D.C. Residents Pepper Officials On Water Woes

April 4th, 2004

To the Editor,

Questioning the cost-effectiveness of removing arsenic, mercury, lead and sulphur from our air and water is an automatic failure by our government to protect our greatest natural resources – the health and intellects of American citizens. Both are incontrovertibly damaged by pollutants and especially neurotoxic chemicals.

I ought to know being chronically ill and brain injured (24 point IQ loss) from mandatory exposures to pesticides sprayed without notice in occupational and residential settings. These effects by pesticides are well known yet manufacturers are not required to developing delivery systems that reduce human exposure. Excuses by WASA representative Johnson claiming the lead situation was ” … uncharted territory…”, is the cruelest of deceptions. In any contamination scenario, those potentially exposed must be helped to avoid the offending substance while the source is examined and corrected. The failure to warn proves we must test our own homes and offices, adding such costs to our basic health care expenditures. It is cheaper than treating the damage and diseases that result from our ignorance.

Since learning this lesson, I have moved out of a number of apartments in New York where severe asthma, among other symtoms, indicated possible environmental causation. Low cost toxicological testing revealed high levels of contaminants in each case, including methylene chloride; insecticides known as cypermethrin, dursban, cyfluthrin, dichlorvos and lambda-cyhalothrin; and fumes from fuel oil inadequately combusted by a faulty furnace. While I left such environments, new tenants surely moved in after me to their certain detriment!

We must learn to protect ourselves.

Barbara Rubin

Categories: Washington Post

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