by John Jaeger

"All substances are poisons; there is none which is not a poison.  The right dose differentiates a poison and a remedy." - Paraclesus (1493 - 1541) The founder of toxicology, born Phillipus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim

"Toxic" chemicals are so dangerous - so scary.  Just ask Larry and Curly Joe.

Pardon me, Larry Agran and Harvey Liss.  Fear-mongers exploit the public's gullibility and ignorance primarily to make themselves feel important and good.  They have just published yet another *news* letter kicking their dead horse again, (Irvine Community News (sic) and Views, October 31, 2016)  after the DTSC has closed the matter.

November 15, 2016 IUSD Board Meeting

Stephen Berger addressed the School Board and waxed quite indignant over the *dangerous* contamination at Portola High School.  He practically demanded that the School Board guarantee the safety of the public.  Wow, he was mad.  I looked up Stephen Berger and he is evidently the attorney practicing in Irvine, where attorney Larry Agran lives.

Mr. Berger, please read the letter from the authorized and legal experts in the subject.  As an attorney should know, it is as close to the "guarantee" you wanted as you can possibly get.   It was sent to Larry Agran and Curly Joe, and I uploaded it to the link provided below.

It is reprehensible of you to keep trying to instill fear and divisiveness through misinformation.  The time is long overdue for you and Larry and Curly Joe to stop kicking this dead horse.

May, 2017  High school student killed by drinking too much caffeine

Watts held a news conference Monday to discuss the results of an investigation into the death of Davis Allen Cripe, who died April 26, 2017 at Palmetto Health Parkridge Hospital after collapsing in a classroom. 
Davis Allen Cripe 
Watts said Cripe drank a large diet Mountain Dew, a cafe latte from McDonald's and an energy drink in the two-hour period before he collapsed.
"We lost Davis from a totally legal substance," Watts said. He said he determined Cripe died from a caffeine-induced cardiac event.
"It was so much caffeine at the time of his death, that it caused his arrhythmia," he said. 
"These drinks can be very dangerous," Watts said. "I'm telling my friends and family, Don't drink them."
Cripe's father said he was a good son who would never touch alcohol or drugs and he hopes the teen's death will save other lives by showing the dangers of excessive caffeine.


Eight page letter to IUSD Superintendent, stating there will be NO FURTHER ACTION.  All of Larry Agran's and Harvey Liss' political fear-mongering was misguided and misleading.

Now can you two please shut up and go away, after  you publicly apologize to the IUSD Board of Directors, and Superintendent, and Staff, and the public, for wasting everyone's time and many tens of thousands of tax dollars?

Full eight-page letter available here.

Here is how poison some "toxic contaminants" are, compared to.... caffeine, which is in coffee, soft drinks, energy drinks, tea, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and chocolate milk, to name but a few sources.  As dangerous as caffeine is, Vitamin D is much more toxic.

The following bar chart shows how much of each chemical is required to kill half of laboratory rats per kilogram of body mass. 

By far, the most "toxic chemicals" shown on the following graph are caffeine and vitamin D, at far right. 
Both are far more toxic than chlorine gas, which was used with deadly effect in World War I.  The LD50 of chlorine gas is 850 mg/Kg.   Ironically, chlorine is used to purify water, and keep it safe to drink.  Would Larry and Curly Joe ban tap water at Portola High School, since chlorine is far more lethal than diesel fuel?Again, there are no toxic compounds, only toxic levels.

The toxicity of each compound is inversely proportional to its height in the bar graph shown.  Vitamin D is the most toxic, followed by caffeine.  Diesel fuel is less toxic by orders of magnitude.  Coffee and a vitamin, anyone?

The latest hit piece for July 2016, Irvine Community News (sic) & Views, from Larry Agran and Company targets "toxic chemical" benzene.  I compared its LD50 with that of caffeine and vitamin D, which has exactly the same LD50 as cyanide.

Do these spreaders of fear and ignorance propose to ban coffee and milk at every school?  
It is profoundly irresponsible and expensive to continue spreading fear, on the basis of exaggeration and repetition, repetition, repetition.      Trichloroethylene has an LD50 of 7,000 mg/KG, incidentally.  Arsenic is 15 mg/KG, between nicotine and Vitamin D.  

Trichloroethylene is only "slightly toxic," while Vitamin D is "extremely toxic."  Have you had your multivitamin today?

Sea water is so toxic that drinking it exclusively will kill you.   Will Larry and Harvey try to close all beaches, in the name of "public safety"?  How absurd.

Chlorine is used to treat and purify our drinking water.  Chlorine can be poisonous.  It was used to kill thousands of troops in World War I.  But we drink it daily in our own homes, and swim in much higher concentrations in public and private swimming pools.  Larry Agran, Harvey Liss, and the followers they so eagerly bring to every public meeting (to repeat the same points endlessly), lack this perspective, which prevents them from being taken seriously by thinking adults.  Agran and Liss have already cost IUSD and the state of California hundreds of thousands of dollars, paid to test, and retest, and remove soil "in an abundance of caution," or in other words, to try to shut up the NIMBYs.  How many more millions of dollars would be squandered if they were to get their way?  Slightly aromatic soil, thirty feet underground, is no match for the solvents, pesticides, paint thinners, and cleaning chemicals in every garage and underneath every sink.

These two are truly deserving of The Order of the Golden Fleece.

Speedzone Southern LD50  Greater than 2,000 mg/KG

Roundup LD50  5,600 mg/KG

Fusilade LD50 10,000 mg/KG

Pendulum LD50 greater than 5,000 mg/KG

Caffeine LD50 127 mg/KG

Nicotine LD50 50 mg/KG
Farm chemicals handbook 1993, p. C245.

Chlorine gas  LD50 850 mg/KG

April 2, 2016   

Larry the Drama Queen

Larry Agran and Harvey Liss still have not learned what Paracelsus observed in the 1500s.  The latest edition of the Irvine Community News (sic) & Views features a headline hit piece that is vintage Agran.  It was written by his former planning commissioner, Harvey Liss, and attempts to kill Portola High School using scare tactics, divisiveness, and misinformation. These tools enabled Larry and his NIMBY friends to kill El Toro International Airport, but only after three county elections and three different plans.  The result was an ongoing catastrophic implementation of Larry's "vision" which ultimately achieved almost nothing that he promised his followers.

Harvey Liss was the only person who requested public records from the Irvine Unified School District with respect to the small contamination of soil bordering on Portola High School Property until I did so this week.  My purpose in obtaining and studying these records was solely to refute the senseless fear-mongering of Harvey Liss and Larry the Drama Queen, who are trying to make a mountain out of soil that is long gone.    I studied the numerous reports from the perspective of a chemical engineer in the most objective manner possible.  

The breathtaking claims and comments of Mr. Liss  serve no useful purpose other than furthering Larry Agran's self-agrandizing lust for power and control.

Briefly, and in stark contrast to Liss' extended caterwaul:

1.  Liss claimed that "Irvine officials disregard(ed) mounting health and safety risks."  Completely untrue.  Experts were called in and dealt with the contamination.  All the referenced soil was hauled away.  The "danger" is gone.  Facts. Harvey and Larry don't need those things.

2.  "IUSD officials have continued to rush... while concealing important information from the public..." - Harvey Liss  
In fact, Liss was the only person who obtained the available public records until I did so this week, solely in order to refute his nonsense.  The public is properly confident that the work is all proceeding responsibly and with all due precautions, notwithstanding Liss and Larry's senseless fear-mongering..  (The soil is gone!)

3.  Liss repeatedly, excessively used the word "toxic" to frighten the public.  He used the phrase "extraordinary concentrations of diesel."  Petroleum derivatives in and around your own home include: gasoline, motor oil, paint thinner, Vaseline Petroleum Jelly (made in 1870 as it is today, from.... petroleum!) , mineral oil, candles, adhesives, and cosmetics containing microcrystalline wax.  How are you and your family fairing inside our own veritable sea of "toxic contaminants"?  Quite well, I would think.

 The LD50 for caffeine is 200 mg/kg of body mass.  The LD50 for diesel fuel is 70,600 mg/kg of body mass - only 1/353rd as "toxic" as caffeine.   Coffee, anyone?    (For a 100 pound female, the estimated Lethal Dose for half the recipients is approximately one third of an ounce of caffeine.  For diesel fuel, it is half a gallon, straight up.)

4,  This "toxic contamination" was limited to a section 29' by 29', beginning 15' under the surface and extending to 30' below grade.  But wait, it's all gone now.

5.  Only a small percentage of that 29' by 29' area lay within the Portola High School property line.

6.  The Department of Toxic Substances Control for the State of California analyzed all the data and determined that the soil could remain in place, far out of reach of the public.  But the soil was removed nonetheless, as Liss admitted, while repeating "toxic, toxic, toxic."

7.  Liss complained that Portola High would cost much more than any other Irvine high school.
Since the last high school, Northwood, was built in 1998, median real estate prices have more than doubled, including land.  Construction costs have likewise increased if not as rapidly.   Harvey feigns concern over costs of Portola High School, but not the slightest concern for the $250 million squandered all around - money which Larry Agran was "confident" would be privately funded.

8.  Larry weighs in on this IUSD "witch hunt":   "... especially School District officials — Agran said, 'They ignore everyone and everything.' "  There simply is no end to the man's lying and smearing others.  His self-agrandizement is particularly galling in view of his petulance and lack of cooperation with auditors and attorneys conducting the recent audit of the Great Park.

No objective toxicologist, or geologist, or chemical engineer, or IUSD official would have the slightest compunction about their own children attending Portola High School.  

And did you know.... all that "contaminated" "toxic" soil.... it was all hauled away.