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April 17, 1977 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1977-04-17

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Sundey, April 17, 1977


Peg. Five

. -

Farmers condemn PCP


(Continued from Page 1) of Agriculture showed non-de-
"Everything they (cattle) tectable levels of PBB, while
take in while they're in the other independent laboratories
barn, through eating, drinking, were coming up with measur-
breathing, even rubbing up able amounts. -
against the wood, has it Finally, on Nov. 4, 1976, "We
(PCP)," explains Ellis, "it just sent out a sample from Cow
keeps getting recirculated." No. 249 to test for every other,
conceivable type of chemical,"
"PCP yo et the pret- says Drent. "On Nov. 24, we
roam around free every once got back test results that show-
roa aoun feeevey nc ed high levels of PCP." }
and awhile," he adds.edhglvlsoPC"
Cattle also ingest a good LEMUNYON AND DRENT
amount of the chemical by immediately notified the MDA
gnawing on wood when they ' and Ellis, and consequently
are kept in close quarters. Dr. Jack Moore, a specialist
Researchers have gained most from the National Institute of
of their knowledge about the Environmental Health Services
PCP contamination question in Raleigh, Va., arrived on the
from the problems experienced scene. Exhaustive testing re-
by dairy farmers George Le- vealed that every cow in the
Munyon and Bernard Drent, LeMunyon-Drent herd had ir-
who jointly own a spread out- reversibly high levels of PCP.
side of Cedar Springs. It was They would all have to go to the
here that PCP poisoning first Kalkaska burial site.
surfaced and took its heaviest In response to the LeMunyon-
toll in animal life. Drent catastrophe, 13 other far-
Tb some degree, LeMunyon mers also havirng unexplained
and Drent discovered their PCP livestock health problems (and
problem as a result of their some of whom had had PBB
prior involvement in the PBB contamination) asked the
contamination disaster. The pair MDA's "Phase III" PBB inves-
had lost their original herd of tigation team, headed up by
292 cows to PBB in March of Ellis, to test their ailing herds.
1975, when the animals were By March 9, the blood test re-
taken to the Kalkaska, Mich. suIts were in: seven of the 13
burial site and destroyed. farms had measurable PCP
After burning down their two levels.
PBB-ridden barns and con- It was at this point that the
structing a new one on a dif- MDA, under fire for its hand-
ferent site, they then purchased ling of the PBB affair, took con-
204 cows from western Wiscon- troversial safety measures. On
sin, all young and healthy. March 11, the MDA quarantined
Milk production from the new the seven farms for milk and
herd steadily increased until meat, a move many of the af-
December of 1975, when the fected farmers condemn as pre-
pair's fortunes took a sharp mature.
turn for the worse. PBB-like THE FARMERS COMPLAIN
symptoms began showing up in that the quarantine was put into
some cows and by the middle effect solely on the basis of the
of the month, LeMunyon and blood tests, which they say are
Drent had lost two or three ani- unreliable indicators. They con-
'mals. tend, almost to the man, that
ON THE RECOMMENDA- the MDA should have waited for
TON of their veterinarian, results from tissue tests before
Lawrence Schalk, Drent says, Iordering the quarantine.
"We had all the cows having Ernie Wenkle, a Standish
problems tested for PBB - but farmer believes the quarantine
the results we kept getting back I was "a conclusion before the
for PBB weren't high enough to fact." Says Wenkle: "They
cause the problems we were didn't test any tissue samples.
having." So how do they know if it was
Throughout 1976, LeMunyon PCP or PB3B? We got a low-"
and Drent continued to have level PBB herd."
PBB tests done - with no con- I SAYS DRENT' of the quaran-
clusive results. Confusion de- tine: "Why did they go and
veloped when tests coming back quarantine those fellows when
from the Michigan Department they wasn't even sure of what


it was - except for the blood thing," says Bergeron. "They been with persons working in
tests. If they'd quarantined me say my problems are a combi- factories that produce PCP-
like that, I would have sued 'em nation. They said I had high treated wood. As in animals, the
right off the bat." levels of iodine, lead, arsenic, key to PCP contamination in hu-
Dr. Donald Isleib, deputy di- bacteria - you name it. But mans is prolonged and unreliev-
rector of the MDA, understands I don't believe it. I used to be- ed exposure.
the farmers' position, but does lieve them, but I seen too much The only other known instance
not agree with them. of their work - and I don't be- of serious PCP poisoning occur-
"I know that they feel that lieve them no more," he says. red several years ago in a hos-
we moved too quickly -- how- As for the quarantine, after f pital where PCP was being
ever, it's a matter of judge- finding no poison in milk sam- used as a fungicide. In that
men. Unfortunately, there is no ples, the MDA rescinded its case, PCP apparently got onto
body of research (on PCP toxici- quarantine on milk from the some diapers. Some infants
city in cattle) to guide us on farms about two weeks ago. But, came in contact with the con-
this matter," maintains Isleib, it has kept the meat quarantine taminated diapers and there
"There's no doubt that the se- in effect until 'results from tis- were some severe reactions and
quence is wrong . .. neverthe- sue samples are in. a few deaths.
,tnaO, '.Jnr hltWiR%.sq k cIJUon~ isue

Ictib, uur aus1i1C5b is t;u1niullivi' I

whether the quarantine was in-
stalled too soon, a large sus-
picion about the whole PCP
problem looms in the minds of
some farmers.-
In essence, a few of the farm-
ers feel that the PCP scare was
manufactured by the MDA in
order to improve its PBB-tar-
nished image. According to this
theory, by issuing the quaran-
tine on the farms, the MDA
hopes to present an image of
vigilance on PCP so that its al-
legedly poor handling of the
PBB crisis will slowly fade
from the collective public mem-
"I think there trying to beat
around the bush here - make
themselves look better;" says
Dale Hackenburg, a PCP-quar-
antined farmer in Marcellus.
Hackenburg believes his . cow
health problems are a result of
residual PBB contamination -
something he says the MDA
does not want to admit.
"smokescreen" charge as non-
sense." "We didn't undertake
this thing (the quarantine) light-
ly. This wasn't a lark. We dis-
cussed this quarantine with
Imember of both houses of the
Legislature and invited com-
ment on it from the most quali-
fied scientists we could find in
that short period of time. We
didn't hear a single dissenting
voice," he says.
"I don't think this quarantine
would favorably change any-
one's opinion of the Depart-
{ ment," Isleib continues. "I
know we haven't won any new
friends among the farmers or
their peers. We certainly didn't
invent this (PCP problem) as
a PR thing to improve our im-
Still, the quarantined farmers
view the PCP contamination
through eyes jaundiced by the
MDA's conduct in the PBB
PCP problem to the MDA's
false alarm on iodine in the
midst of the PBB scandal.
"PCP is just like the iodine

are now having a difficult time
getting reimbursed for all the
money they lost while the milk
quarantine was in effect. Just
this week, the U. S. Department
of Agriculture turned down a
request from the MDA asking
for funds to pay back the farm-
The MDA has now turned to
the state legislature to find the
money. Whatever the outcome,
the farmers say they will not
accept the loss, and contend
they will try legal channels if
the legislature does not come
up with the money.
Meanwhile, chemical re-
searchers say they are still in
the investigative phases in de=
termining the effects PCP has
on the health of cattle, and sub-
sequently, humans.

there are three elements in the
PCP contamination problem
which may be causing cattle
health problems. It could be
highly toxic contaminants called
dioxins which are found in most
PCP. It could be the solvent in
which PCP is dissolved in order
to apply it to wood. Or the
chemical PCP itself could be
the culprit.
Investigators are awaiting re-
sults on tissue samples to gain
a clearer idea of where the
problem lies. To date, says Dr.
John Tran, a Michigan State
pathologist involved in the
study, there is only superficial
Id"From a clinical viewnoint,"
says Trap, "there are indica-
tions that PCP is the chemical
involved. The problem is back-
ing up those clinical impres-
sion's with detailed laboratory
data and analysis. It is a diffi-
cult and time-consuming pro-
cess," he says.
ADDS TRAP: "We just don't
know what x-level of PCP in
cattle means."
As for human health, PCP
does have a limited history as.
an hazardous substance. Ac-
cording to Dr. John Ibister of
the Michigan Department of
Public Health, the most toxic
manifestations of PCP have

AS FOR PCP in cattle food
products, however, Ibister says
that only dioxins represent a GtO R
danger to human health. Be- IWV G
cause of this, all dairy products
are safe for human consumption -
because milk, cheese and but-
ter all have no tolerance for
dioxins.h c
As for meat, the verdict is not
yet in on what constitute safe /
levels for dioxins. To a great
extent, whatever is to be found
out about the effects of PCP on
human health rests on what is
found-out about PCP's effect on
In this regard, investigators
are operating in the dark as to
long-range effects of PCP on
cattle. A number of questions I
still need to be answered:
What concentrations of PCP HENNING CARLSEN'S 1966
are harmful to animals? How
should PCP be used? Perhaps
the most perplexing question is
why PCP should become a prob-
lem now, after almost 40 years Per Oscarrson turns in one of the most powerful perform-
on the market.
ances on film in this story of a starving writer in 19th cen-
c SanCStL a Unier oi ystury Olso. Carisen's adaptation of Knut Hamsun's novel
(MSU) Dairy Sciences Depart- is rich in the atmospheric detail of the writer's surround-
ment feels the very familiarity
of PCP has helped to oversha- ings. A Swedish classic.
dow any problems it might
cause. "It's like many other ex- -
amples of chemicals that areAM RC NI P RS
used frequently and in a wide- Tues.rAN.AMERiCAN N PARIS
snread fashion," says Scholl, (
"There's a tendency on the part
of the users to be lulled -toI TNIGKT AT OLD ARCH. AID.
say 'Gee, we've used it so long CIN7EMA GUmsLD , Amson $1.25s(
we can use it any way we
Scholl compared the PCP sit-
uation to that of the chemical
DDT, used extensively as a pes- MARK SA NDR ICH'S 1935
ticide long before its toxic ef-
fects were fully known. ASTAI R E/R DGERSi n
Scholl is involved in a multi-
disciplinary project at MSU FO-L
that is designed as a compre-{FOLLOW THE FLEET
hensive study of PCP's effect on
animal life and the environ- Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers tap dance their way through
ment. Other departments also
pitching in on the project in- another heart-warming musical comedy. All you can do is
clude Animal Sciences, Food sit back and marvel at these two dancing-so who cares
Sciences, Crops and -Soil, Pesti-
cide, Pathology and Forestry. about plot? It's great fun, and inspiring too.
7 & 9 Adm.-$1.25

Why I can't like
Altman films
(Continued from Page 4)
inside it, its creative bankruptcy epitomized by the
stomach-lurching cutesy-poo winks and stares at the
audience by fairy-birdmother Sally Kellerman, impli-
.cating the viewer in some kind of elite insiders "plot"
which was certainly totally unknown to the cast in di-
rector in the first place. (Kellerman is surely the quint
essential Altman touring company representative: her
thespian talents consist solely of smiling dreamily and
mumbling flately, making her the very embodiment of
Altman's walking cadavers).
As Altman progressed into the 70's, his films began
to acquire a complivity and subtleness that could at
least let one appreciate film for film's sake, but how
many viewers could really become involved in Warren
Beatty's desperate but lackadaisical struggle for eco-
nomic freedom amidst the stagnant white of McCabe
and Mrs. Miller? Who could really identify with Elliott
Gould's unlovable parody of Philip Marlowe surround-
ed by his dull suspects in The Long Goodbye? Could
anyone really persevere through the studied distance
of the artsy, murky unoriginal Images (in spite of
Susannah York's incredible performance which outdid
by miles what the film deserved)? Could anyone shed
tears over the cut-rate Bonnie' and Clyde tragedy of
dull Keith Carradine and duller Shelly Duvall in
Thieves Like Us?-
One had hope that Altman had become a bit more
people-oriented with the release of California Split; .
his humane study of the psyche of the compulsive
gambler is the only Altman film I have thoroughly en-
joyed, although perhaps mainly due to the presence of
George Segal, possibly the most dynamic and alive
film actor around. But for all the subsequent laby-
rinthian fascination of Altman's magnum opus, Nash-
ville, his country epic remains at the last a crass and
snobbish putdown of almost everyone depicted there-
in. Disgusting Americana.
Take that, you hicks. Ditto his recent simplistic
mess, Buffalo Bill and the Indians: it's dual theme of
the white man as a genocidic buffoon and the, schizo-
phrenia of showmanship vs. reality are swiftly estab-
lished, and then there's nothing. We're all bastards,
OK. Now what?
One aspect of the Altman paradox stands out most
interestingly: Of the onslaught of his films (ten in
,seven years), all but two M*A*S*H and Nashville have
lost money. Does the general public perhaps sense the
essential deadness that I do, the lack of compassion
that leaves audiences ambivilent even as the critics
praise their idol to the skies with each new release?
The latest chapter in this puzzle will be told next
Saturday, when Altman brings his latest, 3 Women,
with him to Ann Arbor. Predictably, the film is al-
ready the recipient of the usual reviewers raves -
"brilliant," "a new chapter in American conema", etc.,
etc. And yet the usual sinsiterly telling code words are
also present: "isolated", "disaffected", "numb".
I suspect Altman the amoralist has done it again.
In their own way, Hollywood's moguls could hardly
do worse.


"Live" in Ann Ar-bor

APRIL 171819 20
w viti (ari'I 'ircht ill
COVER: 52.010





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