Below is copied from an eMail sent out by Alexandra Allred, author of Damaged Goods. She recently attended a meeting to discuss environmental health risks in Texas.
We look forward to having Alex on our show in the near future to discuss her book as well as her recent trip to Washington D.C.
You can find Alexandra Allred FaceBook Page at Alexandra Allred – Author
Dear Friends –
If you know someone who has cancer, asthma, autism, upper respiratory issues and/or care about children’s health and air quality … here you go.
Tonight I went to a much-dreaded ATSDR meeting. Those new to this …after the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TCEQ) failed the people of Texas and health issues peaked, the federal branch ATSDR stepped in. Tonight was the first of a three-part study.
It was a two + our meeting and I’ll make it really short.
- Final conclusion was there are health risks. But the studies were also clouded with “no data provided” as until very recently the cement plants were actually allowed to provide the data. (huh?) So, in the neighborhoods where one environmental expert called a “sacrifice zone” because of all the cancers/leukemia’s/birth defects and autism, there was NO DATA.
- However, the cement plants (who showed in big numbers and tried to pretend to be regular concerned citizens), lobbied hard to make the point that sick people could happen anywhere. True …
- At one point a cement rep stood and said that they’ve “turned off outdated” kilns and implied better technology was on the way… until someone in the know asked what the technology was … well, we just turned the kilns off. Ahhh.
- We were told no more hazardous waste burning … now it is just “industrial waste” but when we asked to know the specifics of what is in industrial waste, they would NOT give answers. We persisted and asked ATSDR and they did not know. We then asked the ATSDR – the feds – to demand to know as its public health and were told that probably “wasn’t going to happen.” Asbestos will be one of the things burned. Holy crap.
- No data was provided for many of the “tests” so it was frustrating to have non-information about public health when we were there for information but the ATSDR is working to get new and current data. It doesn’t help for those hurt in the past but it is good to hear that more tests will be conducted. Following the meeting, several people contacted me to say they have high levels of lead in thier blood … so this information WILL be passed along to the proper authorities. The biggest problem is the ATSDR doesn’t have information to make a fair and proper assessment. In due time …
- One conclusion: “Sensitive people” are susceptible to heart issues, heart attacks, asthma, cancer, other issues … when asked who is sensitive, it is unclear. Children, pregnant women and elderly are obvious but this is still undetermined since we know that many people do not know they are “sensitive” until a cancer diagnosis comes.
- On national average – 1 in every 100,000 has cancer. In Midlothian, 1 in every 5,000 and that is not an accurate number because we know the numbers are now higher.
- Greatest co-exposure (a term we learned means being exposed not just to one chemical but multiple, like lead, mercury, benzene, arsenic…all burned together in Midlothian) to those who live in Cement Valley, possibly around Holcim and Ash Grove cement plants.
- Issues of concern to Federal Govt in Midlothian: thick white dust, which is reported on cars, in houses, everywhere. Asthma, Cancer, autoimmune disease, eye and skin issues, respiratory diseases, and sinus problems are above normal. These issues were noted problems in Boulder, CO and Chanute, KS where there are also cement plants and data was collected.
- ATSDR found that surrounding neighborhoods have children with LOWER I.Q.s due to excessive lead and mercury exposure. This is verified by a school official who talked about the number of high school student who barely score above mentally retarded.
- ATSDR hopes to look at what the cement plants called “fuel choices.” Translation: what they CHOOSE to burn and expose us to.
- Finally, when a resident asked the ATSDR why they didn’t come out in 1994 when first asked before the HIGH number of children/adults were exposed and harmed – many in cement valley all dead – the lead scientist said, “I can’t change the past but hope to move forward.” We do know that families who lived in Midlo between 1997 to 2008 had the most harmful exposures. No surprise – children born here or babies/toddlers developing during those years were exposed and at greatest risk for autism, mental retardation, physical disabilities, asthma, cancer, upper respiratory diseases, heart disease, tumors, learning disabled, lower IQ, seizures, skin issues, eye issues.
There were great moments of frustrations as the scientists are severely limited in providing more information because for decades no data was collected or it was “negatively biased.” How many times did we hear, no data provided … leaving many to ask then how they can speculate or ensure health. On the flip side, the cement plant reps were so obviously (and repeatedly) trying to make the point that people get sick anywhere. (They really don’t care about children or adults, public health or quality of life. This is a game to them.) Meantime, I did stand and asked if the ATSDR could stop Ash Grove from building a quarry site 500 yards from an elementary school and they said …. No. It is a state decision. How nice.
These are just three reports that came out in the last 30 days and Midlothian is discussed:
Michelle went with me and was so frustrated but I have to say, despite the non-answers and/or negative news, I am glad I went. Each time I go, I learn more about data gathering, how bad things really, how fragile the human body is and to what lengths big industry will go to make $$$.
We have to keep demanding that the EPA, TCEQ, ATSDR, politicians (at local and national levels) and industry dedicate themselves to public health, education and giving a rat’s ass about your neighbor. That eye cancer or loss of life could come closer to home than you want.
As for me … another reminder of why I need to get out of this town.