause.

 "Orlando, Florida [Across the USA]." USA Today, 1 February 99,
13A.
     The Citrus industry stands to lose $200 million yearly
     unless Canker disease is stopped.  State agriculture
     officials propose a $165 million plan to do just that. 
     Currently, the disease has destroyed 100,000 trees and
     thousands more are threatened.

"Columbia, South Carolina [Across the USA]." USA Today, 2
February 99, 12A.
     Those who worked at the government's Savannah River nuclear
     complex during the Cold War era will learn, this week, what
     radiation and chemicals they were exposed to.

"Harrisonburg, Virginia [Across the USA]." USA Today, 1 February
99, 13A.
     In Rockingham County, 9,000 jobs and $315 million in annual
     pay are directly related to the chicken industry.  However,
     many of the waterways and wells have become polluted by
     poultry manure.  A bill has been passed by the General
     Assembly to regulate the storage and use of poultry litter
     and Gov. Gilmore is expected to sign it.

"Seattle, Washington [Across the USA]." USA Today, 2 February 99,
12A.
     The council began hearings on a proposed $1.1 billion
     project for a new sewage treatment plant in King County;
     officials are asked to comply with federal clean-water
     standards.  A senior scientist with the U.S. EPA, John
     Armstrong, said the council should avoid considering any
     waivers from secondary sewage treatment requirements.

                         BIOTECHNOLOGY

"Seeds of Discord: Monsanto's Gene Police Raise Alarm On
Farmers's Rights, Rural Tradition."  Washington Post, 3 February
99, A1,A6.
     Front-page article on mechanisms (detectives, "tip lines",
     DNA testing) the Monsanto Co. is using to track down what
     they consider the illegal (but traditional) practice of
     farmers of saving seed for next year's planting.  Monsanto
     is trying to protect their patent and control of their
     genetically engineered "Roundup Ready" seeds that enable the
     reduction of pesticide use and increased production. 
     Farmers' are claiming that pollen from neighboring farms are
     cross-breeding with their plants, and it is not their fault
     that DNA tests come up showing Monsanto origin.  Sidebar:
     Growth in Gene-Altered Crops.   

                 LIVING IN THE INFORMATION AGE

"Internet for the Blind [Notebook]." New York Times, 3 February
99, C26.
     Purdue University offers a low-cost subscription service to
     blind or visually impaired students or their institutions
     which allows them to download thousands of college-level
     course material in mathematics and the sciences.  Once
     downloaded, items are printed on capsule paper, which is
     inserted into a heating machine that transforms images into
     raised Braille characters.  Purdue's electronic library URL
     is www.taevisonline.purdue.edu.


* 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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