BrightSpirit and Daughter Erin, Davenport, WA
Our story is in the fall newsletter from beyond pesticides. I was exposed to penta before and during pregnancy. My daughter, now 18 yrs old, has short term memory problems, reads on the fifth grade level-on a good day, and can't count change. Her life is hard day to day. I believe it is due to the exposure of her developing neurological system in the womb to penta. You are welcome to use our story.
Thanks for your great work,
From: Chrysalis Farm-
One of the Farms at Tolstoy Growers of Organic Produce & Botanicals
Practicing Sustainable Agriculture
33495 Mill Canyon Rd.
Davenport, WA 99122
FAX: (509) 695-6422
BrightSpirit and Erin's Story.....
As a cable TV installer for Cox Cable Company in Spokane, WA, BrightSpirit climbed 10 to 30 utility poles a day. When she began in 1982, at age 18, BrightSpirit was not familiar with the names or hazards of the chemicals that are pumped into the poles that she climbed, but she soon became very familiar with the strong chemical smell that stuck to her clothes and skin. The smell was penta, one of the three most commonly used wood preservatives. Penta is absorbed readily by the lungs, skin and stomach. Workers handling penta treated wood receive the most significant expo-sure first through skin contact and second through the air. According to EPA the risk of cancer faced by people like BrightSpirit, who work with and climb on penta treated poles, is astronomical. For example, EPA has calculated that the people whose job it is to retreat poles in the field with a fresh dose of penta face a risk of cancer that is 3.4 million times higher than acceptable. An-other huge risk comes from the contaminants of penta, dioxins, furans and hexachlorobenzene.
EPA has determined that penta treated wood represents one of the largest reservoirs of dioxins in the environment. BrightSpirit suffered from a consistent rash on her skin during her time as a pole climber. Skin contact with penta is known to cause both contact dermatitis and chloracne. When BrightSpirit realized that she was pregnant, she wisely took a desk job. Studies show that penta accumulates in fatty tissue and breast milk. BrightSpirit’s daughter, Erin, was slow to learn to crawl. As she grew, it became clear that Erin was learning disabled. Now 18 years old, Erin suffers from serious short-term memory problems. She reads on a fifth grade level and simple math causes her stress. BrightSpirit is convinced that her exposure to penta, and dioxins during pregnancy is linked to her daughter’s condition. has noted a large number of respiratory problems in her community. She has also noted elevated incidences of nerve disorders and cancer, both associated with chronic exposure to creosote and the other wood preservatives. Ms. Simpson has discovered that grassroots action can make a difference. A public relations official of the ADEQ told her that the agency would not have become involved without Ms. Simpson’s letter writing and organizing. In her effort to protect the health of her community, she initiated a lawsuit against Koppers. She has also decided to run for Alderman in her ward. One of the planks in her platform is to work towards a cleaner, safer and more prosperous community.
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