Ms. Barbara Wood
1428 Wayland Drive
Columbus, Ohio 43207-3357
Mr. Jim Hannan, Chief Executive Officer
133 Peachtree Street, N.E.
Atlanta GA 30303
I am taking this opportunity to write to you regarding a matter that is of grave concern to me. I have been a resident of the Marion-Franklin area since 1968, a period of forty years and I am now part of a dwindling senior community. As with the passage of time in any progressive industrial society, many significant positive changes have occurred within my community but this change has not been without some negative challenges. The residential areas of our neighborhood are hemmed in by several industrial sites including the Georgia-Pacific plant at 1975 Watkins Road which is located within walking distance of less than a mile from my home. Of course, as the crow flies, it is practically in my backyard!
The unhealthy environmental climate created by the pollution has resulted in compellingly significant damage to health and property within the neighborhood. On a personal note, following the explosion in 1997, my home received substantial structural damage; my back yard was blighted, in that a fruit tree and pine trees withered and subsequently died. The plants in the vegetable garden were covered with patches of grayish and white nodules making them totally inedible. Most tragic for me however was the untimely death of my two dogs due to cancer of the spleen and multiple myeloma respectively; this was attributed to their constant exposure to toxic agents in my backyard. Conclusive comparisons were made with their siblings that lived in other areas and were not similarly affected. Regarding my personal health staus, after several years of untoward symptoms, a confirmed diagnosis of bronchiectasis, an irreversible chronic dilation of the bronchial tubes was made in 2001. This is a severe respiratory disorder which is caused by, among other things, inhaling toxic substances such as noxious fumes, gases and injurious dust that injure the bronchi and result in an infiltrative lung disease. Unfortunately, this is my legacy, as there is no cure for bronchiectasis! My medical treatment is directed against eradicating infections and reducing complications. In addition to being subjected to daily medications, I am now compelled to wear a mask when working outdoors. The alternatives are not open for consideration!
Mr. Hannan, I hope that the preceding paragraphs will serve to convey to you why I find it extremely necessary and urgent to write to you, not only on my behalf, but also in the interest of innumerable area residents who are suffering from a variety of diseases. The Columbus Health Department statistical record states that the zip code designations of 43205, 43206 and 43207 have the highest mortality and morbidity rates in the City of Columbus and its annexes due to carcinogenic agents and respiratory disorders in these areas. Mr. Hannan I want to make it abundantly clear that I, and some factions of my community, are not assigning blame to Georgia-Pacific for all the environmental pollution in our area. However, the fact that chemicals have been dumped into a two millon gallon waste pit since 1979 that is reported to be highly toxic should leave no doubt that some culpability for our predicament lies within the scope of your operation. Columbus area residents and neighbors have sent 15,850 (fifteen thousand eight hundred and fifty) to Mr. David Mason, Jr., manager of the Columbus plant asking him to close the pit. 1,100 (eleven hundred) neighbors in and outside of Columbus have also put up blue and white yard signs saying "Georgia-Pacific Close The Pit".