Press Contacts:
  In US Dr. Gordana Vunjak,, 617-253-3858
  In Yugoslavia Dr. Branislav Nikolic,

 Department of Organic Chemical Technology and Polymers
 Faculty of Technology and Metallurgy
 Belgrade University
 Belgrade, Yugoslavia

 Until yesterday we could attempt to understand, although not accept, NATO’s
 bombing of Yugoslavia in terms of their military, strategic or logistic
 aims, even though some tragic accidents had occurred. This changed
 dramatically in the night from Saturday to Sunday (17 - 18th April, 1999)
 when NATO deliberately bombed the poly(vinyl chloride) (PVC) and vinyl
 chloride monomer (VCM) plants at Pancevo. Subsequently, increased
 atmospheric concentrations, well above the allowed limits (an unconfirmed
 report spoke of more than 10 000 times higher values), were measured in the
 vicinity of the VCM plant.

 Also, all day Sunday, the VCM storage tank was emptied by controlled burning
 to prevent an even greater ecological catastrophe. During this process, huge
 quantities of the "greenhouse" gas, carbon dioxide, and the acid gas,
 hydrogen chloride, were released into the atmosphere. As scientists, you
 will realize the significance of this irresponsible NATO act. VCM is a
 colourless, odourless and tasteless gas which is extremely carcinogenic. PVC
 was banned for food packaging because of the ppb quantities of VCM it
 contains. It is also known that developed countries have dislocated their
 production of VCM and PVC to third world countries because of the extreme
 health risks involved. Due to the very precise initial bombing of the
 Pancevo Oil Refinery, which disabled the water vapour production unit, thus
 preventing the operation of the entire petrochemical complex, it is obvious
 that NATO is very well aware of the layout of each individual unit in the
 complex and is able to exactly pinpoint its targets. Consequently, the
 targeting of the VCM unit was deliberate, although there was no military or
 strategic object in the vicinity. Pancevo has 140 000 inhabitants and lies
 about 15 km from Belgrade which has a population of over 2 million. The VCM
 plant is about 5 km from the center of Pancevo. NATO has continuously
 stressed that it has no quarrel with the Serbian people. In view of the
 events of the night from Saturday to Sunday, the credibility of this
 statement must now be questioned. As the spreading of dangerous and toxic
 vapors cannot be hindered by international borders, this new development in
 the strategy of NATO must be of concern not only to neighboring countries,
 but to the complete international community.

 We would ask you to ensure, in any way available to you, that this new,
 extremely dangerous policy of NATO becomes known to the people of the world,
 in the hope that world opinion can stop NATO’s action before an ecological
 catastrophe results.

 Dr Dejan Skala
 Professor, Division of Chemical Reaction Engineering

 Dr. Ivanka Popovic
 Professor, Division of Polymer Processing

 Dr Jovan Jovanovic
 Professor, Division of Petroleum Processing

 Dr Milorad Sokic
 Professor, Division of Chemical Reaction Engineering and Crude Oil Refining

 Dr Dusanka Petrovic Djakov
 Professor, Division of Organic Chemical Technology

 Dr Jovanka Filipovic
 Professor, Division of Polymer Synthessis

 Lynne Katsikas
 British Guest Scientist

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