Hilda I. Green, Alvin and Hilda Green PBB Collection, 1972-1993, 2022, and undated
Using These Materials
- Hilda I. Green, Alvin and Hilda Green PBB Collection is open for research.
- Green, Hilda I.
- This collection consists of records generated by and collected by Hilda I. Green and the PBB Action Committee of Reed City, Michigan, concerning PBB contamination and poisoning in Michigan and its impact on the Green family.
- 3 cubic feet (in 3 boxes)
- Collection processed and finding aid created by Marian Matyn
- Scope and Content:
This collection consists of records generated by and collected by Hilda I. Green and the PBB Action Committee of Reed City, Michigan, concerning PBB contamination and poisoning in Michigan and its impact on the Green family. The collection is organized alphabetically by topic and then chronologically. Most of the collection consists of photocopies. The collection includes Green family medical records; herd, farm equipment and meat and dairy test results and forms; letters; court records, transcriptions of hearing testimony, and drafts of a book by Hilda I. Green. Records generated or collected by her and other members of the PBB Action Committee include: published scientific reports and journal articles, unpublished research papers, news clippings, white papers, and government bills and acts; correspondence with politicians, including President Gerald Ford’s office, Governor William Milliken, and Congressmen, officials in the Michigan Farm Bureau Services, the Michigan Departments of Agriculture and Public Health, scientists, physicians and hospitals, laboratories and research facilities, members of the public, and other Michiganders whose families and farms were poisoned by PBB including some medical records or health information; Committee published newsletters, press announcements and articles, forms, and handouts, and petitions supporting legislation to support farmers and more strongly control toxic substances in food products; transcriptions of testimony in trials and multiple special committee hearings; documentation of Michiganders’ purchases of meat and dairy products from multiple Michigan stores via receipts, Committee forms, and test results; partial records and exhibits from cases in multiple Michigan and federal courts.
Allergy Reminder: Parts of the collection have a mildew odor. Researchers with allergies should exercise caution when using the collection.
Court case materials and exhibits (with numbers) in the collection include: Michigan (MI). Circuit Court, Barry County, Floyd E. and Betty J. Jones v. MCC File # 76-232, 1978; MI. Circuit Court, Lake County, Alvin Green et al v. MCC # 76-815-NP, case dismissed August 7, 1979; MI. Circuit Court, Missaukee County, FBS v. Northwest Industries # 74-000530 NZ, 1974-1975; MI. Circuit Court, Newaygo County, Springstead and Jaunese v. Greer and Greer, P.C. # 79-4718-CK, 1980; MI. Circuit Court, Wexford County, Tacoma v. MCC # 76-2933-NZ, 1979; US. Bankruptcy Court for Eastern District MI Tort Cases #82-00651-W, 84-01478.G; US. District Court, Eastern District, US v. Velsicol, Touzeau, and Thorne, MI Criminal No # 79-8070 concealment and conspiracy to defraud government; US. District Court, Eastern District, MI, Northern Division, FBS Chapter 11 Bankruptcy # 82-00651-W; US. District Court, Western District, MI District, S. Division, FBS v. New Hampshire Insurance Co., #G74-372-CAS, 1982; and US. District Court, Western District, SE Division #G7 696 CA, 1966.
Medical records or documentation in the collection:
There is documentation of physical and mental health records for Alvin, Hilda, Doug, Cheroyl, Jederic, and Jim Green in the collection. Of these, in 2022, only Jederic and Jim Green are alive. Jim and Jederic completed permission forms allowing their health records to remain in the collection and be available to the public. Jim and Sallyann completed permission forms allowing health record of their deceased family members to remain in the collection and be available to the public. These forms are found in the relevant folders and noted on the folder labels.
Medical and health issues of the Green, Creighton, and Babett families, as well as other Michiganders, including their children, are publicly discussed and documented in public court cases, hearings, and special committee testimonies and newspaper clippings.
Related collections in the Clarke and other archives:
Researchers may also be interested in other collections in the Clarke that document the MI PBB catastrophe. Additionally, researchers may be interested in related PBB materials in the following collections of the State Archives collections: RG 2017-6 (Department of Agriculture), RG 93-39 (Department of Natural Resources), RG 92-60 (Attorney General), RG 91-412 (Attorney General) and RG 95-94 (Attorney General). The Department of Agriculture was in charge of killing the livestock, and the DNR buried the livestock. The records of Governor Milliken housed mainly in the Bentley Historical Library and in the State Archives may also be of interest.
Overall the collection is in good condition, although some of it has a mildew odor. A majority of the collection originally consisted of poor-quality photocopies made using various techniques. Copies made via thermal heat process, materials with rust or mildew damage, faded materials, health records, and newspaper clippings were prioritized for photocopying. The originals and duplicates were withdrawn and the more current, better-quality copies were retained in the collection.
Only a few of Alvin’s medical records had social security numbers in them. The numbers were blackened with a magic marker and then a photocopy was made of the page. The original was shredded and the copy was retained in the collection.
While some of the publications are national in range, such as the Farm bills, or available online, they were retained to show the breadth and depth of materials that the Greens collected for reference on the topic of PBB and related chemical contamination. Often the Greens retained only a page or two of a resource.
Originally the collection included a few examples of medical records and/or letters in which people discussed their medical issues related to PBB exposure. These people were not members of the Green family and either their identity or contact information could not be verified. These materials were shredded.
During processing 1.25 cubic foot of materials was withdrawn. Withdrawn materials consisted mostly of acidic materials, largely newspaper clippings, which were photocopied and the copies retained.
- Biographical / Historical:
Hilda I. Loucks (September 18, 1922-October 24, 2016) married Alvin G. Green (August 4, 1917-October 18, 2002) on October 10, 1938. Together they had four children: Douglas Wesley (October 19, 1939-April 14, 2011) who married Donna Mae Smith (born in 1938) with whom he had four children: Julie Foot, John, Jack and James (born 1960); SallyAnn (Mrs. Jederic A. Anderson) (born 1942-); Cheroyl Elaine (Mrs. Norman R. Karns) (December 17, 1945-October 1, 1996); and Gerald Alvin (September 16, 1946-April 3, 2010).
During their thirty-seven years of married life together, Hilda and Alvin worked hard to build a fine herd of dairy cows in Chase, Michigan, with their son, Doug, and his wife, Donna. Their herd and livelihood were destroyed by PBB, which also negatively impacted their health. Hilda testified before a PBB Committee Hearing in Grand Rapids in 1976 about their PBB experience. In early 1974 the Greens started noticing their dairy cows were sickening, aborting, having stillborn claves and calves dying. They did all they could to save them. Alvin and Hilda’s first cow died in May 1974 and milk production fell. They first heard about PBB in the feed in June or July 1974. They butchered a cow that fell in the field in September 1974 on their veterinarian’s advice. In January 1975 a pet cow died. The Greens supplied milk to Liberty Dairy which had a $40 million contract with Meijer. They were very proud to supply Liberty Dairy. Liberty was part of Dean’s Food Products, Chicago, which shipped food products from Michigan farmers nationally. The dairy, hearing that the Green’s herd was ill, began testing each farmer which supplied milk in early 1975 with Microbe I lab, Ann Arbor. The Green’s test returned at 1.15 PBB level. The Greens initially suspected that their corn feed from the Howard City Elevator was contaminated by PBB. Only later, did the Elevator admit that when their supplies ran low, they bought from other feedstores, some of which had PBB contamination.
Despite multiple tests of their cattle, farm equipment, feed, and themselves, physicians and government officials were slow to recognize the herds as poisoned or that their health problems were directly related to PBB. The state inspections or tests through the Dept. of Ag were free and failed detect PBB. The Greens continued testing with ERG (Environmental Research Group) and WARF their PBB was below the levels considered unsafe. Hilda noted that the samples they sent with all information came back with different coding, so they couldn’t tell which result went with which sample they had sent.
The Greens then sent samples to three labs and finally got detectable results, including the hamburger from the cow that died in September 1974 which had a PBB level of 1.47. The Greens, like other farmers, paid for the non-Dept. of Ag tests themselves, spending $9,000 in test fees, not including travel and postage to labs between 1974 and 1976. Also, the Greens took live animals to MSU to be tested and still received results that were mixed up. Finally, two veterinaries, Mr. Grover and Mr. Carter, told the Greens unofficially that they had a problem. Alvin’s main wish at this time was to save their herd. In March 1975 they lost 18 cows and 134 calves. They invited Ag Department staff to their farm to eat their hamburger.
Hilda called and wrote to Governor William Milliken’s office and multiple politicians. The only one who listened to her was Rep. Don Albosta. Ohio University labs found that all their cows were poisoned. The Greens were denied permission to bury their cows at Kalkaska by the offices of the Governor and the Attorney General (AG). AG staff yelled at Hilda, who yelled back. The Greens were willing to pay the bulldozer themselves to dig a hole and bury their cattle in Kalkaska, but were denied that option. On November 10 the Greens shot their cows with help from friends and buried them on their property. They sold the milk up until that day. One test showed that PBB was in the milk that day, although the state said it was non-detectable. Concerned about the fact that food with PBB was still being sold to the public after seeing the impact on her family’s health, Hilda called the FDA who told her to simply trim the fat off the meat. When she told him the fat was ground into hamburger, the FDA staff got nasty with her.
Like other Michigan farmers whose farms were poisoned, the Greens saw their cattle and family members sicken and suffer from multiple health symptoms, feared making others ill by selling foodstuffs, lost their livelihood and financial security. All of this caused them much stress and anxiety. Three generations of Greens tested positive for PBB in their blood and fat. Alvin was among a group of people who were hospitalized for several days for multiple PBB tests. Due to PBB, the Greens incurred considerable medical bills. They owned too much property to qualify for the financial assistance available to PBB-afflicted farmers and were reduced to accepting food stamps and funds raised by their church. Their only income by the mid-1970s was a garage that they rented.
Increasingly frustrated and angry by the lack of answers and efforts to blame them by the MI Department of Agriculture (AG) and Farm Bureau Services, Inc. (FBS), the Greens fought back by continuing to contact politicians, collect information, testify in hearings and special committee meetings, and engage in community action.
Hilda Green was a founding member and served as president of the PBB Action Committee in Reed City. The Committee received official verification of its registration as a non-profit corporation on August 23, 1976. Hilda was a major force in the Committee, answering letters from the public, leading their planning, meeting with PBB Action Committees in Detroit, Kalkaska, Lansing, and Oscoda, testifying to government committees, keeping the press and legislators, such as Congressman Donald Albosta, a key fighter for the farmers, informed. The Committee gathered published scientific reports and journal articles, unpublished research papers, white papers, government bills and acts, copies of testimony transcription, court records, public and tv debates about PBB, and news clippings. She, the Committee, and members of the Green family, corresponded with politicians, including President Gerald Ford’s office, Governor William Milliken, and Congressmen, state and federal departments and officials, especially Michigan Farm Bureau Services and the Michigan departments of Agriculture and Public Health, scientists, physicians and hospitals, laboratories and research facilities, such as Anatech Services, Ann Arbor, and the WARF Institute Inc, Madison, Wisconsin; concerned members of the public, and other Michiganders whose families and farms were poisoned by PBB. The Committee published newsletters, press announcements and articles, forms, and handouts, and had petitions supporting legislation to support farmers and more strongly control toxic substances in food products. In 1976 and 1977, the Committee encouraged Michiganders statewide to purchase a variety of farm products from multiple stores, documenting the purchases via receipts and Committee forms, and send them to laboratories for testing. This effort, coordinated by the Committee’s then Executive Secretary, Patricia Miller, demonstrated that PBB was present in many meat and dairy products sold throughout Michigan. Patricia also communicated with the other PBB Action Committees throughout the state. Louis Trombly and Gary Bass served as vice presidents of the Committee and their names are on some of the Committee’s materials. The Committee led the fight for acknowledgement and compensation in court as the Michigan PBB Tort Committee.
The Greens continued to fight and advocate for themselves and others affected by PBB. Hilda testifying at multiple committee hearings that she yelled back at government office personnel who yelled at her, trying to silence or intimidate her. Alvin and Douglas also testified at various hearing. Notably, Douglas testified at a federal-level special committee chaired by Senator Edward Kennedy. Alvin and Hilda, and Doug and Donna also fought in court for recognition of their situations and compensation. Both Hilda and Alvin participated in PBB Health studies and gathered the health records of their family and received some from others poisoned by PBB. As years passed, the Greens continue to document their health, the progression of state and federal court cases and laws regarding PBB and toxic chemicals, and the bankruptcy of the Michigan Chemical Corporation (MCC) and Velsicol, which manufactured PBB in St. Louis, Michigan. Hilda also created multiple drafts for an unpublished book about their experience with PBB.
Cheroyl Karns, Gerald, Alvin, Douglas and Hilda Green are all buried in Chase, Michigan. In 2022 the Greens documented in the collection, Sallyann and Jederic Anderson and Jim and Donna Green are alive. (This information is from the collection, and ancestry.com materials added to the collection by Archivist M. Matyn.)
Hilda was filmed by a Channel 9 and10 News in a segment titled, “Chase PBB with Hilda Green” on March 18, 1976. See the Channel 9 and10 News finding aid in the Clarke for further information.
- Acquisition Information:
- Acc# 77409
Arrangement is alphabetical and chronological.
Click on terms below to find any related finding aids on this site.
Cattle-Feeding and feeds--Michigan.
Dairy farming--Economic aspects--Michigan.
Dairy farming--United States--History--20th century.
United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Agriculture.
United States. Department of Agriculture.
United States. Environmental Protection Agency.
United States. Bankruptcy Court (Michigan : Eastern District)
United States. District Court (Michigan : Western District)
Michigan. Circuit Court (Barry County)
Michigan. Circuit Court (Lake County)
Michigan. Circuit Court (Missaukee County)
Michigan. Circuit Court (Newaygo County)
Michigan. Circuit Court (Wexford County)
Michigan. Department of Agriculture.
Michigan. Department of Public Health.
Michigan. Office of the Attorney General.
PBB Action Committee, Inc.
Farm Bureau Services, Inc.
Velsicol Chemical Corp.
Anatch Services (Ann Arbor, Mich.)
WARF Institute Ind. (Madison, Wis.)
Green, Hilda I., 1922-2016.
Green, Alvin G., 1917-2002.
Green, James, 1960-
Anderson, Sallyann Green, 1942-
Kidder, Patricia A. (Miller)
Milliken, William G., 1922-2019.
Albosta, Donald J., 1925-2014.
Riegle, Donald W., 1938-
Vander Jagt, Guy, 1931-
Ford, Gerald R., 1913-2006.
Kennedy, Edward M. (Edward Moore), 1932-2009.
Corbett, Thomas H.
Selikoff, Irving J.
Reed City (Mich.)--History.
Michigan--Politics and government--20th century.
Michigan--Trials, litigation, etc.
Using These Materials
Hilda I. Green, Alvin and Hilda Green PBB Collection is open for research.
- USE & PERMISSIONS:
Published items in the collection are under copyright. Copyright was not transferred with the physical collection.
- PREFERRED CITATION:
Hilda I. Green, Alvin and Hilda Green PBB Collection, 1972-1993, 2022, and undated, Folder # , Box #, Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University