PBB: Michigan Chemical Plant Dumped Poisons, Impacting Town for Years

"ST. LOUIS, Mich. -- The sun sets through the clouds on a late summer afternoon, and a wind brushes through wildflowers on a 52-acre site wrapped by the Pine River, softening the sounds of children in a playground nearby. But the dead robins that drop in Teri Kniffen's yard around the corner and the signs scattered in town bear the evidence of unseen hazards, an alphabet soup of toxicity."

"They are the result of Michigan Chemical -- the plant responsible for a shipping mix-up in 1973 that set off one of the largest agricultural disasters in U.S. history. Accidentally mixed into cattle feed, the flame-retardant polybrominated biphenyl, or PBB, led to the deaths of tens of thousands of cattle and other farm animals and it ended up on the dinner tables of nine out of 10 Michiganders.

Michigan Chemical closed as a result of the catastrophe in 1977, but only after dumping tons of PBB, as well as the now-banned pesticide DDT and other toxins, at the site and at the nearby Gratiot County Landfill. "

Robin Erb reports for the Detroit Free Press in the second part of a two-part series September 24, 2012.


Part 1: "Decades Later, PBB Contamination Suspected in Illnesses and Deaths"

"Photos: The Aftermath of the PBB Crisis"

"Toxin's Long-Term Effects on Health Still Aren't Clear To Experts"

"Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals" (The Endocrine Society)

PBBs in Michigan FAQ (Michigan Dept. of Community Health)

Source: Detroit Free Press, 09/25/2012