Getting Rid of America's Chemical Weapons

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VX is one of the most toxic substances ever made; as little as 200 micrograms are said to be fatal.  The nerve agent is part of the arsenal of chemical weapons the US has agreed to destroy by 2012. More than 40% has been hydrolyzed, so diluted with water and other chemicals that the Army says it's effectively neutral.  But that has created millions of gallons of waste to be disposed of.  After officials in New Jersey and Ohio rejected plans to dump the waste in their rivers, it's being trucked out of Indiana 1000 miles through six other states to Port Arthur, Texas, where the toxic residue will be incinerated.  What are the risks to public health? Why did other states turn down the money and jobs a government contract will bring? Was Port Arthur's largely black and Hispanic community notified in advance? How did September 11 accelerate the disposal process?    

 

Credits

Guests:
Oscar Ortiz - Mayor of Port Arthur, Texas, Hilton Kelley - Director of the Community In-Power Development Association, Jesse Barber - Project for the US Army's Chemical Stockpile Elimination Project, Craig Williams - Director of the Chemical Weapons Working Group, Mitch Osborne - General Manager for Veolia Environmental Services' Port Arthur Facility

Host:
Warren Olney

Producers:
Vanessa Romo, Karen Radziner, Christian Bordal