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Oregon's Toxic Waste Dump: Portland's Willamette RiverDr. Phil Leveque Salem-News.com
Prior to becoming a Salem-News.com writer, Dr. Phillip Leveque spent his life as a Combat Infantryman in WWII, Professor of Pharmacology, Forensic Toxicologist and Osteopathic Physician.
(MOLALLA, Ore.) - On Feb. 13, 2009 The Oregonian published a wake-up call article on the very dangerous industrial pollutants in the river.
Their emphasis was on the polychlorinated Biphenyls which was just one of some highly toxic substances. They also mentioned heavy metals (like lead and mercury), Dioxins (some of the most lethally dangerous chemicals ever produced by man), pesticides, like Pentachlophenol and 2-4-Dichloro Phenoxy Acetic Acid (2-4-D) and the fire retardant (Poly Brominated Biphenyls (PBBs)) which are really toxic (more about them later).
They also referred, in passing, that lower downstream was a severely toxic section of river. That should have been included in the story!
In the river just below the University of Portland was a company which treated railroad ties and power poles with Pentachlorophenol which is very toxic. It also contains Dioxins which are extremely toxic (remember Agent Orange, etc – very toxic).
Across the river from U of Portland was a factory which made weed killers such as 2-4-D etc which also contained very toxic Dioxins. One of the really strange things about that factory was that the whole area around the place was severely contaminated with a toxic waste dump leaching into the river.
That company had to find a place to dump its toxic waste. They found it on the border between Multnomah & Clackamas County between Boring and Damascus at the head waters of Kelly Creek which dumps into Johnson Creek which dumps into the Willamette River.
They sent toxic waste in 55 gallon drums which rusted through by the hundreds in trucks and semi-trailers. The EPA and DEQ were informed of this but they were located in Multnomah County and the dump was in Clackamas County which had no protective laws.
A canyon there at the head waters of Kelly Creek still has toxic liquid and fumes bubbling into Kelly Creek.
About PBBS: somehow it was “accidentally” spread on some dairy farms in Wisconsin. Thousands of cows ate it and got poisoned but PBBS got into their milk. Hundreds were slaughtered for meat. Millions of chickens were affected and died or were killed, and about 500 farms were permanently quarantined with no access permitted EVER AGAIN.
PCBs have about the same toxicity. The mud at the bottom of the river cannot be removed to some other place. Bottom fish such as sturgeon eat this PCB mud and it even goes to the ocean where crabs, clams and oysters eat it and when marine fish and animals and birds eat it it eventually gets on our tables and into us.
The Southwest Waterfront area is where Zidell Company dismantled navy ships with PBBs, asbestos, heavy metals and lots of other toxic junk was dragged out of ships and spilled all over the ground. That area can also be called a toxic waste dump. It also leaches into the river.
Scientists/Toxicologists have known for decades that Chlorinated Organic Compounds were/are extremely dangerous. Who ever thought that a weed killer – 2-4-D – could kill a human?
Got a question or comment for Dr. Leveque?
Email him: Newsroom@Salem-News.com
More information on the history of Dr. Leveque can be found in his book, General Patton's Dogface Soldier of WWII about his own experiences "from a foxhole".
If you are a World War II history buff, you don't want to miss it.
Watch for more streaming video question and answer segments about medical marijuana with Bonnie King and Dr. Phil Leveque.
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