Today families, school children, hundreds of residents were evacuated again from the area around the train derailment in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania which sent a cloud of vinyl chloride into the air early Friday. This event is yet another example of how our federal and state governmental agencies fail to respond in a health protective way. They failed to gather enough data to clearly, scientifically and honestly say to families it is safe to go home. They shot from the hip—said it was safe and they were wrong.
Imagine on Friday all of the schools were in lock down – meaning no one could leave or even open the doors and the homes and businesses around the accident were evacuated. Other than 48 homes closest to the accident, people were told they could go home. Sunday people went to church, children played outdoors in the unseasonably warm weekend riding bikes, climbing on swings at the playground and more. People were assured the risk had been eliminated and they are safe.
Today . . . Monday test results revealed that the area is not safe and schools were closed and homes and business were once again evacuated. This, it’s dangerous—not dangerous seesaw announcements, by trusted health authorities happens time and time again in every state. We’ll never know what that unnecessary vinyl chloride exposure to local small children and families did to their health. Vinyl chloride is a very dangerous chemical that causes cancer and nervous system damage. After 31 years of watching innocent families being victimized by corporation and then victimized by their own government authorities that are suppose to protect them, I am ready to scream. Why is it that chemical exposures are responded to with such casual concerns? Why can’t or won’t the authorities take precautionary steps when it comes to the health of innocent Americans?
I know when I ask this question of government health authorities they said because, the problem is contained. Moreover, we know who was exposed and who wasn’t and unlike infectious disease or contaminated food products it won’t reach beyond the physical area.
What is shocking is that somehow; those in charge of our health and environmental protection think this casual approach “because it’s contained” is acceptable. I don’t. There is no real urgency to accidents, spills or on-going pollution because it’s contained and what the authorities don’t say is it impacts on the responsible corporations’ bottom line. What about the American families’ bottom-line? They want protection, warnings, sound scientifically based information. They shouldn’t have to pay with their wallets and health.
Odd as it might seem, I sometimes wish people were treated like corporations profits. If that was the case PA families would not have been told to return home when it wasn’t safe.