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Saturday, August 25, 2007


"They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
 —Benjamin Franklin, 1759

great words

"Without justice, there can be no peace. He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it…. Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter…"
- Martin Luther King

Friday, August 24, 2007

Lord Voldemort Lives.... shhh!!!!

In the Harry Potter books, you can't say "Voldemort" (Lord Voldemort ? (shhh! Don't say that name). Here, you can't say "Asarco". I went to a Sunland Park City Council meeting where Dulan (now head of their border health) talked about his metals-testing for a long time. He never mentioned this "source" he was talking about. He said that the Mountain protected Sunland Park from "the source" (this isn't exactly true). So I asked him what the name of the source was. He said that he had been told not to name it. (shhhhh!!!)

Wow, 2001 UTEP Professor.... looking for Lead (Pb) in pottery and candy wrappers....

the trail continues today (2007) with Asarco and the EPA "suddenly" finding lead from the smelter in Anapra (they've known since 1982...).... now, what about the toxic waste? Eh? What toxic waste?.... that must come from cars and candy wrappers.

(click on image to see a readable copy)

Science News reports that Bones regulate Blood Sugar -- new hormone discovered in bone building cells (osteoplasts)

Science News (8/11/07) reports that Bones regulate Blood Sugar via a new hormone discovered in bone building cells (osteoplasts) --- so anything that interferes with these bone cells functioning properly will also affect our blood sugar levels!!

The hormone is called Osteocalcin and good levels of it are needed to help produce the beta cells in the pancreas that produce extra insulin.

This is an amazing discovery because we have a tremendous amount of diabetes here in this region around Asarco. My own question is whether or not the heavy metals, chemicals and radioactive particles from the smelting could damage bones and affect blood sugar levels. We may never know because Industry has such a dampening effect on finding things like this -- kind of like how the chemical industry helped back the IEUBK lead exposure model that says your exposure to chemicals is less because you spend time inside -- but it never took into account swamp coolers (swamp coolers equalize dust inside and outside the house). Or how everyone talks about how Lead (Pb) around here comes from cars and lead-glazed mexican pottery and candy wrappers, but ignores the largest custom smelter in the world sitting right next to the University.

Exposure to alpha radiation linked to high levels of myelodysplastic syndrome (leukemia), cancers, and liver cancer


"We studied the alpha-radiation risks in patients who received injections of Thorotrast, an X-ray contrast medium used in Europe, Japan, and the United States from 1930 to 1955. Thorotrast was composed of thorium dioxide (ThO2) and Th-232, a naturally occurring radionuclide. Because the physical half-life of ThO2 is 14 billion years and Thorotrast is hardly eliminated from the body, tissues in which it was deposited are irradiated by alpha-radiation for the entire lifetime of the subject. ....Among blood neoplasms with a higher incidence of increase than the general population, erythroleukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome were remarkable. ...
J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol.2001;20(4):311-5.
Alpha-particle carcinogenesis in Thorotrast patients: epidemiology, dosimetry, pathology, and molecular analysis.
Ishikawa Y, Wada I, Fukumoto M. Department of Pathology, The Cancer Institute, Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research, Tokyo.

Saturday August 25 10 am (gather at 9 am!)

Acute Myelogenous Leukemia and Asarco

On September 8'th at 12:30 PM there will be a Benefit show (bands, car show, belly dancers) for Joel Nevarez (nickname "Hollywood") a lower-valley young man who needs a bone marrow transplant for AML (Acute Myelogenous Leukemia). Please think about going. He is about 25 years old. Joel would have been about 5 or 7 years old when Asarco El Paso began the illegal hidden toxic waste burning. He would have been 13 years old when the smelter was in full swing of the burning and the plume traveled down the lower valley. By the time the smelter closed in '99 and Joel was around 17 years old and his bones tried to grow, his tissues likely were loaded with the toxins. We can't be sure yet what causes this rare disease but now we have two cases of this here. Please let us know if you know of any more cases. He is awaiting a bone marrow transplant (the last stages of the disease) at the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland.

Asarco worker, Danny Arellano, a young father who worked at the Acid Plant during the Toxic Waste burning in the 1990's, suffers from myelodysplastic syndrome. Wikipedia describes this as "preleukemia" that has a varying risk of transformation to acute myelogenous leukemia."

(click on the image to enlarge it on a new screen!)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Nice to get the press for this blog and the toxic waste burning, but the 633-5412 phone is ACORN and that is a separate group from this blog (see the links to "takedownasarco"). We have a similar goal in that we want the smelter to stay closed.

Acorn, GTLO Aug-25'th event

Grupo Mexico and Carlyle Group

"Grupo Mexico’s board of directors now includes directors of Kimberly Clark Mexico (the family business of U.S. Congressman James Sensenbrenner, author of last year’s anti-immigrant bill HR 4437) and the Carlyle Group (whose board included former President George Bush Sr.) In the 1990s, Grupo Mexico’s mushrooming capital gave it the resources to buy one of the oldest and largest mining companies in the United States, American Smelting and Refining Co." (8/11/06)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Justice is always in Jeopardy... Walt Whitman

"...Judging from the main portions of the history of the world, so far, justice is always in Jeopardy, peace walks amid hourly pitfalls, and of slavery, misery, meanness, the craft of tyrants and the credulity of the populace, in some of their protean forms, no voice can at any time say. They are not. The clouds break a little, and the sun shines out -- but soon and certain the lowering darkness falls again, as if to last forever. Yet is there an immortal courage and prophecy in every sane soul that cannot, must not, under any circumstances, capitulate...."

from the words of the poet, Walt Whitman, written in 1888 -- the decade that Asarco first started smelting here on the Rio Grande pass where two nations and several states meet -- when the river ran clean, fish swam in the waters, orchards grew downriver and people built TB sanatoriums here to recover in the clean air.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Question: how many people, from how many states in the USA, are needed to change six inches of dirt in one contaminated Anapra yard?

Anapra Clean-up cont.

2003 EPA Handbook recommended removing at least a foot of dirt... in Anapra they are removing 2 to 6 inches

"Based on Agency experience, it is strongly recommended that a minimum of twelve (12) inches of clean soil be used to establish an adequate barrier from contaminated soil in a residential yard for the protection of human health. Cover soil can either be placed after excavation as backfill or placed on top of the contaminated yard soil. The rationale for establishing a minimum cover thickness of 12 inches is that the top 12 inches of soil in a residential yard can be considered to be available for direct human contact. With the exception of gardening, the typical activities of children and adults in residential properties do not extend below a 12-inch depth. Thus, placement of a barrier of at least 12 inches of clean soil will generally prevent direct human contact and exposure to contaminated soil left at depth.....

Twenty-four (24) inches of clean soil cover is generally considered to be adequate for gardening areas; however, site specific conditions that may require more soil cover (e.g., presence of burrowing animals) should be considered. A 24-inch barrier normally is necessary to prevent contact of contaminated soil at depth with plant roots, root vegetables, and clean soil that is mixed via deep rototilling. Raised garden beds may be built to obtain 24 inches of clean soil, and may be more cost effective than excavating to 24 inches in depth, e.g., excavate 12 inches of contaminated soil, then add 24 inches of soil to create a 12" raised bed."

from: "Superfund Lead-Contaminated Residential Sites Handbook Final: August 2003 Prepared by the Environmental Protection Agency Lead Sites Workgroup (LSW) "

Soil removal in Colorado (soil removal is generally deeper in desert climates, since root zone is deeper)

"....soils remedy called for removal and replacement of the top 12 inches of soil, and
18 inches in vegetable garden soils,
where metals concentrations exceed 73 parts per million
(ppm) cadmium, 500 ppm lead or 70 ppm arsenic. ...."

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division
Five-Year Review Asarco Globe Site Denver, Colorado

Where's Waldo?

Looking for the EPA supervisors at the Anapra "clean up" site is like
looking for Waldo in the "Where's Waldo?" books....

How they cleaned up Lead (Pb) in Utah....

"Type of Cleanup Utilized: In July 1992, surface soil screening samples were collected to identify the perimeter
of the high lead contamination areas. This was known as Phase I. Between November 1992 and March 1993,
Phase II required the collection of soil samples, in addition to dust, tap water, and paint samples from the interior
of residences. Removal in 1994 occurred for all properties with surface soil lead concentrations greater than 4000
Contaminated soil was removed and taken to an industrial landfill or other acceptable disposal facilities.
Cleanup levels for this action consisted of excavating soil to a depth of eighteen inches or to depths where lead
contamination levels were less than 800 ppm. Some excavation included the demolition of small structures and
the removal of trees and shrubbery, which were then tested for residual lead contamination. The debris was then,
if applicable, disposed of in a construction or municipal landfill. Dust control and hazardous materials release
controls were established for stockpiles of contaminated materials during the removal, including air monitoring for
releases of hazardous substances during removal operations. Clean soil was brought in to replace the removed
soil, and the site was returned to its original grade. All areas which were excavated or regraded were contoured to
assist in drainage, which was directed away from the foundations of houses and buildings. Irrigation ditches were
replaced in the same configuration as they were originally found and constructed of compacted clay to prevent
erosion. Residential sprinkler systems were also replaced."
from: CERCLA IMMINENT HAZARD MINING AND MINERAL PROCESSING FACILITIES Office of Solid Waste U.S. Environmental Protection Agency February 1997

"clean-up" of Anapra (where are the EPA?)

Anapra "clean-up"?

Another telling of the Tale: The Emperor's new Clothes

(The emperor and his court tell us what to believe, and despite what we know, we play along and say, "there is no toxic waste"... and "doesn't our region look so cleaned-up?")


ASARCO cleaning up in Anapra : ANAPRA, N.M. - Residents in the Anapra area are waking up to some cleaner yards because ASARCO has begun cleaning up lead and arsenic contamination. ....... As far as what is being cleaned up, ASARCO released this statement: "The clean up is being conducted under the direct supervision of the EPA. The material being removed and disposed of is not classified as hazardous waste and scientific studies show that there is not an imminent health impact to the community.".......

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Utah Miners, and our smelter cemetery ... we must never forget

Amarillo article about ASARCO refinery

Becoming refined
Process begins at city's Asarco plant
By Jim McBride

Jingle a few coins in your pocket and pull out one of those fancy new state quarters from the U.S. Mint.

The copper inside probably came from Asarco's Amarillo copper refinery.

The refining process begins with anodes - 2-inch-thick slabs of nearly pure copper about 3 feet wide and 3½ feet tall - that are shipped from an Asarco smelter in Arizona. [suddenly there is plenty of copper and plenty of smelters to keep Amarillo at good-production. What happened to the reasons to close Asarco El Paso down? El Paso's closure was supposed to have meant that Amarillo couldn't get enough copper. Now, eight years after Amarillo, El Paso, Helena, TN and Corpus Christi were hit with the multi-media consent decree for their deliberate profit-making burning of untracked toxic wastes... suddenly Amarillo is back in full production. El Paso was supposed to only be closed 3 years. The streets in El Paso were supposed to be paved for six years. What happened here? WHY SHUT DOWN A SMELTER AFTER TOXIC WASTE WAS BURNED?

What have they not told us??!?]