September 9th, 2016
We’ve seen the awful sights of Syria’s ruined cities, smoke emanating from the rubble of buildings that used to be homes. The story of those abandoning the destruction is well known to newspaper readers and television viewers via the images of the Syrians trudging towards transportation and the hope of shelter.
Earlier blog posts here at the Armchairactivist spoke of homes I’ve been forced to abandon when sudden symptoms of serious illness emerged for no apparent reason. Ignorance and disbelief sometimes led to my remaining inside some of those quality structures, unaware they had turned into equivalent forms of ‘rubble’ practically overnight. Whether I walked or crawled out of those buildings depended upon my ability to relate environmental events with possible reasons for sudden illness. Toxic events that can lead to chronic health problems are numerous be it living too close to a golf course or next door to a home that is one day tented for termite treatments. Construction problems may also come from electrical sources to drywall brands.
Around 430 people die annually from carbon monoxide poisoning. My knowledge of the symptoms had grown after taking a fire safety course. The knowledge proved invaluable when high levels of CO required my evacuation from a new rental with a leak, and again when damage to my car raised interior cabin levels well above safe limits. The EPA tells us repeatedly that hazardous indoor gasses may be more harmful to our health than dissipated industrial fumes encountered outdoors. Listening to the language of your bodily organs protesting invasion by hazardous substances will lead residents to look for external events, like the sight of a retreating lawn chemical truck leaving a neighbor’s yard. Children and adults have had demonstrable nervous system damage sometimes leading to death as in these cases.
Poisons can end the ability to work and even life itself. There is a turning point when a home is transformed from that long sought-after dwelling you’ve purchased or rented and becomes a ‘toxic hell’. That is a test of each person’s willingness to examine seemingly invisible realities of modern life. The ease of selecting the wrong paint for interior work can alter the quality of your life for years to come. It wasn’t until 1977 that lead-containing paints were banned because the public refused to analyze the safety issues and independently cease to purchase the product. The government cannot wrap each citizen in cotton-wool to protect us. The market place speaks based upon dollars used to chase the least hazardous products. After all, our supermarkets sell chlorine bleach and pesticide foggers.
The Syrians suffered from an insurgency involving chemicals, ultimately confiscated by international rulings and transported to Russia for destruction. Newspaper reports after that point spoke of people buying chlorine bleach and making gasses from it, indicating a full scale war was in motion. The death toll is noted to be around half a million.
The death toll from our own voluntary toxic exposures is counted in cases of cancer, auto-immune diseases, strokes, diabetes and organ failure (kidney and liver predominantly). The toll is well into the millions and requires us to think about whether the Syrian conflict is limited to that country. Perhaps we need new glasses to see whether our well-appointed western homes aren’t significantly different from a Syrian home.
Optical illusions of whole habitats tend to go hand in hand with denial.