April 29th, 2004
To the Editor,
Mr. Martin speaks for all of us who have been environmentally injured through the absence of regulation or enforcement of environmental protections. I lived in New York during the September 11 tragedy and saw/breathed in the black cloud that travelled over Long Island a couple of days later. I knew that the EPA was lying about the air quality of ground zero and surrounding areas being safe since they had not had even the opportunity to get back the lab test results that would have indicated such a condition. The increase in particulate pollution alone made the air unsafe much less the toxins present. I watched the rescue workers, firefighters and police use inadequate paper masks around that inferno and now see the official denials of disability for those who braved the fumes to save New Yorker’s lives and went back to work in toxic areas of the city to calm tourist angst. A friend and I published a press release on the dangers faced by workers and residents in lower Manhattan a few weeks later which can be read at: http://immuneweb.org/911/pr/
The knee jerk reflex of denial that is now the hallmark of our administration in all matters of policy, both foreign and domestic, is still in effect. Our nation’s capital is plagued by high lead levels in their water yet officials kept such knowledge to themselves for TWO YEARS while pregnant women and children drank the stuff until the media, truly an essential arm of a free society, broke the story.
I hope Mr. Martin’s story will encourage all consumers in this country to become aware of all the products under their sinks, to test the quality of their own tap water, to test the quality of their own air at home and office if they develop unusual respiratory problems with no apparent warning (diagnosis, asthma) and to lobby for full disclosure of all ingredients on the products we purchase. Many toxic products grace our homes due to the legality of hiding contents under the name of “inert” ingredients or by virtue of “trade secret” laws. Only by educating ourselves can we have a chance to bypass the ever increasing rates of illness and disability in this country.
Categories: Green Bay Chronicle