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May 9, 2009

Big Dioxin's Assaults on Smokers and Health Policies

By John Jonik

Based on searches at the site of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, it becomes clear that this prominent supposed health advocate organization is part and parcel of the health-damaging industrial system.

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                          Big Dioxin Leads the War on Tobacco

The Devil Comes Not With Horns, But With a Halo

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, whose fortunes derive from Johnson & Johnson pharmaceuticals, is a top promoter of the seemingly health-concerned anti-tobacco movement.   RWJF and its many funding recipients flood the media, internet, and legislatures with information about the “harms of smoking” to provide often highly questionable, never-scrutinized justification for officials to use to enact even “tougher” laws on smokers and on businesses that dare to tolerate smoking.

Material from RWJF is best treated with deep suspicion, and with serious caveats about the organization's trustworthiness and expertise in health areas.   If RWJF's work in the "anti smoking" crusade is an indication of its work in other areas, we can expect routine lies of commission and omission, corrupted and fraudulent science, scapegoating of victims and natural things, and complicity in helping the general chlorine industry (including Johnson & Johnson) evade massive PR and liability problems regarding chlorine and its by-product, dioxin.

 One can get a good idea of RWJF priorities, its arbitrary nature, and its abysmal lack of thoroughness and integrity simply by using the search feature at its site, rwjf.org,

Love Canal, Times Beach, Agent Orange and other horrors tell us that dioxin is arguably the worst industrial substance ever created.   Even the EPA acknowledged that it is anthropogenic (man made...from industry), comes from industrial chlorine, and is "unlikely in nature" (i.e. not from tobacco plants), and that it is in cigarette smoke... meaning typical Chlorine-Contaminated cigarettes---the ones with the pesticide residues and chlorine-bleached paper.                                                                                            (The EPA forgets all this, its own material, when it addresses Second-Hand Smoke.)   

 The US classifies Dioxin as a Known Human Carcinogen, the worst level, and has joined 150 countries in signing the POPs Treaty to phase dioxin and 11 other worst-of-the-worst industrial pollutants off the earth.
 RWJF cannot help but know about that.  But, if it does not, its incompetence in matters of smoking and health is profound enough to discredit the organization out of any position of credibility in the matter.   The effects this has on medical research and treatment and prevention of exposures cannot help but be harmful, if not fatal.

A search of RWJF's site for "dioxin" produced only one (1) hit...a reference to dioxin in an outside (non-RWJF) piece written by a Healthcare Without Harm representative...who said: "Dioxin is probably the most dangerous human-made chemical with known links to cancer, neurological damage, immune suppression, reproductive problems, diabetes and a whole host of other problems. ...."
    (Perhaps that ought be copied now, before RWJF realizes it's there.)

Dioxin is more than a "link to cancer", it's a cause.  Thanks to callous silence by RWJF and its many funding recipients in the forefront of the "smoking and health" campaign, this carcinogenic substance is still as Legal as Pie in smoke from chlorine-contaminated cigarettes.  No word of specific warning is required or uttered.  Dioxin is also a Promoter of cancer, accelerating the cell damage caused by other carcinogens, industrial and natural alike. There's no worse exposure route than via inhalation…the lungs being supremely efficient organs for distributing dioxin into the bloodstream and then to fatty tissues to bio-accumulate, often fatally. That it is still permitted in smoke from cigarettes is a crime of extraordinary significance.   Is this a crime too big to see, or a crime too big to bust?
 
Picture RWJF knowing about landmines on a beach but, in deference to its partners in the landmine business, it obscenely feigns concern for health by merely pushing and paying for "tough" laws to punish those who ignore warnings about walking on the beach.  Who can oppose laws that are For Our Protection?
That does nothing to get compensation for those who've already been blown up, or who are maimed when they ignore the beach bans, presuming that they were just about dangers of swimming or sunburn.   But that's the point.
   RWJF is the manager and funder of Big Dioxin's Blame-The-Victims Campaign...a deal that protects industrial insurers from both the liabilities and loss of income from insurer investments in those industries...including cigarette manufacturing.
  RWJF unquestioningly accepts and perpetrates the biggest, most basic lie from the notoriously-deceitful cigarette industry...that typical cigarettes are automatically tobacco or just tobacco.  This isn't so much "big tobacco" but "Big Dioxin Dowels". “Big Pesticide Pegs” is catchy, and accurate, too.
 
Virtually all so-called "smoking related" or "tobacco related" diseases are already known to be "linked to" or caused by dioxin...and many if not most of those diseases (fetal damage, endocrine disruption, sperm loss, pregnancy disruption, etc. etc.) are not known to be caused by smoke from any natural plant, even "sinful" tobacco.    No matter...to protect Big Cig and Big Chlorine (et al), RWJF's target remains unqualified and unanalyzed tobacco...the scapegoat.   To even suggest other disease-causing factors is to violate the First Commandment of the anti-tobacco religion: Thou Shalt Not Entertain the Idea of a Safer Cigarette.

  In a Federal court years ago, Judge Osteen (an anti-smoker) tossed out the EPA's material on the harms of Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) as fraudulent.    The EPA was exposed as having cooked the books, excluded "inconvenient" material, pre-determined its conclusions, and cherry-picked evidence.   That same debunked EPA material is still, incredibly, used to justify smoking bans across the country, and the EPA has not yet gotten around to fixing the research problems or even challenging the judge's conclusions.
A RWJF search for "Osteen" or "Judge Osteen" produced no hits.    Compare that to search results for "smoking"...meaning the behavior of those who unwittingly expose themselves to dioxin from the still-legal, unlabeled chlorine contaminants in typical cigarettes.   There's 887 hits for "smoking".     "Tobacco" got 1760 hits. "Contaminated tobacco" got zero hits.    The thought of Organic Tobacco is so far off the table that it’s not even in the room, or the house.

 "Tobacco pesticides" (of which there are about 450 registered for this use) gets zero hits...as if RWJF didn't, at least, know of the GAO report that condemned lax government oversight of residues of just 37 of those pesticides on tobacco.

"Radiation fertilizers" and "PO-210 tobacco" pulled up no hits...despite easily findable information elsewhere about still legal use of radiation-contaminated phosphate fertilizers on tobacco...and widely-reported studies that found that this radiation was responsible for over 90% of upper-respiratory "smoking related" cancers.   Not "radiation-related"?  Not "fertilizer-related"?    They are all "Corrupt-Official-Related."

RWJF purports to have concerns for children...noting its massive funding for "Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids."   Despite thousands of so-called "smoking related" fires each year that kill or injure kids and their parents and firefighters, and burn down their homes, there are no hits for "burn accelerants tobacco" or "burn accelerants cigarettes".  RWJF, like Nero, just fiddles, a pastime that helps drown out the screams.

Let's see if RWJF knows about the many US patents by major cigarette makers for Fake Tobacco, made from all sorts of industrial waste cellulose (none probably being organic or chlorine/pesticide-free)...camouflaged as if it was tobacco...and then sold to consumers without a mention of the nature of the products.  Kids who sneak smokes of this kind are already "tobacco free", an irony that TFK fails to acknowledge.
  Searches for "fake tobacco" and "tobacco substitute material" (the Patent Office term) failed (discounting two hits about "fake" ID used for underage drinking).

RWJF is obsequiously kind to its pretend enemy, the cigarette industry...but its arbitrary "kindness" extends further.
Search of "Gulf War Syndrome", a huge problem affecting untold thousands of US and other veterans of that "war":  No hits.
Search for "Depleted Uranium"...a deadly element of US weaponry that constitutes one of the worst War Crimes, and that affects not only soldiers but anyone and everyone in the areas of use, and downwind.   No hits.
 Search for "Mesothelioma"...an asbestos-specific cancer:..a disease, incidentally, inflicted on those who used Kent (Loews, Lorillard) "Micronite" filter cigarettes years ago.  No hits.                                                                                                                Search for “Agent Orange” got one hit…a mention of Orange, New Jersey.

 The pattern is clear.  RWJF is about "tough" "crackdowns"…draconian penalties, exorbitant fines, prohibitions, revocation of licenses, hiked insurance rates, bodily checks of workers for evidence of smoking, firing of smokers, and ridicule and condemnation of people for their behavior in areas of smoking, drinking, over-eating, etc.    RWJF has no evident concerns for the behavior of criminal corporations that have poisoned our food, water, soils, medicines, tobacco, air, and litanies of consumer products made with chlorine and lead and mercury and whatnot.  (There were zero hits for "ozone hole", incidentally, a skin-cancer-causing problem caused by CFCs…chlorine chemicals in the atmosphere.)

 RWJF blames people, the victims, for causing diseases that are the effects of industrial chemicals, chlorine above all, and other industrial toxins and carcinogens.   Johnson & Johnson, the business part of the partnership with RWJF, makes "Sucralose"...a sweetener made, "naturally", they say, with two chlorine molecules.   Any public indictments of chlorine/dioxin as being perhaps the principle cause of "smoking related" illnesses and deaths would, of course, be a PR disaster for J & J.    Proper revelations about dioxin in cigarette smoke, and all the pesticide residues and radiation and the rest, would turn the smoking ban crusade upside-down, focusing the bans instead, and rightly, on the manufacturers, and suppliers of the deadly cigarette adulterants, and the AWOL public officials who approved it all for the sake of personal income and "sin tax" revenues.    If justice prevailed, proper attention to cigarette adulterants would devastate the multi-billion-dollar J & J businesses that make and sell so many patented nicotine-delivery products that compete with public-domain tobacco.   The anti-tobacco campaign is yet another attempt to remove public anything from competition with the private sector.   How easy that is to do when so many are happy to join RWJF and the chemical cartels in beating up on well-demonized easy targets like smokers…unwitting primary victims though they may be. 

  RWJF is a Dioxin Denier.  Considering the horrific global scope of chlorine and dioxin damages to people, our environment, and wildlife galore, it ranks easily with certain more publicized forms of atrocity deniers.
  Of course, RWJF can't say "dioxin is harmless" or that "studies are inconclusive", etc., because that would expose it to international ridicule and outrage.  So it just doesn't mention it...even to the most vulnerable---children and mothers.

  A tragedy is that there are benign alternatives for all chlorine uses. But chlorine remains the more profitable choice only because the chlorine cartel has been able, so far, to avoid penalties and liabilities for the harms it has caused.  Public officials, sworn and paid to serve the public, many now allied with Big Chlorine in its pretend-wholesome anti-tobacco scam, have given the industry a Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card…printed on chlorine-bleached paper.



Authors Bio:
Long time activist in areas relating to industrial toxics, media content and control, death penalty, Mumia Abu-Jamal, hemp prohibition, civil rights, insurance influence in public governing, religious influence in public governing, unsafe foods, environmental issues, regressive "fees" to replace legitimate taxation, and the scapegoating of "sinful" tobacco for the health harms of industrial toxins, carcinogens and so forth.

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