Cabbages and Kings; Texans and Tuna

March 20th, 2004

To the Editor,

Yes, it is time to talk of many things, as Lewis Carroll wrote, because it appears that pigs do indeed have wings. They are flying about the U.S. capital where pregnant women and children are drinking unacceptable levels of lead in water under the eye of informed regulators. Pigs are nesting in treetops while that pantry staple, tuna, is finally acknowledged as a significant source of ingested mercury.

The phrase, “acceptable levels” applied to mercury, lead, sulphur, arsenic, pesticides etc., is an oxymoron to consumers who actually pay to ingest them. It only becomes comprehensible when considering the question, “Acceptable to whom?”

The unthinkable became clear on the day a Phillip Morris executive advised a startled Czech government against smoking restrictions. Apparently, people who die prematurely are a cost savings. That executive must have been smoking something other than Marlboro’s to have put that in print. However, that bell can never be unrung or the view assumed to be restricted to the tobacco industry.

So the EPA “adjusts” mercury legislation so that we must wait until 2018 for any significant pollution reductions and our president praises “clear skies” in which breathable air will be a voluntary gift to us by industry in their own good time. All the while, our discretionary income goes to health care, now 15% of our economy, heralding a time to come when the sick will outnumber the healthy.

Pigs indeed. Time to start getting ready to serve some roast pork next November.

Barbara Rubin

Categories: Washington Post

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