Over-the-Counter Herbicides Pose a Significant Threat of Soft-Tissue Sarcoma, Leukemia and Lymphoma

By Richard Alexander, Esq.

In October, 1996 CNN reported that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had conducted a test of lawn herbicides and found that after outdoor spraying the level of contamination found INSIDE homes was TEN to ONE HUNDRED times stronger than what was found outside. Brought in on shoes and by pets, the floor and carpet concentrations were readily picked up by children from direct dermal contact as well as orally. In fact the video portion of the story showed four babies crawling on the floor and thoroughly mouthing every toy.

This report is indeed sobering, especially when it is known that one popular herbicide for many years contained high levels of dioxins.

On our webpage is a case report concerning Joe Pickering who died from a soft tissue sarcoma - very rare in a 40 year old - as a result of being exposed to dioxin laced "Weed B Gon" manufactured by Chevron and sold as part of its Ortho line of gardening products. Mr. Pickering, a 38 year old high school teacher, died in 1994. During the early 1970s he was employed by Chevron at its bottling plant in California and was exposed to Weed-B-Gon. The main ingredients of this herbicide during the early 1970s were 2,4 D and 2,4,5 TP.

A search of local homes in the South San Francisco Bay area produced twenty year old cans of Weed-B-Gon that when tested proved to be contaminated with dioxins and furans. Mr. Pickering died of a soft-tissue sarcoma which has been identified in medical literature as being associated with the contaminants found in this common household pesticide.

This is not the first case in which we have found "archived" samples of chemical carcinogens sitting on garage shelves. We successfully used the same protocol in our leukemia cluster in Northern California where we proved that dioxin laced pentachlorophenol was the cause of four leukemia illnesses in employees of a small lumber mill. In that case again the contaminated sample came from twenty year old buckets of Woodlife.

Weed B Gon found on the store shelf today is a much different formulation than what was sold in the past, but the untold story is that Weed B Gon using silvex was sold across the U.S. through 1980 and it was heavily contaminated with dioxins and furans.

Gardeners who regularly used the product and therefore had a chronic exposure are progressing towards a time when soft tissue sacrcomas, leukemia, and Non-Hodgkins Lymphomas, among others, may be presenting. The latency period is on the order of 10 to 20+ years. That's what we learned from the dioxin exposure to the residents of Seveso, Italy.

The sad fact is that many who will suffer from these diseases may never learned that it is because of chronic toxic exposures that occurred years ago.

That silvex is dangerous is confirmed in EPA's file on the product that was the focus of regulatory action beginning in the mid-70s. I have been to EPA and have read most of this file. The industry fought regulation very hard and for many years, but then in the late 70s simply gave up, and EPA banned 2,4,5 TP from public use. Obviously the time and money spent in fighting regulation allowed the manufacturers to clear their warehouses and shelves of 2,4,5 TP and ship all available stock elsewhere.

The public needs to know that the old can of Weed B Gon on the back shelf in the garage may be loaded with dioxins and should never be touched, let alone used.

The public also needs to know that anyone who has used Weed B Gon for years who has been diagnosed with a soft tissue sacrcoma, leukemia, or Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma must take legal action at the earliest possible date in order to avoid having their legal rights barred by the passing of their state's statute of limitations.

Tests are available to determine the nature and extent of a person's exposure to 2,4,5 TP and mass spectroscopy can be used to verify the actual signature of dioxins in the body.

For additional information please search The Alexander Law Page [http://www.alexanderlaw.com] for "dioxin."

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