Ground Contamination Destroyed a Family's Dream

One family's experience with PCB contamination on their small homestead.

| September/October 1976


The Nehrig family on their small homestead.


We've all heard the story. "There's no need for restrictive regulations, " say the makers of toxic food additives, herbicides, pesticides, and industrial chemicals. "We can police ourselves. Just give us a chance. " And so Red Dye No. 2 stays on the market, defoliants like 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D remain in use, and highly poisonous chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB 's) continue to be dumped into water-ways and sewer lines by companies like General Electric and Westinghouse. Meanwhile, government agencieshampered by poorly written (or non-existent) lawsare powerless, so they say, to act.  

Which means thatat this stage of the game, at leastif people are to be protected from poisons in their daily lives,people must protect themselves ... by not eating processed foods, by not using herbicides and pesticides, and by living in a part of the country where the air and soil and water are not tainted by pollutants. But are there any such areas left?  

Ron and Sara Nehrig moved to Bloomington, Indiana three years ago to live what they thought would be healthful, protected lives. On a small farmstead, the Nehrigs raised most of their own food, built up the soil without chemicals, anduntil not long agolived the life they'd planned. But then something happened to change their lives ... something frightening. Something that could just as easily have happened to you.  

This is the Nehrigs'story.  

For the last three years, Sara and I and our three-year-old daughter, Rachel, have lived on a tiny farmstead outside the city of Bloomington, Indiana. We own three and a half acres and lease (in return for milk from our cow, Blossom) two additional acres from a neighbor.

We've been awfully busy these past three years. Busy putting up fencing, planting trees, erecting a log home building a chickenhouse and a cowshed, and doing the jillion other things that have to be done when you start a homestead from the ground up.

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