NEW YORK, July 19 /PRNewswire/ -- In an effort to counteract the General
Electric Company's multi-million dollar public relations campaign against
dredging the Hudson River, Riverkeeper has launched high-profile
advertisements in New York aimed at focusing public attention on the serious
human health risks associated with exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls, or
One of the advertisements, now displayed on telephone kiosks around
Manhattan, depicts a pregnant woman and her son catching a PCB-contaminated
fish from the Hudson River.
The advertisement graphically illustrates how
PCBs migrate up the food chain, ultimately affecting human health,
particularly that of women and children.
Hudson Riverkeeper Alex Matthiessen said, "GE has spent enormous sums of
money trying to convince the public that PCBs aren't dangerous.
Our ads are
meant to reinforce what the medical community has already confirmed: that PCBs
pose serious health risks to humans -- risks that will continue to plague the
residents of the Hudson Valley so long as GE's PCBs are allowed to poison our
The other advertisement, a billboard which appears on the West Side
Highway at 50th Street, is a challenge to GE CEO Jack Welch to clean up the
toxic chemicals his company wantonly dumped in the Hudson River over a
thirty-year period ending in 1977.
The message, white text over a black
background, reads: "What's More Toxic?
GE's Lies or GE's PCBs?
Dying to Find Out.
Clean up the Hudson, Jack.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Riverkeeper's Chief Prosecuting Attorney said,
"General Electric intentionally dumped PCBs into the Hudson River for thirty
years despite having known since as early as the 1950s that PCBs are highly
toxic and that the company was endangering people's lives.
The science is
clear and the public overwhelmingly supports a cleanup.
It's time for Jack
Welch and GE to take responsibility for the mess they made."
In addition to being known carcinogens, PCBs are linked with developmental
and reproductive abnormalities, endocrine disruption, neurological
dysfunction, and compromised immune systems. The harms associated with PCB
exposure are greatest for the developing fetus and growing child.
PCBs are stored in fat, they often pass from the mother to the fetus during
pregnancy, the most critical period of human development.
PCBs cross the
placenta from mother to baby, and exposure in the womb to chemicals such as
PCBs can produce serious and irreversible injury to the brain.
developing infant, PCBs are passed through breast milk and stored in the
developing child's body.
The long-term consequences of both paths of exposure
include reduced intelligence, slowed learning and impaired reflexes.
Even President Bush, generally skeptical of environmental threats, said
that "concerns over the hazards of PCBs ... are based on solid scientific
These pollutants are linked to developmental defects of cancer
and other grave problems in humans and animals.
The risks are great and the
need for action is clear: We must work to eliminate or at least to severely
restrict the release of these toxins without delay."
From 1947 to 1977, General Electric dumped over 1.3 million pounds of PCBs
from its Hudson Falls and Ft. Edwards capacitor manufacturing facilities into
the Hudson River.
After conducting a ten-year assessment, the EPA concluded
that GE's PCBs continue to pose serious threats to human health and the
environment and that a cleanup is necessary to remove that threat.
December of last year, the agency issued a preliminary decision ordering
General Electric to remediate PCB hotspots in a forty-mile stretch of the
River north of the Federal Dam at Troy. After an extensive public review and
comment period, the EPA is due to issue its final decision regarding the
cleanup in September.
The EPA's cleanup plan has the support of Governor
Pataki, Attorney General Spitzer, nearly the entire Congressional delegation
from New York and New Jersey, and 84% of Hudson Valley residents.
Riverkeeper is a not-for-profit environmental organization that uses law
and science to protect the Hudson River, its tributaries, and the New York
City water supply watershed.
Riverkeeper's ad campaign is part of a larger
effort by Friends of a Clean Hudson, a coalition of national, state and
regional organizations fighting for the restoration of the Hudson River
through the aggressive removal of PCB-contaminated sediments.
comprises: the Appalachian Mountain Club, Arbor Hill Environmental Justice
Corporation, Coast Alliance, Environmental Advocates, Hudson River Sloop
Clearwater, Natural Resources Defense Council, New York Public Interest
Research Group, New York Rivers United, Riverkeeper, Scenic Hudson, Inc.,
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