Diamond’s Err Forever
Dioxin-laced Passaic River remains uncleaned by corporations that fouled it
For today’s tale of corporate skullduggery and government negligence, we take you to the lovely state of New Jersey. For almost 20 years beginning in the early ’50s, the Diamond Shamrock Chemicals Co. — manufacturer of pesticides like DDT and Agent Orange — dumped its dioxin-laden waste untreated into the Passaic River, because really, who’s got the time? In 1994, the federal Superfund program ordered Diamond’s corporate successors to clean the river up. Ha ha. Said corporate successors proceeded to finance years of scientific studies arguing that dioxin (one of the most toxic synthetic chemicals ever produced) isn’t that bad after all, and that lots of other companies dirtied the river too. Meanwhile, their corporate lobbyists descended on Washington, spreading cash around. And lo! In 2002, the feds decided a more “holistic” approach was needed, funded not only by Diamond’s descendents but by other companies and taxpayers to boot, and the whole thing should kick off with a decade-long … study. Meanwhile, the dioxin remains in the Passaic, spreading out farther every year.