Snow Monkeys Showing Signs of Chemical Exposure

Submitted by Zebra Mussel on Sun, 05/07/2006 - 06:59.
Snow Monkeys Showing Signs of Chemical Exposure

I wonder where we can find the details of the actual GEM spill.  Release estimates for air and storm water releases. 

Environment Canada wondered if the city shut down its water intakes?  Anyone know?

You got to watch out for toxic exposure.. have you seen what they were saying back in 1993?


Each year some 3.5 billion pounds of industrial toxins, and an additional 1 to 2 billion pounds of pesticides are intentionally released into the environment of the U.S., according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

During the early 1990s it has became fashionable for the mass media to portray these chemicals as having little effect on human or environmental health. [1] However, in scientific and medical journals, the evidence linking chemicals to ill health has continued to accumulate.

Writing in the AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PUBLIC HEALTH in 1992, Philip J. Landrigan, chairman of the department of community medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, said, "Disease caused by toxic chemicals in the environment is a substantial... cause of morbidity [illness] and mortality [death] in the United States and around the world." [2] He went on to say, "Public health workers and the makers of public policy must recognize that toxic chemicals in the environment are important, widespread, proven causes of human disease. Each year preventable exposures to chemical toxins sicken and kill thousands of persons of all ages in the United States and around the world. These hazards must be confronted. They cannot be wished away. Reduction of exposures to chemical toxins will prevent thousands of deaths and will improve the quality of hundreds of thousands of lives."

Is there any evidence that these claims are true?

LEAD POISONING: "Lead poisoning is epidemic among young U.S. children," Landrigan writes. "The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 3 to 4 million American pre-school children have blood lead levels above 10 micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dl). Blood lead levels in this range in young children have been shown to cause depression of neurological and psychological function, effects that appear to be permanent."

(In 1993, the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences published the estimate that 6 million American children and 400,000 fetuses, at any given time, have 10 mcg/dl lead in their blood, or more, and that this level of lead "places them at risk of adverse health effects"--including reduced IQ and reduced ability to concentrate. [3])

ASBESTOS: "Asbestos in the workplace has created an absolute disaster," says Landrigan. By the year 2000, an estimated 300,000 American workers will have been killed by exposure to asbestos. Deaths will continue to occur well into the 21st century. With the overseas spread of asbestos-containing building materials, the pandemic [wide epidemic] is now extending to the third world."

OCCUPATIONAL DISEASE: "Studies conducted in New York state have estimated that 50,000 to 70,000 workers die each year from chronic occupational diseases resulting from past exposures to toxic substances," Landrigan writes. "Included are lung cancers and mesothelioma [cancer of the lining of the chest cavity] from asbestos exposure; bladder cancer among dye workers; leukemia and lymphoma in workers exposed to benzene and ionizing radiation; chronic bronchitis in workers exposed to dusts; disorders of the nervous system (including possibly dementia, Parkinson's disease, and motoneuron disease [Lou Gehrig's disease]) in workers exposed to pesticides, solvents, and certain other neurotoxins; renal [kidney] failure in workers exposed to lead; and cardiovascular disease in workers exposed to carbon monoxide and carbon disulfide."

In addition to what is known, millions of American workers are being exposed to chemicals whose effects are unknown because 80% [or 48,000] of the 60,000 chemicals now in use have never been tested for their carcinogenic [cancer-causing], neurotoxic, immunotoxic, or other toxic effects, Landrigan says.

In addition to the 50,000 to 70,000 deaths cause by toxic exposures in the workplace each year, an estimated 350,000 new cases of illness occur among workers each year from toxic exposures on the job, Landrigan says.

CANCER: Between 1950 and 1988, for U.S. whites, age-adjusted incidence [occurrence] for all forms of cancer rose by 43.5% and age-adjusted cancer mortality [deaths] increased by 2.9%.

"Explanations for these increases do not exist," says Landrigan. "They do not appear to be attributable solely to changes in cigarette smoking." Several of the cancers for which increased incidence at all ages (and mortality above age 55) have been noted in a number of industrialized nations are not known to be related to smoking: these include multiple myeloma [cancer of the bone marrow], brain cancer, cancer of the breast, testicular cancer, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

"Changes in competing causes of death, improved access to health care, and alterations in diagnostic technology also do not appear to account entirely for the observed changes in cancer incidence and mortality," says Landrigan.

=======================Electronic Edition========================

---December 23, 1993---
News and resources for environmental justice.
Environmental Research Foundation
P.O. Box 5036, Annapolis, MD 21403
Fax (410) 263-8944; Internet: erf [at] igc [dot] apc [dot] org

Since your interested in seeing who's emmitting what and where.. try this link for starters and follow your nose:

GEM fire 17,000 gallons sucked up - PD


The April 22 Metro section by Gabriel Baird says all run off was captured in sewers and in Kingsbury Run (brook) before any got to Cuyahoga.  Is this believable?

It appears that GEM had no provision for on-site capture of spills which is a huge licensing oversight in my opinion.

Also, GEM pres. maintains that explosion was an "accident"  but in fact it is entirely not an accident because it is predicable and customary and a rule of physics that operating an acetylene torch (which GEM's mechanical subcontractor was doing cutting steel) will ignite volatile fumes which GEM knew were in close proximity to the torch.  



This is why the public needs to monitor environment

To say none of the toxins escaped into the environment, as GEM and the media claim, is absurd. Of course gallons, or 100s or 1,000s of gallons escaped. What was the downstream impact? What are the lingering impacts? How hard would it be to have some boat and property owners along the Cuyahoga allow monitoring devices from their river access points. Aren't their inexpensive, electronic ways to capture real-time, useful data?

Wherever possible, the public needs to use low cost technology to monitor industry - the media doesn't have that ability, if they care at all. I saw great work done with this for grass-roots air monitoring - are we doing anything about the river... are there any global models to follow?

One other thought - there are lots of "environmentally conscious" folks living on the edge of the industrial valley in Tremont who are paying big money for a view of GEM, Mittal and all their spewing toxic stew, so why don't we put some web cams in their windows so we can catch the fireworks as they happen, next time. If all those industrial sites know they are always on camera, they may think more seriously about open flames and fumes. Anyone you know have a good view of GEM?