Two studies, from completely different states were recently released concluding the same thing. Both said there was no cause for alarm. Their findings . . . every elevated health abnormality was more likely due to something other than the chemicals in the environment. Poof the words on the paper report deflected the problems. Yet that is not what the studies honestly found.
Enough already . . . real people, with real families need honest answers. However, when there is a question or a real statistical finding of an abnormality the health authorities, as to not upset the corporate polluters or their friends in government, assumption that it’s more likely be a meteor, like recently seen in Russia, than due to chemical exposures in the air or soil. O.K. maybe not the meteor but the answers are just as foolish. The cause for high disease is almost never related to the obvious, 500 pound toxic elephant in the room, nor do the recommendations falls on the side of precaution and cleaning up the environment.
In North Birmingham a recent study around soil and air contamination suggested that the levels of chemicals would not be harmful to health unless you had pica children. Pica children are young and frequently because of age put hands and other things into their mouths. O.K. but the soils samples came from an elementary school grounds, just the place you would find pica children. Just wash their hands and teach them not to place their fingers in the mouth. Poof deflected. It’s the children’s fault and parents for not training the children well enough to keep their hands away from their mouths.
The second study came from New York. The NY State Department of Health undertook a study in Tonawanda where air contamination from multiple industries have been an on-going problem. They found high rates of cancer and birth defects. The study found cases of bladder cancer in the area were 24 percent higher for men and 81 percent higher for woman compared to the rest of New York State, excluding New York City. And women living in the neighborhood had 93 percent more leukemia cases than the rest of the state. Lastly, they found 30 percent more birth defects than the rest of New York State.
The analyses of birth outcomes in the study area compared to birth outcomes in NYS showed some elevations that were relatively smaller than the cancer elevations. Preterm births were elevated in the overall study area. Total heart defects as a group were also elevated, but major heart defects were not elevated.
Then poof the results went away! How? Doctors are better at reporting in the region then in other regions of the state. The report said, “the health investigators compared the birth outcomes in the study area to birth outcomes in Erie and Niagara Counties, the elevations declined substantially. This is consistent with other evidence suggesting this area has more complete reporting than elsewhere in the state.” Poof deflected.
Cancer results the health department said, “factors include smoking, family history, and occupational exposures, as well as others. In the general population, smoking is the most important risk factor for both lung and bladder cancer. We do not know the individual medical and exposure histories for the people included in this study.” Deflected again. So because the victims themselves could have cause the problem and we don’t know if they did the default is, these are sad people who are likely making themselves sick.
If only families living in contaminated areas could create that same magic and poof make the toxic, cancer causing and birth disrupting chemicals go away. Or pretend that contamination in school property will somehow not hurt young children even though the entire property, building and play area is intended for small children.
I walk with these parents, sit in their living rooms and listen as they try and struggle with the pain of their sick loved one and the disappointment they have for those who are supposed to protect and defend American families from criminals and their poisons.
It is hard to respond when parents, women ask over and over again, “why?” It’s not right when can’t smoke in buildings and restaurants (a very good law) but industries can just violate the law, poison people and government covers up the problems just as the tobacco industry did for decades. I never thought I’d see the day when the American people through our tax dollars hired scientists that mirror those that our elected leaders despised-tobacco scientists.
The message to all those fighting for justice and hoping that science may provide some evidence, it won’t – not because it can’t but because our scientists lack the back bone. Our struggles, although should be won on science alone, are clearly political fights and these two studies are just more proof.