PCBs never should have been released into our communities and our global environment in massive quantities. But the good news is that communities are taking action to protect themselves -- and all of us! Here are some of the successes in communities across the U.S.A.:
The first PCB Health Congress convened in Fairfield, CT, because that is the location of the global headquarters of the General Electric Corporation -- GE. GE, one of the world's largest and most profitable corporations, is directly responsible for the contamination by PCBs of at least the Hudson River, the largest Superfund site in the United States, of the Housatonic River, and of areas around Rome, Georgia. In addition, GE has been a leader in misleading the public about PCBs, in order to avoid facing its responsibilities. So one of the high points of the Congress was a protest at GE Headquarters during rush hour -- that gave activists from abused communities the chance to confront one of their PCB abusers.
GE is far from the only corporate PCBs abuser. The original site where PCBs were produced, in Anniston, Alabama, is an ugly stain on the history of Monsanto and its successor corporation, Solutia. Westinghouse, now part of CBS, contaminated Bloomington, Indiana, and other sites. PCBs were also used carelessly by many other corporations, and by the U.S. military.
Why are communities so outraged about PCBs? PCBs have serious and long-term effects that can devastate people's lives and our environment in this generation and for generations to come.
A lot can be done. There have been major community victories against PCB polluters and against the government agencies that have resisted taking action to protect public health.
None of these victories came easily. There were many days in each of these communities when people felt despair. But they did not give up. They kept on, and last March they came together, to combine their efforts. They listened to each other's stories and learned even more about PCBs from experts ready to work with them.
As the first PCB Health Congress drew to a close, it was clear that a network had been formed, and connections had been made. A commitment was made to create this website, and there was a re-dedication to an e-mail connection. There was also a commitment to a second PCB Health Congress. We hope you will join us and be part of this continuing story.
PCBs are not just an issue for people in the U.S. They were one of the chemicals dealt with in the Stockholm Treaty of 2001, and activists and scientists from the Arctic to equatorial Africa are taking action on PCB issues.You can learn more at our Global Links page.