Time For Action:

The Third Citizens' Conference on Dioxin and Other Synthetic Hormone Disrupters

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

March 15-17, 1996

Why Now?

Because in September, 1995, the US EPA confirmed that:

* Dioxin's non-cancer effects like immune damage, endocrine disruption and reproductive impacts may be even more serious than its cancer-causing effects; * The average person has dioxin tissue levels close to where we would expect to see these effects; * We can't avoid dioxin exposure because we get most of it from our food; and * The highest doses are going to the fetus and the breast-fed infant.

In short, we are all victims of dioxin, with the brunt falling on communities of color and low income. However, rather than address the dioxinproblem at its roots, the paper and chemical industries are spending a fortune to undermine the EPA's findings. Meanwhile, even the well-intentioned at EPA responding to this crisis at the wrong end. They are enacting unenforceable regulations on incinerators, while the production of organochlorines like PVC plastic continues unchecked. If we want to get dioxin out of our food and out of our children's bodies, we have to get industrial uses of chlorine out of the economy. That means tackling corporate power while tying to save jobs. This will require mounting an unprecedented public and media educational campaign.

This conference represents a major effort to bring people together who are concerned about health, food production, 'waste' management, environmental and economic justice, sustainability and community development, the abuse of corporate power and the erosion of our democratic system. Together we have to communicate to the general public that the insidious build-up of dioxins and other endocrine disrupters in our food is as great a threat to life inside our bodies as ozone- destroying CFCs are from the outside; and that both have a common source: the industrial use of chlorine.

The Citizens' Conference on Dioxin was initiated to expose the efforts of industrial and government officials to downplay the dangers of dioxin and related compounds. The previous two conferences (Chapel Hill, NC, September 1991; and St. Louis, MO, July 1994) allowed an exchange of information among the victims of dioxin, activists, scientists, and the general public. We start the third conference believing that we know enough about dioxin TO ACT. That is why we are de-emphasizing presentations so that participants can focus their energies on the designing of strategic campaigns.

No one pretends that getting dioxin out of our food and out of our children's bodies is going to be easy. We now that we are up against huge corporate power, but tackling the misuse of corporate power is what the 21st century is going to be about. This is a good place to start. It's TIME FOR ACTION.

Conference Agenda

FRIDAY, MARCH 15, Afternoon and Evening

3 pm on Registration

4-5:30 Pre-conference "get-up-to-speed" tutorials. Choose one of the following: 1. DIOXIN 101 with Paul Connett and Tom Webster 2. ENDOCRINE DISRUPTERS: WHAT ARE THEY? with Louis Guillette and J. Peter Myers 3. INTERNET FOR ACTIVISTS WHO ARE SCARED OF COMPUTERS with Adam Berrey.


Reception And Welcome To Louisiana And The South.

Mary Lee Orr and Connie Tucker. An introduction to local grassroots battles on dioxin.


KEYNOTE ADDRESS by Louis Guillette: "The Global Significance of Endocrine Disrupters."


A welcome to our international visitors. Jack Weinberg on "POPs: A Global Framework for Eliminating Dioxin Sources."

Saturday, March 16

8 am- on Registration

8:50 - 9 Opening ceremony: Louisiana Native American nation representative

9 - 9:30 Opening address with Lois Gibbs, Paul Connett and Tom Goldtooth

9:30 - 10:30 Panel on Environmental Justice. Nina Laboy (moderator), Michelle Depasse, Tom Goldtooth, Beverly Wright, Torm Nom Praseurt, and Margaret Williams.

10:30 - 10:45 Refreshment break

10:45 - 12:30 First Round of Campaign Strategy Sessions* 1. Getting chlorine out of the pulp/paper industry 2. Getting organochlorines out of manufacturing and cleaning 3. Halting all forms of incineration 4. Phasing out all uses of PVC 5. Creating a scientific SWAT team to help communities 6. Linking dioxin to health 7. Getting dioxin out of our food 8. Developing tools to help poisoned communities 9. Communicating dioxin issues to the public and the media

12:30 - 2 Luncheon and Panel Session: Working with Workers for a Dioxin-Free Future. Charlotte Brody (moderator), Willie Fontenot, Diane Heminway, Richard Moore, Rex Tingle.

2 - 4

Second Round of Campaign Strategy Sessions*

4 - 4:15

Refreshment Break

4:15 - 5:30 Interaction meetings and free time. Networking, Caucuses, "Ongoing Newsletter/communications to keep track of campaigns" meeting. Free massages for weary activists! Video watching ("Assault on the Male," "Dioxin: The Perfect Poison.")

6 - 8

Dinner. "Alternative Visions and Model Solutions" with Elaine Gross, David Morris, Wayne Roberts and Ken Geiser.

8 - 9

The Great Quiz Show: Corporate Spin Doctors vs. Citizens' Truth Squad

9 - midnight Entertainment: Sketches, songs & dances to drive the dioxin menace away and the Chemical Manufacturers Association crazy. Greg Moore will be Master of Ceremonies.

Sunday, March 17


9 - 10:30 Panel: "Challenging Corporate Power." Lois Gibbs (moderator), Richard Healey, Peter Montague, Ron Nixon and John Stauber.

10:30 - 11 Short break to vacate rooms, get luggage, etc.

11 - 12:30 Third Round of Campaign Strategy Sessions*

12:30 -2:30 Luncheon and panel discussion. Each workshop will report back on one highlight of their campaign strategy (the rest of the strategy will be distributed in writing to all the participants.)

Panel: "Reflections and Directions from this Conference." Mary O'Brien (moderator), Barry Commoner, Jackie Warledo, Mildred McClain.

2:30 - 2:45 Closing drum ceremony

*Note = Campaign strategy sessions will be facilitated by seasoned campaigners. It is anticipated that every participant will be actively engaged in shaping the strategies discussed. It is our intention that participants will choose one of the nine strategy sessions and stay with it throughout the conference. If more than one strategy session is of interest to your group, we encourage you to send more than one person.

Note: Wherever we have used "dioxin" in this agenda, it stands for dioxins, furans, PCBs and other synthetic hormone (endocrine) disrupters.

Scholarship Committee

Limited travel and housing scholarships are available. Contact Leslie Byster, Connie Tucker or Jackie Warledo of the Conference Organizing Committee listed below.

Conference Funding* From:

Clearinghouse for Hazardous Waste, Citizens' Conferences on Dioxin, Inc.; Greenpeace; Jenifer Altman Foundation, and conference co-sponsors. (* as of 1/31/95)

Please Take Note:

Many people attending this conference are chemically sensitive. We ask that participants refrain from wearing perfume or aftershave and avoid wearing clothes that have been dry-cleaned. Thanks.

Help reduce water and energy use! Please bring your own coffee/tea mugs.

Travel And Accommodations

The Hilton Hotel. The conference will be held at the Hilton Hotel, 5500 Hilton Avenue, Baton Rouge, LA 70808. 504-924-5000, extension 1084. (Double room has two king-sized beds) They operate a complimentary airport shuttle service (one hour notice necessary).

The Wilson Inn, 3045 Valley Creek Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70808 (Double room has two king-sized beds), 504-923- 3377.

Info on Baton Rouge is available from the Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce: 504-371-7125.

TRAVEL: Marazul Tours of Weehawken, NJ, is the official travel agency for our conference. Please ask for Mayda Gil. They have discounted fares on some carriers to Baton Rouge. They can be reached at 1-800-223-5334 or 201-319-9009, hours 9-5 Eastern. We encourage people to fly directly into Baton Rouge instead of into New Orleans. If it is too expensive to do so, please contact Mary Lee Orr at LEAN (504-928-1315) for details about ground transportation from New Orleans to Baton Rouge which is approximately 1-1/2 hours travel time.

The Conference Organizing Committee

* Charlotte Brody, Citizens Clearinghouse for Hazardous Waste, Falls Church, VA 703-237-2249 * Angela Brown, Youth Task Force, Atlanta, GA,404-892-7601 * Leslie Byster, Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, San Jose, CA, 408-287-6707 * Jackie Hunt Christensen,Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Minneapolis, MN, 612-379-5980 * Gary Cohen, The Learning Alliance, Jamaica Plain, MA, 617-524-6018 * Paul & Ellen Connett, WASTE NOT, Canton, NY, 315-379-9200 * Colleen Cooney, Ontario Coalition to Stop the Burn, Coldwater, Ontario, 705-686-7457 * Charlie Cray, Greenpeace, Chicago, IL, 312-563-6060 * Ken Deal, Vietnam Veterans of America, Woodbridge, NJ, 908-636-9059 * Billie Elmore, NC Waste Awareness & Reduction Network, Sanford, NC,


* Judy Enck, New York Public Interest Research Group, Albany, NY, 518-436-0876 * Willie Fontenot, Louisiana Environmental Action Network, Baton Rouge, LA, 504-342-7900 * Nina Laboy, South Bronx Clean Air Coalition, Bronx, NY 718-365-59071 * Peter Montague & Maria Pellerano, Environmental Research Foundation, Annapolis, MD, 410-263-1584 * Ron Nixon, Institute for Southern Studies, Durham, NC, 919-419-8311 * Mary O'Brien, Environmental Research Foundation, Eugene, OR, 504-485-6886

* Mary Lee Orr, Louisiana Environmental Action Network, Baton Rouge, LA, 504-928-1315 * Florence Robinson, North Baton Rouge Environmental Assn., Baton Rouge, LA, 504-775-0341 * Terri Swearingen, Tri-State Environmental Council. Chester, WV, 304-387-0574 * Connie Tucker, Southern Organizing Committee, Atlanta, GA,404-755-2855 * Jackie Warledo, Indigenous Environmental Network, Tulsa, OK, 918-743-6530 * Jim Warren, NC Waste Awareness & Reduction Network, Durham, NC, 919-490-0747 * Tom Webster, Boston University, School of Public Health, Boston, MA,


Last Day To Register: March 1, 1996

Contact: Citizens Conferences on Dioxin, Inc. 5301 Rolling Hill Road Sanford, NC 37330 (Phone: 919-774-9566; fax: 919-774-7498) Conference related e-mail to: jchristensen@igc.apc.org


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