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Poison Papers Project: how US-chemical concerns obscured hazardous chemicals

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Stacks of document files

The Poison Papers include more than 20.000 documents such as studies, reports and testimonies. (Photo © Pexels)

The “Poison Papers”, a US-project by The Bioscience Resource Project and The Center for Media and Democracy, represent over 20,000 rediscovered chemical industry and regulatory agency documents as well as correspondence dating back to the 1920s. Primarily collected by author and activist Carol Van Strum, the documents came from US-American federal agencies and chemical manufacturers due to open records requests and public interest litigation. Regulatory agency sources included in the papers are: the EPA, the USDA Forest Service, the FDA, the Veterans Administration, and the Department of  Defense. Amongst others, Monsanto, Dow, DuPont and Union Carbide as well as commercial testing businesses are chemical manufacturers referenced in the documents.

These papers reveal that industry and regulatory authorities knew about many chemical products’ high toxicity and collaborated in order to withhold this information from the people and public media. Mostly discussed in the papers are pesticides and herbicides (like Dicamba, Permethrin, Agent Orange and Atrazine), PCBs as well as dioxins, while some of these are known to come under the most toxic and persistent chemicals ever.

The Poison Papers Project marks a considerable watershed in the peoples’ view and understanding of the risks and hazards of certain approved chemicals as well as the fraudulent practices of regulatory authorities relied upon and being responsible to protect the environment and human health.


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