Jack Says: "We don't believe there are any significant health effects from PCBs." ("GE, Cinergy Map Future For Shareholders," by Mike Boyer, The Cincinnati Enquirer, April 23, 1998 Pg. B14)
THE RECORD: In fact, PCBs are recognized by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and are regulated by the federal government as "probable" carcinogens. New research has provided further evidence of the link between PCBs and malignant melanoma, non-Hodgkins lymphoma and other cancers. Studies also have linked PCBs with non-cancer health effects such as damage to the immune system, development, disease resistance, reproduction, learning and behavior. Some research suggests that PCB's pose a special risk for infants and children.
In April, President Bush discussed the dangers of these persistent chemicals and declared that: " concerns over the hazards of PCBs, DDT and the other toxic chemicals ... are based on solid scientific information. These pollutants are linked to developmental defects of cancer and other grave problems in humans and animals. The risks are great and the need for action is clear: We must work to eliminate or at least to severely restrict the release of these toxins without delay." For more information on the dangers of PCB's visit http://www.ipen.org/lester.htm
Jack Says: ''Let me just tell you, as I tried to tell you in my report, we use sound scientific principles, we move forward and clean up past legal issues and we have no qualms at all about spending the right amount of money to get it done. To throw money at subjects that do not require it makes no sense.'' -- Jack Welch responding to shareholder who wondered why GE simply did not bite the bullet and pay for Hudson cleanup. ("Bottom line is GE must fight it," by Kenneth Arraon, The Times Union,December 10, 2000, p. C1)
THE RECORD: After ten years of study the Hudson River is the most studied superfund site in the country. The scientific studies have been completed. The River is not cleaning itself and the threat to public health is not going away. After a review by five panels of independent experts, the EPA recommended that the river be cleaned up.
Jack Says: "For us, this is not about money. We will spend whatever it takes to do the right thing. This is about fighting for what we believe." -- Jack Welch on how much GE is spending on lobbying and advertising GE is spending to fight the EPA's plan to have GE pay for dredging of a 40-mile stretch of the Hudson River contaminated with PCBs. ("GE Chief Acknowledges Changeover at Annual Meeting," by Russell Grantham, Atlanta Journal and Constitution, April 26, 2001)
THE RECORD: GE is indeed spending millions of dollars to develop arguments against a cleanup of the Hudson River and millions more on public relations to spread that message, but the issue may not be entirely based on principle, as Welch implies. There may be some concern about liability down the road because GE is partially or wholly responsible for at least 78 toxic Superfund sites nationally. A team of 17 high-powered lobbyists is right now working on GE's behalf in Washington to undo the company's liability.