By Catherine Wied in Germany:
Germany: No end in sight for Envio toxic pollution scandal
2 April 2011
The scandal surrounding the Dortmund environmental disaster is mounting as further incriminating evidence comes to light.
Industrial capacitors (devices for storing electrical energy) were improperly dismantled and disposed of at the Envio recycling company in Dortmund’s port area. For years, employees of the company—which has since gone into bankruptcy—were contaminated with cancer-inducing toxins such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dioxins.
Blood tests administered last year revealed that 95 percent of Envio workers had PCB contamination exceeding standard levels 8,600-fold, and in the worse cases 25,000-fold. Toxins had also spread into the surroundings, necessitating a ban on the consumption of vegetables in nearby allotments.
The wide-scale contamination of workers and the environment was not only due to the lack of managerial control of a small company, which grew rapidly following financial investment. As documented by the press and other media reports in recent weeks, rather it is the case that Envio’s unscrupulous conduct was aided and concealed by forces operating at the highest governmental, political and business levels.
An unpublished report, commissioned by the environment ministry and revealed in a WDR television broadcast on March 20, concludes that the Arnsberg district administration made serious mistakes in its monitoring duties, allowing the company to continue operating unimpeded for years, despite gross violations and numerous warnings.
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