In New Book, Wildwood’s Dioxin Past Continues to Inform; A new generation grapples with hard to find truths about region’s toxic history

By Steve Taylor

It’s been decades since the controversial Times Beach, Missouri incinerator was dismantled, but the research of Times Beach Action Group (TBAG) continues to find its way into academic and trade publications.

Many Wildwood residents are too young to remember the infamous Times Beach saga of the 1980s, and the controversial incineration of dioxin and PCB-contaminated waste from 27 Eastern Missouri sites in the 1990s. TBAG’s research surrounding the Eureka-based incinerator is still being used today.

The most recent example is Mitchel Cohen’s new book, The Fight Against Monsanto’s Roundup, available through Simon and Schuster.  Although TBAG did not research Roundup or take a position in the debate surrounding it, the book uses TBAG’s research into PCBs, Dioxin, Agent Orange, Monsanto and the Missouri “dioxin” sites to give historical perspective on the producer of Roundup.

The book details the international debate about the ban of Monsanto’s glyphosphate around the globe, and one chapter includes research gathered by TBAG in the 1990’s surrounding the Eastern Missouri Dioxin Sites.

Photo: 1980s era bumper sticker popular with Times Beach residents and those at other dioxin sites.  Donated to author by last Mayor of Times Beach, Marilyn Liestner

There are several sites within the city limits of Wildwood that were contaminated in the 1970s with toxic waste, including dioxin. One site in particular, the property owned by Russell Bliss, was on the EPA’s National Priority List and is currently the subject of litigation as a potential residential development.  Russell Bliss was the waste hauler who allegedly contaminated hundreds of eastern Missouri sites in the 1970s. Property he owned in Wildwood was “ground zero” of his illicit waste-hauling operation and hundreds if not thousands of barrels of toxic waste were buried there at one time. One of Bliss’ drivers Grover Callahan, also owned property in Wildwood.

Chapter 4 of Cohen’s book notes that, “while Monsanto consistently denied any connection to the incident, the St. Louis-Based Times Beach Action Group (TBAG) uncovered laboratory reports documenting soil samples from the town. ‘From our point of view, Monsanto is at the heart of the problem here in Missouri,’ explained TBAG’s Steve Taylor in a 1998 interview.”

Excerpt from the book

Cohen acknowledges that TBAG provided evidence that the extent of possible sites was larger than recognized, and that the characterization of both the source and nature of the waste was inaccurate and (perhaps purposely) limited in scope. For TBAG, St. Louis’ Monsanto Chemical Company (recently acquired by Bayer) was suspiciously left out of the mix. A more detailed accounting of TBAG’s findings can be found in a Rachel’s Hazardous Waste report available here.

As publicly predicted by TBAG in the late 1990s, more dioxin contaminated sites were eventually found after completion of EPA’s remediation. This led a panicked EPA to threaten a $25,000 a day fine against TBAG until the organization turned over its files to the agency.  TBAG’s evidence was so compelling and the agency’s gaffs so blatant, that a report about the EPA threat was reported in the industry journal Chemical Engineering News, which rarely gives such credence to community organizations.

As Wildwood continues to live with the vestiges of the past, the next generation is now trying to fill in gaps regarding their own toxic past.

A young mother who lived near the Times Beach incinerator in the 1990s recently contacted me.  Her family home near the EPA’s staging area for the incinerator was flooded in 1993. Her family was reportedly told that they could not return because of “contamination.”

Mary (a pseudonym) is troubled by the fact that both she and her sister were recently diagnosed with the same rare form of cancer, which according to her doctors may have been environmentally triggered. Both Mary and her sister are mothers of young children, and both were diagnosed with the same rare cancer within one year of each other.

Mary has discussed her chemical exposure with her health care team, and has been assured that her concerns about environmental exposure are not unwarranted.  She has been researching old media reports, calling scientists, and recently met with me and my wife because of old news stories and editorials that mentioned TBAG. She wanted to know more about the history of dioxin- contamination in eastern Missouri.

I admire Mary’s courage to find out more about what happened decades ago and how it may have affected her health and family.  Some decades ago I also sought the truth regarding the source, nature and extent of Missouri’s dioxin contamination after learning that my family was exposed.

It is troubling to see how little publicly-available technical information exists regarding these sites.  It is disturbing that there was little to no follow medical followup with exposed populations. For my neighborhood, there was none.  Moreover, the day the EPA showed up unannounced and swept my residence in respirators and chemical protection gear, they flat out refused to identify what they were looking for.

Today, the Times Beach Visitor Center has little to say about the nature of dioxin, or any substantial history of the 28 recognized Missouri dioxin sites.  According to the state’s official history, It is a nettlesome footnote best left unread.

Mary has a serious diagnosis and wonders if she will survive this ordeal. But despite her serious health challenges, she is determined to learn the truth and to share it with others. Regardless of what you think about the toxicity of dioxin or other chemicals,  the community has a right to know what they were exposed to, where it came from, and what is still around.

Finding pieces of the puzzle was one of TBAG’s objectives years ago. Given Mary’s tenacity, I am confident she will find a few more pieces of the puzzle for us all.

Some TBAG tidbits can be found at this link.

This post first appeared at Wildwood Matters.

Mitchel Cohen on Book Tour in California to Support “The Fight Against Monsanto’s Roundup” – August Dates

Book Cover Mitchel Cohen Mitchel will speaking at these book events discussing his recent release, “The Fight Against Monsanto’s Roundup: The Politics of Pesticides” (Skyhorse Publishing), in California’s Bay Area and elsewhere from August 3rd to August 17th. You can purchase the book at the events, or if you can’t be there in person or would like to get it in advance, you can find the book at these online outlets and in major bookstores.

Events are listed chronologically, and by location.

Scroll down for events near you!

California Events:

FRESNO, Saturday, Aug. 3rd, 2-5 p.m.:

Benefit for Pacifica radio affiliate KFCF, 2136 East Olympic Ave., (at Copper and Maple) $20 donation. No one turned away for lack of funds.

SEBASTOPOL, Monday, Aug. 5th, 6:30 p.m.:

Benefit for PRESERVE RURAL SONOMA COUNTY, at Sebastopol Grange, 6000 Sebastopol Ave, Sebastopol, CA. $12. Tickets: Limited seating. Register early! Supports Pesticide Action. No one turned away for inability to pay. Contact: 707-789-9664.

UKIAH, Sunday, Aug. 11th, 3 p.m.:

809 Maple Avenue (between Hazel & Live Oak), Ukiah. Free. For details, call 707-391-5853.

SANTA ROSA, Monday, Aug. 12th, 6:30 p.m.:

Santa Rosa Peace and Justice Center, 467 Sebastopol Ave, Santa Rosa (with Sallie Latch and Dennis Bernstein), 707-575-8902.

Events in the Bay Area:

BERKELEY, Wednesday, Aug. 14th, 6:30 p.m.:

Sports Basement, 2727 Milvia Street, Berkeley. Wheelchair accessible. Free. (with Dennis Bernstein and Sallie Latch) For details, call 510-646-5253.

OAKLAND, Friday, Aug. 16th, 7 p.m.:

“The wider context.” E.M. Wolfman Bookstore, 410-13th St., Oakland (with Dennis Bernstein and Sallie Latch). For details, call 510-679-4650

BERKELEY, Saturday, Aug. 17th, 7 p.m.:

Revolution Books, 2444 Durant Ave. at Telegraph, Berkeley. Free. For details, call 510-848-1196.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Please visit for more info on author/editor Mitchel Cohen, the other contributors, chapter excerpts, and praise for the book from Eve Ensler, Vandana Shiva, Bill Ayers, Joel Raskin, Karl Grossman, Silvia Federici, Bertell Ollman and many others.









You can find The Fight Against Monsanto’s Roundup: The Politics of Pesticides at independent bookstores, Barnes & Noble, Amazon and elsewhere. Order online from your independent bookstore here!




THE NEWS, w/Rick Sanchez (link)



Attorney Joel Kupferman (at 3:36:12) and Mitchel Cohen (3:42:23) testify on Glyphosate in city parks

RT AMERICA TV   Watching the Hawks (link)

VIDEO Mitchel Cohen’s opening comments about The Politics of Pesticides on panel at New York University on March 31, 2019.









      • WBAI RADIO (99.5 FM in NY/NJ), “Let Them Talk” with Paul DeRienzo. Interview with Mitchel Cohen and Robin Falk Esser, April 14, 2019.


  • WBAI RADIO (99.5 FM in NY/NJ). Waking Up with Julianna Forlano

Monday May 13, 2019. Interview with Mitchel Cohen, Robin Esser, Jonathan Latham.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019. Interview with Jonathan Latham, author of “Unsafe at Any Dose,” a chapter in the book.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019. Interview with Stephanie Seneff, Ph.D., author of “Glyphosate Acting as a Glycine Analog: Slow Insidious Toxicity,” a chapter in the book looking at the health consequences of Roundup in humans and other animals, and suggesting a mechanism by which these may occur.





You can find The Fight Against Monsanto’s Roundup: The Politics of Pesticides at independent bookstores, Barnes & Noble, Amazon and elsewhere. Order online from your independent bookstore here!


  • CLEARING THE FOG RADIO. Dr. Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, of, interview Mitchel Cohen and Robin Esser. To hear the entire show (covering Venezuela and other important topics) please click here.



  • WBAI RADIO (99.5 FM in NY/NJ). Waking Up with Julianna Forlano

Monday May 13, 2019. Interview with Mitchel Cohen, Robin Esser, Jonathan Latham.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019. Interview with Jonathan Latham, author of “Unsafe at Any Dose,” a chapter in the book.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019. Interview with Stephanie Seneff, Ph.D., author of “Glyphosate Acting as a Glycine Analog: Slow Insidious Toxicity,” a chapter in the book looking at the health consequences of Roundup in humans and other animals, and suggesting a mechanism by which these may occur.



NYC Book Release Event March 31st; Beyond Pesticides National Conference April 5 & 6 Other Authors, Greenwich Village

Spotlighting Six Books on Corporations, Science & Public Health

Author panel discussion and book signing at NYU spotlighting six books on Corporations, Science & Public Health featuring Mitchel, Marion Nestle, Sheldon Krimsky, Mary Holland, and Jonathan H. Marks. Moderated by Mark Crispin Miller. Sunday, March 31st 3 – 5 p.m.

Location: Furman Hall, 245 Sullivan Street at West 3rd Street, near Washington Square Park, NYC

Please Register by sending an email to

at The New York Academy of Medicine
1216 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10029

Register here!

Please view National Pesticide Forum trailerClick to view National Pesticide Forum trailer

This a unique opportunity to share knowledge with those on the cutting edge of pesticide research, meet with effective advocates to talk organizing and policy strategy on protecting people and the environment, and learn from practitioners on implementation of plans for organic management practices without toxic pesticides.

See draft Forum schedule, HERE
For hotel information, see Booking link for the Hotel Wales in New York City
For more information about Friday's Field Trip, see flyer, HERE
Join us for the New York Premiere of Ground War, a documentary.

Partial list of confirmed speakers (see speaker bios)

Joan Dye Gussow, EdD, called the “Matriarch of the Local Food Movement;” nutritionist, educator, writer, gardener; adjunct professor, professor emeritus, former chair, Nutrition Education Program, Teachers College, Columbia University; author of seven books, including This Organic Life: Confessions of a Suburban Homesteader, and Growing, Older; formerly: Food and Nutrition Board, National Academy of Sciences; FDA’s Food Advisory Committee; National Organic Standards Board; Piermont, NY.
Peter Del Tredici, PhD, is an American botanist and author. He is a former senior research scientist at Arnold Arboretum for 35 years and a lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Dr. Del Tredici is the author of the widely acclaimed Wild Urban Plants of the Northeast: A Field Guide (Cornell University Press, 2010).
Jeff Pettis, PhD, former research leader, USDA’s Bee Research Laboratory, groundbreaking researcher on the behavior and chemical ecology of honey bees; principal, Pettis and Associates, LLC; president, Scientific Commission on Bee Health, Apimondia (International Association of Beekeeper Associations); Salisbury, MD.
Virginia Rauh, ScD, deputy director, Center for Children’s Environmental Health, Columbia University; professor, Population and Family Health, Columbia University Medical Center; research on effects of toxic chemicals and conditions on developmental outcomes; New York City, NY.
Maida Galvez, MD, associate professor, Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health and Department of Pediatrics, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; Director, Region 2 Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU); Founding Director, New York State Children’s Environmental Health Center (NYSCEHC); New York, NY.
Routt Reigart, MD, professor emeritus, former director, Division of General Pediatrics, Medical University of South Carolina; co-author, Children’s low-level pesticide exposure and associations with autism and ADHD: A review; co-author, Recognition and Management of Pesticide Poisoning, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); former chair, Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee, EPA; Charleston, SC.

Sarah F Evans, PhD, assistant professor, Environmental Medicine and Public Health, Children’s Environmental Health Center, Institute for Exposomic Research, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY.

Rella Abernathy, PhD, integrated pest management coordinator, City of Boulder, CO.
Caroline Cox, research director, Center for Environmental Health, Oakland, CA.
Paula Dinerstein, Esq, senior counsel, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER); Washington, DC.
Jay Feldman, executive director, Beyond Pesticides; former member, National Organic Standards Board; Washington, DC.
Eric T. Fleisher, a national leader in the field of sustainable horticulture and soil science.
Melinda Hemmelgarn, RD, registered dietitian, investigative nutritionist, advocate; host, nationally syndicated Food Sleuth Radio, Columbia, MO.
Joel Kupferman, Esq, executive director and senior attorney, New York Law and Environmental Justice Project, New York City, NY.
Chip Osborne, president, Osborne Organics, Inc.; chair, Recreation and Parks Commission; Marblehead, MA.
Warren Porter, PhD, professor, Zoology and Environmental Toxicology, University of Wisconsin Madison; Madison, WI.
Urvashi Rangan, PhD, chief science advisor, GRACE Communications Foundation; principal, Rangan Consulting LLC, New York City NY.
Kim Richman, Esq, founding partner, Richman Law Group, Brooklyn, NY.
Ling Tan, founding member, Safe Grow Montgomery; pesticide issue chair, Sierra Club Maryland Chapter; Montgomery County, MD.
Peggy Shepard, executive director, WE ACT for environmental justice, New York, NY.
Patti Wood, founder and executive director, Grassroots Environmental Education; author, The ChildSafe School; Port Washington, NY.


Environmental Law Advocates at Fordham University School of Law, No Spray Coalition, Grassroots Environmental EducationNew York Environmental Law and Justice Project, Friends of Animals, New Yorkers for Pesticide-Free Parks (NYPFP), The Sierra Club NYC Group, Sixth Street Community Center, Food and Water Watch in New York, NYC Grassroots Alliance, Garden of Eve Organic Farm & Market, iEatGreen, Perfect Earth Project, Battery Park City Authority, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, Center for Earth Ethics, Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farms, Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA-NY), Clean Water Action NJ, Green City Force, Newtown Creek Alliance, 350 NYC, Green Inside and Out, and more.


Videos from Previous Forum

Miss out on previous Beyond Pesticide Forums? See Beyond Pesticides’ YouTube page to view speakers, panels, and workshop discussions on a range of critical topics relevant to adverse health and environmental effects of pesticides and strategies for change. Check out our past conferences here.

Purchase your ticket today!

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The Fight Against Monsanto’s Roundup: The Politics of Pesticides – New Book

Written and edited by Mitchel Cohen Foreword by Vandana Shiva

A Comprehensive Look at the Worldwide Battle to Defend Ourselves and Our Environment Against the Peddlers of Chemical Poisons

This may be one of the most important books you read this year. We are being poisoned and this book is sounding a well-informed alarm. 

Read it. Get educated and then join the thousands rising up against those who care more for profit than the health of our bodies and our earth.”

Eve Ensler, New York Times best-selling author of I Am An Emotional Creature: The Secret Life Of Girls Around The World, The Vagina Monologues, and In the Body of the World

Order your copy HERE

To request a review copy or to arrange an interview with the author, please contact: Hector Carosso / (212) 643-6816 x 277 /

Chemical poisons have infiltrated all facets of our lives — housing, agriculture, work places, sidewalks, subways, schools, parks, even the air we breathe. More than half a century since Rachel Carson issued Silent Spring — her call-to-arms against the poisoning of our drinking water, food, animals, air, and the natural environment — The Fight Against Monsanto’s Roundup: The Politics of Pesticides takes a fresh look at the politics underlying the mass use of pesticides and the challenges people around the world are making against Monsanto’s most dangerous creation, glyphosate. The scientists and activists contributing to The Politics of Pesticides, edited by long-time Green activist Mitchel Cohen, explore not only the dangers of glyphosate — better known as “Roundup” — but the campaign which ended with glyphosate declared as a cancer-causing agent. In an age where banned pesticides are simply replaced with newer and more deadly ones, and where corporations such as Monsanto, Bayer, Dow and DuPont scuttle attempts to regulate the products they manufacture, what is the effective, practical, and philosophical framework for banning glyphosate and other pesticides? The Fight Against Monsanto’s Roundup: The Politics of Pesticides explores the best strategies for winning the struggle for healthy foods and a clean environment. It takes lessons from activists who have come before, and offers a new, holistic and radical approach that is essential for defending life on this planet and creating for our kids, and for ourselves, a future worth living in.

Mitchel Cohen coordinates the No Spray Coalition in New York City, which successfully sued the City government over its indiscriminate spraying of toxic pesticides. In 1997, he organized the campaign to rid NYC public schools of milk from cows injected with genetically engineered Bovine Growth Hormone, and in 2001, he ran for Mayor of NYC as one of five Green Party candidates. He was editor of the national newspaper Green Politix, and of the NY State Green Party newspaper. Mitchel edited Red Balloon, the journal of the Red Balloon Collective that he cofounded at SUNY Stony Brook, and chaired WBAI radio’s Local Board. His writings include: The Social Construction of Neurosis, and numerous other pamphlets; What is Direct Action?, a book that draws on personal experiences as well as lessons from Occupy Wall Street; An American in Revolutionary Nicaragua; and two books of poetry, One-Eyed Cat Takes Flight and The Permanent Carnival.

Order your copy here.
Bulk discounts for anti-pesticides and anti-GMO organizations are available. Write to to make arrangement


“The Worldwide Fight Against Monsanto’s Roundup: The Politics of Pesticides” displayed in Barnes & Noble in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
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Listen to:

“The Case Against Monsanto’s Roundup” Book Launch Event February 26th — New Book by Mitchel Cohen

Book Cover Mitchel Cohen
Mitchel and Bongo

From Sixth Street Community Center:

You are invited:
Tuesday, February 26, 2019
6th St. Community Center
6:30 pm!
638 E. 6th St., bet. Ave. B & C
NYC 10009
F train to 2nd Avenue

“The Fight Against Monsanto’s Roundup: The Politics of Pesticides”

Our friend Mitchel Cohen’s new book is out, and Sixth Street Community Center has obtained a bunch of copies at a nice discount — just for you!

Political Comedian and WBAI radio morning show host Julianna Forlano will open with a rap and serve as emcee.

Come hear a panel discussion on the issues covered in the book — AND, come help Mitchel celebrate his 70th birthday.


Pick up your book directly from 6th St. Community Center at the event or find out where you can purchase it here.

The Fight Against Monsanto’s Roundup
The Politics of Pesticides
Written and edited by Mitchel Cohen
Foreword by Vandana Shiva

A Comprehensive Look at the Worldwide Battle to Defend Ourselves and Our Environment Against the Peddlers of Chemical Poisons







from Organic Consumers Association

Keep ‘Em Comin’

In a few weeks, Monsanto will go on trial again. And when it does, the pesticide-maker won’t be able to suppress evidence that the company ghostwrote scientific studies and otherwise tried to influence scientists and regulators in an attempt to hide the potential health risks of its flagship product, Roundup weedkiller.

This week, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria, the federal judge in San Francisco overseeing 620 cases involving Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller and cancer victims, ruled that the evidence could be introduced in the upcoming trial. According to a Reuters report, Chhabria said the documents were “super relevant.”

Chhabria’s ruling almost guarantees that the documents in question will play a role when, on February 25, a jury in San Francisco Federal Court, begins hearing the case of Edwin Hardeman vs. Monsanto. Hardeman alleges that Roundup caused his non-Hodgkin lymphoma cancer.

This latest ruling is just one more piece of bad news to come Monsanto’s way in recent weeks. Read the Organic Consumers’ Association blog post to learn more.

Read ‘And the Hits Just Keep Coming: More Bad News for Monsanto’

Photo: Gustave Deghilage via Flickr