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And another thing about those biomass plant jobs

English, Ind.

When the X-ray machine was first invented, it was a hit. Moms and pops were grabbing the kids, the family dog and anyone else they could find, and piling in front of the machines to primp, puff themselves up and "smile for the camera." It was a new toy. They took lots of pictures, and it wasn't until the "gotta look at my innards" crowd began dropping like flies that some genius made the connection and radioactivity as entertainment came to an end.

There's usually a lag time between first discovering a thing and finding out if it's good for us or bad for us. Kind of like kids on a beach loaded with washed-up jelly fish — it's all play and stick-poking until someone gets stung.

Synthetic chemicals and chemicals in combinations are a good example of this. I mean, we now have Tupperware, Crazy Glue, Silly Putty, Flarp for gosh sakes!, and flat-screen TVs. The EPA has each new chemical tested as it comes along, but, unfortunately, there are so many improperly tested in the past ones and so many new ones, that testing combinations of chemicals in all their infinite variety and newly formed toxicity just doesn't happen. In a kind of ironic twist, we are all performing our own tests on these combinations every day with the 700 or so synthetic chemicals now synergistically bopping around in our bodies. Cool, huh?

A test done on the umbilical cord blood of randomly chosen babies born in August and September 2004 revealed an average of 200 synthetic chemicals already present. Nearly all these chemicals "have been linked to cancer, brain and nervous system disorders, birth defects or developmental problems." Not so cool.

And, naturally, there's more. Because of fewer nutrients in food grown or raised on impoverished soil caused by chemical fallout and the chemicals already in our bodies, our immune systems are being compromised in their ability to fight stuff like cancer. Unfortunately, there's way more on this list.

I truly understand the need for jobs in this county, but that carrot on the end of LGR's stick is smaller than it appears and comes with a heavy chemical burden. Inhalable and respirable wood dust alone (and there will be a lot of it) has been linked to asthma, lung cancer, gastrointestinal cancer and Hodgkin's disease, to name a few. There will also be toxic chemicals mixing it up on their way out of water pipes and up the smokestack day and night. There's just too much here to get into, but the chemical soup from industrialized parts of the country manages to find its way here to a degree. Do we have to go out of our way to bring in our own soup pot?

And even if someone still wanted such risky work, are we so desperate as to consider endangering kids on the playground about a mile away in Milltown with this mess? And what about the rest of us who live and breathe here and who want to take care of our health? And, finally, who do we become if we still answer "yes" to these few tenuous jobs?

For more information like the stuff you just read, I recommend "The Hundred-Year Lie" by Randall Fitzgerald.

Lyn K. Humpries
May 13, 2009

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