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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Don’t drink the Water,
and don’t breathe the Air!
Theatre of the
Absurd Status Quo
Photo Courtesy of Google Images

Part 1: Living in a Toxic World – Core Article

“Don’t drink the water, and don’t breathe the air!” These were the words of a song titled, “Pollution”, televised in black and white on the 1965 NBC show called, “That Was The Week That Was”. When considering back in those days the preposterous prospect of a sci-fi future world, picturing people having to walk around with gas masks and not being able to drink the water, (there was no such thing as bottled water back then), very few at that time really took the words to this satirical song seriously. The last stanza of the song is, “Like lambs to the slaughter, they’re drinking the water and breathing the air”.

And here we are, 50 years later, and the words to that song don’t sound so comical any more. The much reported Lead Poisoning in Flint, Michigan was just the ‘tip of the iceberg’. Millions of Americans (and more around the world) are now being warned not to drink their indoor running water, one of the benchmarks of a modern home, (or, in many cases, they’re not being warned, even though there is knowledge of toxic chemicals, heavy metals, or radiation above safe levels as determined by the Safe Water Act). And millions of Americans (billions around the world) have no alternative, but to breathe unhealthy air with unprecedented levels of smog, comprised of toxic gases, hormone disrupting chemicals, and carcinogenic particulates.

Industrial processes yield millions of tons of toxic industrial waste every day, year after year, and the careless handling and disposal of that waste is adding to the spread and the exponential accumulation of toxins. For 100 years, there were few federal rules against the proliferation or the dumping of toxics, and the state regulations were barely, if ever, enforced. Billions of tons of toxic waste were poured every year directly into our rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans, or deposited in unlined landfills, where there is no barrier to toxins leaching into our groundwater. And billions of tons of toxic gases, chemicals and particulates have been literally pouring from industrial smokestacks, and peppering our lungs, not to mention the peppering and melting of the ice caps and glaciers, with effects on our Climate.

Two years before that topical song, Pollution, was written, recognizing that air pollution was a real threat, Congress enacted the first Clean Air Act of 1963. And in 1972, two years after the first Earth Day, April, 1970, consciousness of water pollution had become so urgent, with rivers dying, and even burning, that Republican President Nixon’s veto of the Clean Water Act was overridden by both houses of Congress and written into law. Also in 1972, the Environmental Protection Agency was established to regulate and enforce the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and all future environmental laws.

In 1976, in response to the proliferation and the lack of regulation of toxic chemicals, the Toxic Substances Control Act was made into law, answering the public’s and Congress’s recognition that there was no testing or limitations on all the thousands of old and new chemicals used by Industries. Please read about this law in Chemistry Gone Wild, and how it is such an impotent law, that though it appoints the EPA to regulate chemicals, out of the 84,000 chemicals, only 5 chemicals have ever been regulated since the law was enacted in 1976. In 2016, with both Democrats and Republicans having recognized for years just how anemic the TSCA is, and that oversight must be improved, new versions of this toxics law are working through the Congress and Senate. But if any of these new versions emerge into law, it will almost certainly be equally catering to the business interests of the polluters, in defense of the status quo, at the expense of concern for our health. And, no matter how strong a new toxics bill the Congress and Senate  passes, unless the EPA is funded sufficiently to do the necessary lab work and actually enforce the laws, it won’t be worth the paper it’s written on.

After the EPA was founded, there was much hope and some evidence that these new environmental laws were already doing some good. Some of the rivers that had previously been so toxic, the water was brown and smelled horrible, and in which nothing could live, we now heard of fish coming back. And perhaps one could imagine that the air quality was improving a bit.

But now, since the time that these first environmental laws were enacted, after almost 50 years accumulation of billions of tons more, these toxins are increasingly rearing their ugly heads, showing up as Air Pollution, Water Pollution, and Soil Pollution.. Please note that these three types of pollution are not three separate subjects. The same chemicals and heavy metals that are emitted from a smokestack, and spread by the wind, are deposited into the rain and snow and get into the soil and water. Conversely, water pollution through evaporation pollutes the air.

Anyone who has ever witnessed an oil spill will never forget the dizzyingly terrible stink of the oil as it pollutes the air, water (rivers, streams, lakes, oceans, and groundwater) and soil. The toxins in the oil, the carcinogenic EDCs, both liquid and gas, and the heavy metals, are recognized as toxic by the CDC, the NIH, the WHO, as well as the EPA, and they appear in every form, water, air, and soil pollution from the same oil spill, and there are tens of thousands of oil spills and drilling wastewater spills in the US and around the world every year, most of which you never hear.
Oil spills are just one example of toxic spills, whether liquid, solid, or gas. There are thousands of toxic chemicals and substances that are emitted from our industries, or spilled intentionally, whether or not legally, or by accident, and each one of these spills,(though only the largest are ever reported in the news, and when they are, they’re always reported as local stories), contribute to the aggregate of toxics in this world. And winds, jet streams, rain, snow, rivers, streams and ocean currents distribute many of these harmful pollutants globally, having them appear long distances from their points of generation. Heavy metals like Lead and Mercury in smoke from fossil fuel power generation and transportation can be found on the highest mountains and these heavy metals get into mountain streams and rivers polluting freshwater fish worldwide with Mercury, and not just the saltwater fish of which most of us are aware. And all vertebrates, even fish, have endocrine systems much like ours, and these heavy metals that are disrupting hormones are bio-magnified up the food chain.
2100 different chemicals have been found in water pollution and in our drinking water supplies. Hundreds of toxic chemicals and heavy metals have been revealed in the rain, in mother’s milk, in umbilical cord blood, and in our own blood, including some chemicals, like the pesticide DDT, which haven’t been used in the US for 40 years, but still persist. Humans and all animals absorb toxics through our mouths, our breathing, and through our skin.

And there is no doubt that these toxics are harming our health. The incidence of chronic diseases and cancers (also notably in children) related to pollution is skyrocketing. WHO just reported that 25% of all deaths globally are now related to environmental causes. We are poisoning ourselves and our children with lead and heavy metals, and with EDC chemicals, (like flame retardants in every piece of furniture in our homes and offices, and the chemicals in non-stick cookware in our kitchens) that are known to impair cognitive function. 
We can spend the most money on education, and have the best schools, teachers and curricula. If our children have lower cognition from exposure to heavy metals and/or toxic EDC chemicals, this could be a partial explanation as to why the US test scores rank so low (35th in math, 27th in Science) compared to other developed nations. Perhaps the toxins in some homes and communities are denying our children, to some degree, the ability to learn.

Every one of the thousands of toxic spills reported each year, whether liquid, solid, or gas, threatens the health of hundreds, if not thousands of Americans, not just in cities, but now that we have industrialized the countryside, for example with tens of thousands of fracking wells, rural communities are as much threatened as city dwellers. The heartache and tragedy of a relative, your child, or a close friend, having their health potentially harmed by toxics is being faced by hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Americans each year, and seems to be growing exponentially.
And besides the health aspect, millions of Americans are being harmed by spills and toxic environmental events each year in different ways, When a spill happens in a neighborhood, or when a community loses the ability to provide good, clean running water, or when a flaring frack well, or a stinking CAFO, (Confined Animal Feeding Operation), pops up across the street, or when a ‘bomb train’ filled with petroleum or Tarsands Oil explodes, such disasters turn people’s lives upside down. These toxic events are robbing many of us of our homes, our neighborhoods, our jobs, our schools, our churches, and our quality of life, and robbing many thousands of Americans of our life savings, when real estate values in our neighborhoods plummet, as a result of these tragic accidents, spills, and resulting water and air and soil pollution.

And, it could happen to you, (more likely if you live in a poorer neighborhood, closer to train tracks and industries – most often people of color -  ‘environmental racism’). It could happen to anyone of us anywhere (even in wealthier neighborhoods like the Porter Ranch area of Los Angeles’ Runaway Gas Leak) whether or not there are evacuations, people’s lives are always, at least for some time, devastated. We, the people, have no defense against this. Even if we protest, industry, protected by politicians and governmental agencies, with the assistance of law enforcement, usually prevails, and our safety is most often disregarded.
And when the industry executives and politicians act contrite and surprised after a toxic event, while offering to extend prayers for the victims, they are often being disingenuous. Most workers in local factories and consequently many people in the community around the local factories, including the politicians, know something about, and sometimes fear, the toxic Chemicals inside those walls. OSHA requires a Material Safety Data Sheet through the “Right to Know” program on every toxic chemical in the workplace to be available to every worker in every plant. (But the workers don’t have the right to say, no, if they want to keep their job.)

In addition to this common knowledge of toxic chemicals in factories, the EPA, since a 1986 law was enacted, has required polluters to report to a national database, called the Toxics Release Inventory. All toxic releases into waterways, into the air, or into landfills must be recorded. This database reveals just how much of each toxic chemical is dumped, and where, and by whom. (And the Health Department’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, that is involved in assigning EPA Superfund cleanup sites since 1985 (Love Canal), maintains an easily accessible Toxic Substances Web Portal with all the toxicological hazard information.) There are no secrets. Officials and the public alike have full access to the Toxics Release Inventory database, where among the top 15 polluters of our waterways are the US Department of Defense, Tyson Foods (pork producer), two oil companies and two chemical companies. It’s transparent when any company in America legally dumps poisons, though this reporting doesn’t restrain them from doing so. Similar databases are maintained in Australia, the EU, etc.

In some cases, US companies are required to get exemptions from the EPA before dumping poisons into drinking water aquifers, outrageous as that may sound, that the EPA, the agency charged with protecting us, would ever, under any circumstances, permit poisons to be dumped into drinking water aquifers. Oil, gas, and mining companies in many areas of the US apply for and receive thousands of “Aquifer Exemptions” each year This is our drinking water, that they are knowingly contaminating with oil, heavy metals, and chemicals, all of them toxic poisons per the CDC, the NIH, and the WHO, and surprisingly enough, even per the EPA, the agency that issues these same exemptions. (Please note that the EPA also issues permits for all Offshore Drillers in US waters to dump billions of gallons of toxic wastewater each year into our oceans, which we eat from, and in which our kids swim.)

We call the toxic world in which we find ourselves, the Theater of the Absurd Status Quo, because it is absurd in more ways than one. First, the fact that we are poisoning our children, ourselves, and every animal on this planet, with thousands of toxic chemicals and heavy metals, and pouring more billions of tons of toxic chemicals and heavy metals into the environment each year, that will prove to ensure future generations will also be poisoned, is absolutely absurd. And the fact that we know about it, if piecemeal, and the fact that we don’t stop, and that we keep doing the same thing, the mark of insanity, is doubly absurd.

And don’t let Industry, and the Republicans and Duplicitous Democrats to whom it is contributing, hide behind the fog of so many toxics in our environment, or hide behind the subterfuge of further testing being required, or allowing industry scientists or propagandists, in order to delay action and to perpetuate the status quo, cast doubt on the tests that have already been conducted.

These are poisons. This is scientific proven fact, whether through the disciplines of toxicology or endocrinology. Independent animal testing has been conducted, in many cases with cancer tumors presented. Arsenic, a heavy metal, will kill you. We use it in rat poison. Yet, to make our poultry and pork pinker, we allow the feeding operations to put arsenic in the animal feed, for the food we eat. We know pesticides, from runoff into ponds, alter hormones, when we dissect a frog having both ovaries and testes. And we wonder why more male babies are being born with birth defects involving their penises, for just one example. But, there are thousands of examples equally as concerning and absurd. We don’t need more testing as much as we need action, that is, if we wish to maintain a habitable planet.

And in the election of 2016 in the US (and we see the same phenomenon taking place with conservative pro-business governments all over the world,) we witness the Hyper Theater of the Absurd Status Quo, where the top Republican candidates for president of the US are promising to end all environmental regulations, in order to give business a free-for-all in dumping toxics, citing the interests of the “economy”. They use the reasoning that this is the only way we can compete in a global market, that if we would be forced to continue to comply with our troublesome regulations, which other nations are not, that this will always make us uncompetitive. Indeed the top Republican candidates (both Trump and Cruz) are promising to actually do away with the federal EPA, and even if they’re not able to accomplish that, if a Republican legislature cuts funding, they can do so de facto. If the regulations and their enforcement were working and sufficient, the US would not be experiencing so many toxic hazards. But instead of sanely seeking to strengthen these regulations to protect their own families and fellow humans, these Republican reactionaries’ response is to rid themselves of all restraints to pollute.

We all breathe the air, and 50% of American homes, 95% of homes in rural areas, depend on well water, groundwater, for drinking water. Whether they use well water or municipal, millions of Americans are being warned not to drink the water, and depend on the EPA to test it, and here the Republicans are promising to do away with all the regulations and the very agency charged with protecting the safety of their own children’s and their environment, Absurd!

And the Poisoning goes on, in massive global proportions, and there seems to be no conscience or worry of liability. Everyone knows the toxic legacy of Monsanto, Dow, DuPont, Exxon, Shell, Union Carbide, etc.

But there are many more examples of which few have heard. Dominion Colour Corporation, in Toronto, Canada, is still one of the largest lead paint exporters, despite common knowledge that lead poisoning should be regarded as a hazard. They and other lead paint manufacturers in the US (still to this day) and others around the world are responsible for the proliferation of toxic lead paint to India, Asia, and Africa, where children will eventually eat the lead paint chips and be poisoned, and that should be considered criminal. The town of Asbest in Russia is still shipping tons of Asbestos all over the world to be used in brake pads (still allowed in the US), and for use in new construction in many parts of the world, even though the WHO and most doctors in this world are well aware of the dangers of Mesothelioma. There are thousands more examples of toxic atrocities happening today all over the world, and right next door. 

The total disregard for public and worker health in most of these cases is tantamount to committing murder. These are homicidal crimes against humanity, and the criminals should be prosecuted, or at very least, be stopped.

Part 2: Burn Pits

One such crime, of which most aren’t aware, that exemplifies that total disregard for humanity we discussed, was criminally committed by the US Military on our own troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as on the local populations, men, women, and children. We urge our politicians, who claim they “love” and “support” our veterans, to recognize this as a cautionary tale of what can happen in a landscape of no environmental regulations.

With many tens of thousands of troops, and full operations, lots of tons of garbage are generated. In order to dispose of it, the Department of Defense contracted KBR, related to Dick Cheney’s Halliburton. Instead of handling the task responsibly and building modern high efficiency incinerators, with proper height smokestacks, they decided to dig trenches, some as large as 10 acres, and dump all the garbage in them, and then with jet fuel as an accelerant, burn the whole mess “military style”. Besides the toxins that, everyone knows, come from burning plastic. the “garbage” burned also consisted of chemicals, paint, medical waste, human feces, metal, aluminum cans, munitions, lead and lithium batteries, unexploded ordnance, petroleum and lubricant products, rubber, wood, and discarded food.

Many soldiers, who dared to open their mouths, initially complained of eye irritation and burning, coughing and throat irritation, breathing difficulties, skin itching, and rashes. They were told by their commanders to “man-up”, and that if it wasn’t okay, they wouldn’t be doing it.

Now, many of these young brave veterans, are developing cancers, leukemia, and severe respiratory illnesses, and there is the fear of genotoxic damage yielding birth defects, as has been exhibited, along with the cancers and respiratory illnesses, in the local populations, (though this is not yet confirmed by the WHO). Also without any confirmation that this was the cause, Beau Biden, our Vice President’s son, who died recently from brain cancer, was quite probably exposed to these same Burn Pits that were operating while he served in Iraq.

Over 50,000 US troops have registered in the Burn Pit Registry, though the Military has not yet taken responsibility. Remember, it took 27 years before the troops in the Agent Orange Registry were acknowledged and given any care or attention.

Even if some of the KBR executives were not Americans, and this pertains to the Americans as well, every Boy Scout Handbook worldwide in every language instructs never to burn plastic, that it gives off poisonous gases. (Also Dioxin.) Everyone knows this. And we’re not talking about burning a plastic cup in a bonfire. We’re talking about burning hundreds of tons of plastic and other toxics. And many soldiers and officers who reenlisted and took multiple tours were exposed to these toxins repeatedly for years. Burning human feces at uneven temperatures creates an infectious aerosol. We could go on and on. In hundreds of ways these young veterans, our children, were being poisoned by our own nation, and by the greed fostered by ‘privatization’

It is unbelievable that our own military could do anything so heinous to our own troops, and/or to the local residents, most of whom are innocents, but this is what happens when private contractors are not restrained by any environmental regulations, as they found themselves in Iraq and Afghanistan. They figured they were outside of US borders. They could do anything they liked So, they picked the cheapest way, in order to maximize their millions in profits. Please tell this horror story to all the Republicans (and this goes for all pro-business conservatives), who claim they “love” and “support” our veterans, but at the same time are now promising in their campaign speeches to rescind all environmental regulations here in our own Homeland, at risk of our families’ Health and Security.

Part 3: Toxic Threats in Air, Water, and Soil Pollution

The next section of this report will include, toxic category by toxic category, some of the information and a few of the thousands of relevant news stories that we feel must be mentioned. You may have no knowledge of some of these stories, as many of them have not yet been broken by mainstream media, but, though some of them will never make it into the news cycle, many are so big, that we believe you will hear of them eventually. In order to include as much and to be as brief as possible, we will only be able to touch on each of these stories, so we encourage you to pursue them further through your internet search engines. They are all there. Our reporting has been fact checked with multiple credible sources. We didn’t make this stuff up.

Part 4: Toxic Heavy Metals – Lead, Mercury, Arsenic, and More

As we mentioned earlier in this report, Flint Michigan is just the tip of the iceberg. Flint is a particularly heinous example, in that the crisis was precipitated by a conservative government that in the name of fiscal responsibility were criminally irresponsible in changing to a corrosive toxic water source, the dirty, Flint River, and wouldn’t listen to the complaints of the community, and reverse their decision, even in the face of lead poisoning, until they were forced to do so. That disaster, like many, is still ongoing.

Any official or politician or news person who acts surprised about lead poisoning is being disingenuous. The tragedy of children being poisoned by eating lead paint chips and/or breathing lead tainted dust has been around for many decades. Any building built before 1978 is painted with lead paint, and much of the nation’s plumbing is with lead pipes, and unless big money is spent for remediation, it will be there to poison children for decades to come.

Thousands of years ago the ancient Romans pursued the concept of indoor plumbing using lead pipes, and became aware of the brain damaging dangers of lead, and for that reason banished lead mining and smelting to the provinces. The danger of lead is not new.

Until 1974, gasoline was sold in the United States with lead as an anti-knock additive, and in the transition, gas stations also sold “unleaded” for the newer cars, (though all gasoline contains some lead even without the lead additive) which is the only fuel, other than diesel (which is higher in lead content) used today. Because of the car exhaust with the old leaded gasoline in most cities for many years, the strip of grass (or dirt, in many cases, because grass will not grow) in most cities between the sidewalk and the street the soil tests for lead at extremely high hazardous levels. Parents, who allow their kids to play in that strip, breathing in the dust and getting some in their mouths, are watching their children being poisoned with Lead right in front of their homes, yet these parents aren’t even aware. They never get the warning.

High levels of lead in the water have been reported in many cities for many years, recently in Jackson, MS, Newark, NJ, and Los Angeles, CA, but for many years also in Washington DC, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. Lead in the water of more Americans is being reported every day, many times threatened by lead plumbing pipes. The fact that they’re finding lead in the water in schools is particularly frightening, because of lead’s devastating effect on cognition, the ability to learn, in the developing brain.

The fact that Newark, NJ schools stopped purchasing $75 lead filters for the children’s water fountains is criminal. This type of careless criminal behavior vis-à-vis environmental issues is happening all over our Nation (particularly in States with Republican governors), and around the world.

We also found that regulatory officials in many States have been gaming the lead level tests, by running the water for 20 or 30 minutes, and removing the aerators, before taking samples. We’ve seen an EPA letter warning the States to stop these deceptive practices. The State officials obviously are doing all they can to achieve the lowest lead levels in their tests, perhaps due to the prohibitive costs of changing the plumbing, and even with their cheating, high levels are often detected.

Besides the dangers of lead paint and lead pipes, the environment is also being inundated with lead and other toxic heavy metals like Arsenic, Chromium, Cadmium, and Mercury from power generation, mining, and industry. This pollution is not just in Air Pollution from the burning of fossil fuels, but also gets into the water from the toxic Coal Ash that is stored in ponds behind every coal power station, and from Tailings Ponds behind every mine, many of them abandoned. These unlined ponds have been leaking toxic heavy metals into the ground and surface waters for decades. Also, imagine a Coal Ash or Tailings Pond, filled to overflowing with toxic chemicals and heavy metals, in the torrential downpour rains of climate change.

Virginia has just passed a law to allow it to dispose of some of these highly toxic coal ash ponds by the controversial process of ‘de-watering’, sending the wastewater down the Potomac and James Rivers. People eat the fish they catch in these rivers and kids swim in them when it gets hot. This is careless recklessness.

Toxic coal ash ponds and mine tailings ponds are a hazard all over the world. There been four major disasters in recent years involving breaches of these ponds with devastating results. (Coal Ash in 70 miles of the Dan River in North Carolina, the Mount Polley copper and gold tailings pond in Canada disaster, the Colorado River turned yellow from a gold mine breach disaster, and a recent Brazilian disaster that destroyed a huge ecosystem that reached all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.). And with hundreds of thousands of these ponds in the US and millions around the world, another terrible pond breach could happen at any moment.

Governor Jerry Brown of California recently appropriated $176 million to dig up and remove the soil in about 10 square miles of Los Angeles that has been poisoned by the Exide lead battery recycling plant, including schoolyards and churchyards and front and back yards where children play. Many children have already shown symptoms and have tested high for lead. The dust with lead content in hot LA from the soil removal will be a major problem, with the environmental workers having to wear protective suits, and we are certain, the residents will need to be evacuated during the excavation. This is major, and we would surmise that there are many other lead battery recycling plants, and other industrial plants, that have spread lead and other heavy metal contaminants into the air, water and soil, in every major US city and elsewhere around the world.

One such story is in beautiful Portland Oregon, where two glass factories have polluted the soil of a large swath of Portland with high levels of Arsenic. The suggestion was made to grow vegetables in Portland in raised gardens with fresh soil, and not in the Arsenic tainted soil. We have found instances of leafy vegetables grown in other parts of the US rejected for high Arsenic content, which also comes from pesticides.

Mercury, originating in fossil fuel air pollution and from industrial processes, is a major threat to all who eat not only saltwater fish, but, as we recently discovered, freshwater fish, as well. It is bio magnified up the food chain, so that in the ocean tuna, for an example, is higher in Mercury than other fish, which is the reason we are all told to moderate our eating of tuna. Mercury is a threat to 2.6 billion people, who eat seafood as their principle source of protein, and more billions of us who eat fish occasionally. The more we burn fossil fuels, the more tons of Mercury will be deposited into our oceans, rivers, streams and lakes and the more will be absorbed by the fish. And as many are not aware, fishmeal is often used as a component of animal feed, so we’re not just talking fish.

Part 5: Toxic Radioactivity

Every one of us knows that Nuclear Power is not “Clean Energy”, and that our Nuclear Bomb program is old, dilapidated, and leaky, and as Obama’s recent nuclear summit in DC (without Putin) explored, vis-a-vis terrorism as well, it is fraught with peril. Accidents and leaks can happen along the entire chain from the mining of Uranium to the transportation, to the processing, to more transportation to the reactors, to storage, to more transportation or storage, to the waste disposal. Whether for peaceful power generation or for the nuclear bomb program, there are so many opportunities for life threatening radiation to escape. The aging Indian Point Nuclear Plant near NYC, among other accidents at that facility, recently spilled radioactive isotopes into the groundwater, and this type of accidental event has occurred in newer nuclear reactors, as well.

You’re all aware of the meltdown of the nuclear reactor in Fukushima, Japan, and that this catastrophe is still not resolved, with radioactive isotopes literally pouring into the Pacific and being carried by the ocean currents and wind currents all over the world. Besides the worry that we could ever see a potential meltdown in any of our nuclear power plants in the US, there are five other radioactive hazards you should be aware of, happening right now in the US.

The first is Radon, responsible for 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year. Yes, radioactivity is fatal, and though Radon comes directly from the Radium in the ground, it can also be found in all Natural Gas, particularly high in the Marcellus Shale, feeding many of the homes in the East. It can also be found inside many homes in the Marcellus Shale, especially during summer months, presumably through open windows, and this is most likely the case in other fracking field regions, especially in areas of higher Radon Potential. Every fracked oil well also produces Natural Gas that is most often vented or flared, and the flames of flaring do nothing to burn or reduce the Radon, a heavy radioactive inert gas that sinks to the ground, even from high gas flare towers. Please read about Radon, and why we need to test our homes.

The second nuclear threat we feel we must discuss is Fracking. 15 million Americans live within 1 mile of a fracked oil or gas well. Most people don’t realize that all backflow wastewater from fracking wells, and wastewater from coal mines, or from any mines, contains radioactivity from the natural Uranium and Radium deep within the Earth. And the Natural Gas vented or flared from every oil or gas well must flow through Socks, that become radioactive with the particles it catches. These Socks and all Well Tailings are dangerously radioactive, and must be disposed of in landfills that are willing to accept radioactivity. We’ve heard of landfills turning off their radioactivity alarms in order to accept waste that would otherwise test beyond their limit to accept. Of course, the radioactivity can leach from landfills into groundwater. And over the years, besides wastewater injection deep into the earth (with earthquake risk), many trillions of gallons of toxic radioactive fracking and mining wastewater have been transported to municipal wastewater treatment plants, that do virtually nothing to remove or alter the Heavy Metals, EDC chemicals, and Radioactivity in the treatment they provide, before they deposit the tainted water into our rivers. People don’t realize that fracking presents a real nuclear threat, through air, water, and soil, to every one of us, including pets, animals, and fish.

Third, from the big rush to build atomic bombs and nuclear reactors, there are 15,000 Abandoned Uranium Mines in the West alone, with tons of highly radioactive tailings beside them. The radioactive dust from these abandoned mines and tailings piles blows in the dry winds of the West, and this radioactive dust lodges in people’s lungs to promote cancer. 4500 of these abandoned mines are in Navajo country and 2500 of them are in the state of Wyoming. Native American people have been plagued with a literal genocide, where the air at sacred sites and their groundwater is polluted with radioactivity. The genocide never ended. And the radioactive dust from these 15,000 mines, many on sacred sites, gets blown in the legendary Great Plains winds into the streams, and moves down our rivers into our lakes and ocean, and is carried to other parts of America and the world by the winds and jet stream.

The fourth story is that high levels of nitrates in synthetic fertilizers from Big Agriculture have been leaching radioactivity from the natural Uranium in the Earth into the groundwater aquifers. The nitrates in the fertilizer are causing Uranium to become much more soluble in water causing the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest in the US, in the heartland of our country, and the Central Valley Aquifer in California, to test with elevated levels of radioactivity. Millions drink from these 2 aquifers, and many more millions eat vegetables fed by them.

The fifth and last nuclear threat in this report is the underground fire in the Bridgeton Landfill in St. Louis, Missouri, that has been smoldering since at least 2010, that they have  been unable to extinguish, giving off noxious fumes, for which they’ve spent millions to try to mitigate the awful odors. The major concern is that there are 9,000 tons of highly radioactive waste from the nuclear bomb program in that same landfill (with nearly 100,000 tons more in the adjacent West Lake Landfill, both designated as Superfund sites), leaching into groundwater from that landfill, with the dual threat that the fire is getting to within 1,000 feet of that nuclear waste. No one knows what might happen if the fire reaches the waste. Officials have predicted that only Radon and gases might flow, rather than a plume of radioactive particles and smoke. In any case, this is a potential disaster of vast proportions for millions of American citizens in Kansas and Missouri and beyond.

Part 6: Toxic Chemicals and EDCs – Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals

Our Drinking Water, whether it’s municipal, well water, or bottled water, is polluted with traces of chemicals; 2100 different chemicals have been revealed in water, and many of them are also found in our blood. Air Pollution is another major source of not just heavy metals, but also a myriad of chemicals. Most are toxic, but are in small enough doses that there is no apparent effect. Toxicologically, the dosage is most often deemed safe, but many of these EDC designer chemicals, synthesized (mostly from fossil fuels) in laboratories over the past 75 years, have been recognized as hormone disruptors. Although the dosage in blood is measured in parts per billion, or even parts per trillion, the toxicologists may call it a safe level, any doctor of endocrinology anywhere in this world will explain that even tiny doses of EDCs can throw off the delicate balance of sexual, thyroid, adrenal, etc., hormones with devastating health impacts, especially in children (prenatal through teen) in critical stages of development.

Prominent scientists from every nation confirm that EDCs are dangerous toxic chemicals with abundant and severe health consequences, and yet we allow them to be used, with no testing or approval, in everyday consumer products in our homes, in our gardens, and in our food, and they get into our water, soil, and air. EDCs are no more a figment of our imagination than is the Science of Climate Change. The World Health Organization and our National Institute of Health are in agreement, that these everyday chemicals are dangerous, yet Industry, through their army of paid scientists and funded academics, would have you believe these chemicals are harmless.

It’s easy to call our concern “overblown” and accuse us of “sensationalism”, until it gets personal, when your own precious child or loved one develops, God forbid, Cancer, or any chronic illness or condition arising from these chemicals, as more and more Americans are being confronted with each day, and, then, it’s not so easy to disregard this ubiquitous threat.

It’s so important that you read Chemistry GoneWild, so you will be, at least, informed of where these chemicals are, because only you can protect your children, your loved ones, and yourself from these dangerous chemicals. Don’t count on the government, with its “business – friendly” laws, or on your favorite trusted store, or on your favorite name brand, to protect you. That is Fantasy Land.

Now we’d like to focus on just one of the many EDCs, featured in Chemistry Gone Wild, in order to illustrate several points, and this estrogenic EDC is one of the most familiar, Bisphenol A (BPA). 8,000,000,000 pounds of BPA are produced per year and its usage is growing at 5% per year, flatter in the US, but over 10% per year in it Asia and China. It’s also interesting that the price of BPA has risen over 300% since 2009 from $70 per metric ton to $220 per metric ton, so that it is now an $8 billion market. The producers of BPA, and the whole plastics and chemical industry have a vested interest in keeping their gravy train going, so they fund the American Chemical Council, that campaigns in their interests, and they fund a massive PR Program to convince the public that BPA is perfectly safe, BPA, the same chemical banned by Congress in baby bottles (because the EPA, with the current impotent TSCA chemical law, couldn’t do it).

Meanwhile, 8 billion more pounds of this non-biodegradable synthetic substance are added into the environment each year. No wonder it’s everywhere, measurable in most sources of water, and in our blood. Also note that every paper dollar bill is coated with BPA from contact with receipts and lottery tickets. When you buy a parking meter ticket, or get a parking violation ticket, or a lottery ticket, or a boarding pass, or touch the label on your pharmaceutical drug bottles, etc., they are all printed on inkless printers using BPA (or BPA-free BPS, which is just as toxic per the NIH) to make an image on the paper without ink. When you put that parking ticket on your windshield, you are coating your windshield with BPA. When the ticket falls to the floor, you are coating your car carpets with BPA. When your child’s toy falls on the carpet, it gets dusted with a small amount of BPA.

And don’t think Hand Sanitizers will save you. As studied by the Environmental Defense Fund, the ingredient, Dermal Penetration Enhancer, allows 185 times more BPA to be absorbed into your skin from contact. Another dangerous EDC ingredient in Hand Sanitizers and in Disinfectants, Triclosan, is something that should be avoided. Soap and water is much safer to use to wash off these chemicals, but even here, beware of “Fragrance” in the ingredients of most soap and hand creams, because that means the estrogenic EDC, Phthalates.

The point is these everyday chemicals in our food and consumer products have turned our world, our pockets, our purses, our wallets, our homes, and our bodies, into toxic dumps. And the corporations’ goal is to perpetuate this Theater of the Absurd Status Quo to ensure their profits, regardless of the effects on our health.

Millions of Americans in 94 Water Districts in 27 States have levels of PFOA (Teflon - #DuPontKnew) and PFOS (Airport Runway Foam - #DODKnew) in their tap water, and increasingly, communities, like North Bennington, Vermont, and Hoosick Falls, New York, are being warned by the EPA to stop drinking their tap and/or well water. These Perfluorinated EDC chemicals have been linked to birth defects, miscarriages, cancers, amongst other horrors.

Water wells in 31 states for 15 million Americans were contaminated by 2003 with the now banned substance, MTBE, a toxic EDC gasoline antiknock additive, linked to leukemia and lymphoma.

Persistent EDCs, like DDT, Dioxin, PCBs, PBDE (flame retardants), just like Lead and Mercury, remain in our bodies, but some EDCs, like BPA and Phthalates, are less persistent in our bodies, but not in the environment. Your kidneys and liver can efficiently clean out, detox, your system in little time, if you stop ingesting BPA and Phthalates (and if you don’t “re-tox” your system every day, like most do), but when they leave your body in your urine and feces, municipal sewage treatment does little to break these non-biodegradable chemicals down, and they end up back in the water, in the effluent from the treatment plants to pollute our water supplies and rivers, lakes, oceans, and fish. All vertebrates, even fish, have endocrine systems, much like ours, and can be equally harmed by EDCs.

Perchlorate, from rocket fuel, fireworks and explosives, is a dangerous listed EDC, and yet millions of Americans are drinking it without adequate warning. In NRDC’s law suit against the EPA, “Perchlorate is a toxic chemical that has been detected in the water systems that serve up to 16.6 million Americans. Even at low levels, it can present serious health risks to children and pregnant women.”

Perhaps the greatest EDC threat to humans and to every living organism on this planet, are the neurotoxic and estrogenic Pesticides and Herbicides (GMOs) sprayed on our crops (and in our gardens and on our lawns), that get into our food, our water, and our bodies, (and even harm our unborn children - for the benefit of the Right-To-Lifers). And studies have been done to prove Roundup, and other formulations with their additives, is 1,000 times more genotoxic, promoting birth defects, than the EDC, Glyphosate, alone.

Other threats arising from the Agricultural Sector, (and also a common ingredient in processed foods) are the synthetic nitrates and phosphates from industrial fertilizers, that pollute our waters, and cause neurotoxin producing Algae Blooms and Dead Zones in our lakes and oceans (and even in our rivers, with the unprecedented case last summer of an Algae Bloom on 650 miles of the Ohio River). Mothers who live in areas of high nitrates are being warned never to feed that water to a baby under six months old. These synthetic nitrates and phosphates are toxic, and not just to animals and us, but are also toxic to the Climate, as 80% of the N2O produced on this planet emanates from the production and application of Synthetic Fertilizers. Nitrous Oxide is a greenhouse gas that is 400 times worse than CO2, and 4 times worse than Methane (CH4), as a promoter of Global Warming, and there is an possible alternative, Organic Agriculture.

Finally, let us mention quickly several chemicals that are intentionally added to our water systems. Chlorine is used to keep down bacteria and viruses, though it does produce a toxic disinfection byproduct, Trihalomethane. Chloramine, which is being used in Stockton, CA, should be avoided at all costs, since as Erin Brockovich urgently points out, when you add simple iodized table salt, to, let’s say, boil pasta, a chemical reaction produces iodic acid, which is 10,000 times more toxic than Trihalomethanes, the toxic byproduct of Chlorine. Fluoride is another EDC additive to water that has been controversial for, at least, 60 years. Although some swear by it, it has been known to produce side effects, including Fluorosis, white spots on the teeth, and some communities have been lowering the levels of this not so benign chemical, that despite the claims of safety by its enthusiastic dental proponents, has side effects ranging from cognition problems and lower IQ to Cancer, and has been known to compromise health with thyroid problems, kidney disease, fractures, and more.

We have not adequately covered the more than 2100 chemicals that have been found in our water, and we stress that many of these are sometimes found, even in higher concentrations, in bottled Spring Water, even when it is and/or tastes, preferable, because Spring Water, and Well Water, is Groundwater. We have seen thousands of examples of groundwater and well water contamination, including two in Wyoming and Pennsylvania that the EPA was until recently for 5 years too intimidated to determine that it definitely came from fracking. And bottled water, any water that is not called, “spring”, is just municipal water through a charcoal filter, so don’t count on it to be free from contaminants and additives.

The Absurd Status Quo and those businessmen, bureaucrats, and politicians that support it, are poisoning our, our children’s, and our future generations’ drinking water and air to breathe with toxic chemicals. This is the water and the air we and our families and friends depend on every day to survive.

Part 7: Toxic Gases and Particulates in Smog and Smoke

Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), and Nitrous Oxide (N2O), are not just greenhouse gases, forming a blanket around the Earth to warm our planet; they are also toxic gases. Few are aware that with the rapidly escalating concentrations of CO2 (407.02 ppm at Mauna Loa, HI on 4/7/2016), concentrations of CO2 inside our homes, schools, and businesses can be far greater, particularly in winter months when windows are shut. Indoor concentrations greater than 700 have been found to have negative impacts on cognition, the ability to learn, and some rooms in schools have been tested at concentrations of CO2 greater than 1000 ppm.

Carbon monoxide, another product of combustion, is lethal, and many other toxic gases regularly threaten our health. The subject of indoor air pollution is urgent, since it is one of the largest environmental disasters out there, causing one of the greatest numbers of environmental deaths. 25% of all deaths, per the WHO, are linked to environmental causes, and many are caused by the gases and particulates from cooking in and heating homes, particularly in poorer nations.

The Natural Gas the US and so many other countries are so proud of extracting in such abundance, and that is being used to replace the burning of coal, is comprised of 95% Methane, and Methane in itself is toxic. The other 5%, being piped into our homes and being leaked into our atmosphere in massive amounts (66 tons per hour from one shale play of 25,000 fracking wells in Eagleford, Texas, for only one example.) are the dangerous carcinogenic and or radioactive gases, Benzene, Toluene, Pentane, and Radon.

(Radon alone is responsible for the lung cancer deaths of 21,000 Americans per year. Radon has a half-life of only 3.8 days, and then breaks down to Radioactive Lead and Polonium 210, that are not gases, but radioactive solids, and adhere to dust particles, that are inhaled deep into the lungs. If 66 tons per hour of Methane, greater than the recent LA gas leak at its peak, is being leaked from the Eagleford Shale Fracking Field in Texas, and we figure 1% of that 5% is carcinogenic Benzene, and 1% is radioactive Radon, that’s almost 1,400 pounds of each being leaked per hour, and that doesn’t include the additional Radon from the Natural Gas being flared, that is inert, so it doesn’t burn, and is so heavy, it falls toward the ground where people live, and threatens their homes and their neighbors with Radiation and Cancer.)

Methyl Mercaptan, used as an additive to Natural Gas to make it stink like rotten eggs, is another danger associated with Natural Gas, because it is an EDC with side effects.

Methane in our atmosphere is spiking, with an average reading in 2015 of 1834 ppb, a level 250% higher than preindustrial levels, based on ice core readings. This is higher than it’s been in over 10,000 years, and it is continuing to grow exponentially from all the fracking for oil and gas, leaking from every stage, from production to transportation to storage to compressing it to LNG for export. The US is said to be responsible for as much as 30 to 60% of the recent global increase in Methane, a greenhouse gas more than 100 times worse for the Climate than CO2. On 2/20/2016, Methane was measured at 20,000 feet at a staggering 3,096 ppb. Escalating Methane levels, from every well in every fracking field in the US and the world, as well as from natural causes due to man-made warming, like the melting of Permafrost and the warming of our Oceans, is out of control.

Methane, Benzene, Radon and other toxic gases can also get into the water, as evidenced by well water being flammable, and set on fire right out of the faucet, after being contaminated by nearby fracking. We just heard of a river in Australia that is so 'carbonated' by methane from nearby fracking for Coal Seam Gas, that the river can be set on fire.

Nitrous Oxide (N2O), being spread in massive quantities by Big Agriculture (80% of the N2O is from synthetic fertilizer), is not just warming our planet at more than 400 times the rate of an equal amount of CO2; it is also spreading toxic nitrates into our air and water, that is lethal for babies and pregnant women, and is also responsible for worldwide toxic algae blooms.

Sulfur Dioxide (S02) from the burning of fossil fuels, a gas so corrosive, that it is actually eating into the metal in the subway system in New Delhi, India, is also corrosive to our lung tissue, skin and eyes. Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) also from burning fossil fuels is another corrosive and inflammatory gas, when it gets into our lungs and eyes. Ozone (03), is a very corrosive toxic gas that is formed from by a reaction of nitrogen oxides from the burning of fossil fuels with ultraviolet light from the sun as the catalyst. It is a major cause of the bluish haze over fracking fields, and from traffic in our cities, and is very unhealthy to breathe. Dust masks may protect people from some of the larger particulates, but they do absolutely nothing to protect us from the toxic gases.

And as dangerous as all these gases are to humans and to every living thing, the particulates in smoke and smog are even worse. All Smoke (is a result of incomplete combustion) and Smog, whether it be from the smoking of cigarettes or from the burning of fossil fuels, from wildfires, or fires set intentionally to clear land for Agriculture, are the same, in that they consist of an aerosol of particulates suspended in the air. Each particulate is a mixture of solids and liquids (drops of water), and are broken down to PM10s with a diameter of <10 microns, and fine particulates (PM2.5’s) with a diameter of <2.5 microns. A micron is one millionth of a meter.

Also called black carbon, as these black particulates pepper and melt our ice caps and glaciers, most of the smoke from the burning of fossil fuels for Power or Transportation, including smoke from wildfires and intentional fires for agriculture, and the same from cigarettes, are comprised of fine particulates, PM 2.5’s, and many are less than 1 micron in diameter. To give you an idea of just how small, a human hair is 60 microns in diameter.

The composition of these particulates varies with the type of fuels burned, for examples, particulates from the combustion of Tarsands Oil and Diesel Fuel has more heavy metals than the burning of light crude oil, or derivatives such as gasoline. But even with smoke and brush fires, smoke contains particulates with a cocktail of dangerous EDC and carcinogenic chemicals.

Fine Particulates (PM 2.5’s) are the most dangerous, because they lodge themselves deep within the lung tissue (and into the lungs of all animals) and promote cancer, as well as stillbirths, miscarriages and birth defects and a range of respiratory conditions and diseases, including asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. It’s most tragic that poor people and many times people of color, who live closer to refineries, power stations, bus depots, and heavy diesel traffic, find more of their children being plagued with asthma. Wealthier people who raise families in cities are also not immune to the effects of air pollution. And now that fracking has brought heavy tractor-trailer traffic to the countryside, this damage to health from air pollution gases and particulates is not limited to our cities.

Every fracking well for oil also produces natural gas, that is normally flared on the ground or from tall towers. My environmental activist friend from Nigeria, Nnimo Bassey, calls them “Big Cigarettes in the Sky”. They are so many, that they are visible in satellite photos, and each one is emitting an unending stream of tons of dangerous gases, including Ozone being formed by sunlight, and tons of particulates in the oily black carbon smoke from long plumes of fire. 15 million Americans live within 1 mile of a fracking well. Many neighborhoods have flares from fracking wells so close they’re visible 24 hours a day. Yet the Surgeon General’s office of the US, that demands a warning printed on every little pack of cigarettes, does nothing to warn Americans about the dangers presented by fracking, including the massive amounts of gases and particulates emitted by the flaring of natural gas, and does nothing to warn us about the terrible air pollution coming downstream of the wells from Refineries and Power Stations, including those burning Natural Gas.

In cities all over the world, Mexico City, Paris, London, worse in Beijing and other cities in China, and even worse in India, in New Delhi and Mumbai, the air pollution from traffic and other sources is so bad that you can see it.

Table 1: Estimating particulate matter concentrations from visibility assessment
Visibility in Miles
Particulate matter levels* (1-hour average,μg/m3)
10 miles and up
0 - 40
6 to 9
41 - 80 
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
3 to 5
81 - 175
1 1/2 to 2 1/2
176 - 300
Very Unhealthy
1 to 1 1/4
301 - 500
3/4 mile or less
over 500

*In wildfire smoke, most particles are less than one micron, so the values obtained by measuring either
 PM10 orPM2.5 are virtually interchangeable, and are treated as such in this document. Therefore, in the table above, the different particle levels can be measured using either PM10 or PM2.5 monitors. 

When visibility is reduced to 3/4 of a mile, the air contains >500 micrograms per cubic meter (mcg/m³) of particulates, and is considered “Hazardous”, and often in the cities mentioned, and in many more, visibility gets even lower than that, indicating an even higher concentration of toxic particulates, (and by association, toxic gases). We are filling our lungs, and the lungs of our children with this black gook, equivalent to the smoking of many packs of cigarettes.

Dust masks (for adults, children, and even for babies) though they might make people feel better and more secure, do nothing to protect anyone from the toxic gases and virtually nothing to filter out most of the dangerous fine particulates (PM 2.5’s) from fossil fuel combustion and from wildfires.

Besides the terrible health consequences (over 50 million deaths per year from air pollution), there is an element of terror in living for extended periods with smog or with the choking smoke and yellow skies of wildfires. Consider especially the psychological effects on children, who for health reasons really shouldn’t be allowed to play outside, when pollution levels are hazardous. And indoors the air pollution is almost as bad, as the fine particulates can’t be kept from penetrating. Many people living in the Western US, Canada, and Siberia, and in 2016, in Kansas and Oklahoma in March and April, and in Indonesia and Malaysia, and all over the world, have been terrorized, often for weeks or months at a time, by smoke from the fires exacerbated by Climate Change and by smog from traffic and from the burning of fossil fuels.

Part 8: Toxic Medicines in the Water Supply, Bio-hazards and Bio-pollution
Instead of covering the thousands of infectious diseases, pathogens and medical conditions plaguing the human race, this article will focus on the toxic dangers presented by the medicines, both prescription and over-the-counter, used to treat these diseases and conditions.

Infectious diseases, bacterial, viral, or fungal, whether they are waterborne like Cholera, or food-borne like E. coli and Listeria, or airborne, like influenza and tuberculosis, or insect-borne, like the Zika virus, are not just medical threats, but also environmental threats, especially after floods and environmental disasters. Like Ebola, many of these diseases are lethal, but many more die each year of dehydration from infectious bacterial related dysentery, than from Ebola.

The leading killer disease is Cardiovascular/Pulmonary Disease, presented as Heart Attacks, Strokes, and Lung Disease and Cancers, related to escalating Air Pollution, among multiple other chemical and environmental causes. Most people aren’t aware that another segment of disease, not infectious, like Cardiovascular/Pulmonary Disease, is called Autoimmune Disease, including over 100 very different diseases, including Lupus, Psoriasis, Type 1 Diabetes, Celiac, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, and so many more. The common factor in this segment is the etiology, the cause, of these conditions, which is an immune response to the person’s own body, with possible environmental triggers. 50 million in the US, 20% of the population, are enduring an Autoimmune Disease.

But our first item of focus in this article is that most don’t realize the medicines prescribed by medical doctors, or bought over-the-counter, to cure, treat or accommodate all these diseases and conditions and the accompanying pain and discomfort, are also toxic threats to the environment. Just like the toxic EDC chemicals discussed in the toxic chemicals section, they do get into our water supply, and all of these drugs have side effects and problems with combinations.

An example of one such drug, that most consider harmless, is Tylenol, Acetaminophen, that can damage the liver of a person who drinks alcohol. The combination, not one or the other, is the hazard. Who would have thought that there could be Tylenol in the water we drink, use to cook, and feed to our babies? And who would think there’d be ibuprofen and Aleve and aspirin and decongestants, asthma drugs, diabetes drugs, blood pressure drugs, anti-psychotic drugs, anti-dementia drugs, antidepressants, painkillers, opioids, and antibiotics, etc., etc., in our water? All of these drugs have been found in the water millions are drinking from the relatively clean waters of Lake Michigan, for just one example arising from a 2013 water study. Yes, the concentrations are miniscule, ppm or ppb or even ppt (parts per trillion), but the combinations of these drugs are there nonetheless. Again, a toxicologist might say that the levels of each drug by itself are so small, they’re safe, but no one has ever done studies on the long term effects of taking varying, though extremely small, doses of combinations of these medicines, with or without alcohol.

Millions of people die each year from taking these pharmaceutical medicines, either by overdose, by lethal combination, and, perhaps more often, by taking them exactly as prescribed. (Though taking high-dose vitamin regimens, or alternative cures, is often criticized by the medical establishment, very few, if any at all, die per year as a result.)

All the pharmaceutical and over-the-counter drugs we take have side effects. These side effects are read aloud on every TV commercial for every new designer drug promoted. Our favorite side effect is “sudden death”. Why would anyone be tempted to take any of these medicines? All one can do is hope that these promoted designer drugs with the laundry lists of side effects don’t become popular, because the more popular they become, the greater the chance we’ll all be drinking them in our water.   

These drugs enter our groundwater (where we get the bottled spring water) and our lakes, rivers and streams, and eventually our municipal water systems (and remember, that includes about half of the bottled water, not labeled 'spring') from improper disposal and the leaching out of the landfills, but the bigger root is through feces and urine. When we take a prescription or OTC drug, 100% of that drug is not metabolized, and much of the original drug is excreted through our waste. Standard waste treatment plants admit only to being capable of removing at best 50% of these drugs, before they are deposited through effluent into our lakes, rivers, and oceans. There are more efficient waste treatment scenarios available, including reverse osmosis, that are much more effective at removing contaminants including medicines, but most communities find the costs prohibitive, especially in these days of neglect to infrastructure, or as we call it, “irresponsibility in the name of fiscal responsibility”.

Also in much of the US and around the world, people don’t have the luxury of any municipal waste treatment, and if they treat their waste at all, they must rely on septic systems, most old and corroded, where leaks get into the groundwater.

On the subject of the antibiotics that get into our water, the reason antibiotics are always prescribed to human patients in relatively high multiple doses per day for at least seven days, and the reason we are told that we mustn’t ever shorten this regimen, is so that the offending pathogen will be killed thoroughly, and not partially, allowing it to develop adaptive resistance to that antibiotic, and, perhaps rebound. And here we are ingesting minute quantities of multiple antibiotics in the water we drink and use to cook our food. (Also note that the ubiquitous presence of pesticides and herbicides like Glyphosate, in our food, and blood, have antibiotic effects on microbes, but, again, by degrading, but not killing, the microbes, this may be encouraging adaptive antibiotic resistance response.)

Antimicrobial resistance, resistance to antibiotic, antiviral, and antifungal drugs, is mutating infectious strains of otherwise curable diseases, and posing a real threat to humans and animals most often ending in death. MRSA, a multiple antibiotic strain of the Staphylococcus (Staph) germ that originally appeared mostly in hospitals and nursing homes but recently a larger number of  antimicrobial resistant diseases are cropping up in the hospitals and elsewhere. Now, deadly superbugs, MRSA, VRE, ESBL, and CRE are presenting, with lethal strains of resistant E.coli and Salmonella bacteria threatening our food supply. (And antibiotic resistant microbes are not the only threats to our food supply. We routinely hear of food recalls for outbreaks of Listeria, for 1 example, which is undetectable by sight or smell, but can make you very sick, and can even be lethal to some.)

Besides the fact that antibiotics are being overprescribed by doctors to humans, who demand them for themselves or for their children for every minor malady, (and upon feeling better, many stop the regimen) few people realize that over 80% of all the antibiotics and antifungal drugs produced are fed to animals in industrial confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs). These antimicrobial drugs are being constantly force-fed to these animals in small maintenance doses in order to prevent diseases, and to promote rapid growth despite horrifying conditions, and in higher doses, when diseases present.

This mismanagement of the health of these poor confined animals, in order to imitate the efficiencies of an industrial operation has side effects, and one of these is that antimicrobial resistant strains of bacteria, viruses, and fungi are proliferating and becoming a worse threat to human health. Not only are the resistant microbes escaping the CAFOs on the skin and clothing of people who work in them, but these dangerous resistant bacteria are being shipped to every supermarket in America, and have been detected broadly in packages of meat and poultry. (If the meat is cooked adequately - and even organic meat is not immune from resistant strains - and  is not cooked “rare”, most bacteria, and even these antibiotic resistant bacteria, will be killed, and not harm you. But be careful of hygiene. Example, if you touch the raw meat with your hands, and then you eat something, or smoke a cigarette, or pick up a toy, or if the raw meat touches a utensil or counter, it can transfer, with potentially grave consequences.)

It’s estimated globally that as many as 700 million people are now dying per year from pathogens resistant to antimicrobials, and the US statistic is that 2 million contract resistant pathogens each year, of which 23,000 die. If your loved one contracts an infectious disease that is resistant to multiple antibiotics, there is a chance that that loved one will die, even in the best hospitals in the US. Some expert medical professionals fear, with the current overuse of antimicrobials, this situation could explode. The fact that these diseases continue to mutate, and are becoming more prevalent, is the reason this subject is so urgent.

Another threat presented by CAFOs is the massive quantities of waste produced.. Thousands or hundreds of thousands of animals under one roof being force-fed for rapid growth produce huge quantities of urine and feces. Mountains of feces could spontaneously combust, so instead, every CAFO has a man-made pond for putting all of this toxic waste, including growth hormones and other chemicals. These stinking toxic ponds overflow, especially in the torrential rains of Climate Change, or leach through torn liners (if there are any liners), and get into the groundwater, and into nearby streams, rivers and lakes, contaminating them with fecal bacteria, and quite probably with antibiotic resistant bacteria. A common practice to diminish the ponds is to spray the water up into the air, which forms a stinking aerosol that blows in the wind into nearby fields, woods, and neighborhoods.

In any case, it is very unpleasant and a real hazard to live downwind or downstream of a CAFO. Yes, besides polluting the water, when the mud dries, bacteria, viruses and fungi, including resistant superbugs, can become airborne and be transported long distances on the dust. Dangerous fecal coliform bacteria, whether from humans or animals, present a threat when they are breathed into the lungs or blow into streams and lakes, whether or not the bacteria are drug-resistant. Millions around the world die each year from dysentery and related dehydration caused by microbes and parasites getting into the food and water. In many areas of the world, clean water, or any water at all, is a luxury.

In most cities the plumbing and sewage infrastructure is old, corroded and leaky. We have heard of cities where as much as 75% of the water supply leaks out from the leaky pipes before it’s used. Given the scenario of the torrential downpours of climate change and the resulting flooding, the pressure of all that floodwater is enough to push contaminants into those leaky pipes supplying homes with water. Pathogens and parasites, as well as other pollutants, can actually get into the water pipes. And people get sick, or are told to boil their water before using it. And, hopefully if they get sick, it won’t be from resistant strains, so they can be cured.

Another threat related to CAFOs, that can be spread from animal, or human waste, is the threat of brain wasting disease, (Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy’s – TSE), such as Mad Cow Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease. In 1997, an American won the Nobel Prize for the discovery of the Prion, not a bacteria, not a virus, but a particle that through its protein attacks brain tissue, and although there is some therapy for Alzheimer’s, these diseases are incurable and universally fatal. Prions are transmitted through ingestion, and/or through contact with bodily fluids, and are extremely stable, so that they are intensely resistant to heat or chemical sterilization.

Because of the dangers presented by Prions and by antimicrobial resistant bacteria, viruses and fungi, the use of animal or human feces, or of sewage sludge, as fertilizer bears hazard. And because of the threat from Prions, the scheme of recycling urine into drinking water may not be advisable.

Finally, the subject of medical waste must be brought up in the context of this article. The concept of sterile medical waste pickup and disposal, as seen from your doctor’s office or local hospital, looks like a very reliable and responsible system, reinforced by the corporate names, Stericycle, Waste Management, Bio Medical Waste Solutions, and Medical Waste Services, for some of the largest. But in practice, these medical waste disposal companies with billions of dollars of revenue operate for profit, and are not as thorough and safe as they should be, when the incoming trucks line up, the assembly line backs up, and the corporate bosses demand more productivity, and suddenly health and safety concerns goes out the window.

The constant truckloads of medical waste include a vast, stinking assortment of body parts, organs, fetuses, soiled bandages, needles, syringes, intravenous tubes, colostomy bags, etc., much of which is plastic. You remember from the earlier segment in this report on the story of the Burn Pits of Iraq and Afghanistan poisoning our troops and the locals, that the burning of plastic produces Dioxin, a known carcinogen. Some properties close to Stericycle’s Utah facility have tested as high for Dioxin as toxic Superfund sites (Love Canal).

Stericycle, one of the largest, headquartered in Illinois, runs a medical waste incinerator in North Salt Lake in “business-friendly” Utah, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, their only disposal facility for 8 States, including California that doesn’t allow their own citizens to be exposed to these massive amounts of toxins. If half of what was reported by EnviroTV is true, much of it revealed by an anonymous eyewitness whistleblower, the whole scheme is an utter nightmare, and a threat to the community and to anyone downwind, including all of us. And if what we hear of Stericycle’s Utah operation is at all indicative of the state of the industry, then reality is far from the myth presented of health and safety being the priority.

Among the allegations, the illegal burning of radio nucleotides in radioactive medical waste, malfunctioning test equipment, zero protective equipment available to the workers (other than dust masks, and occasionally, when they wash out the boiler, they are issued raincoats), massive releases of dioxins and bio hazards from the emergency short smokestack (with black smoke blowing into a community with elementary schools when the scrubbers in the long stack get jammed – video evidence of this), “smoke outs” inside the facility (with workers without respirators ordered to continue working), partially burnt body parts not being run back through the incinerator, as would be standard (but sent directly to the landfill), and the possibility of microbial resistant Superbugs and Prions getting out into the community, either coming out of the stacks, or leaching from the incompletely burned ashes in the landfills,  or carried out on the shoes, clothing and skin of the workers, or, with the torrential rains of climate change, washing out of the trailers and out of the large facility onto neighboring properties.

Erin Brockovich, an activist featured in this issue’s video section, who normally involves herself with water issues such as many reported in this article, has been involved with this Utah community’s struggle to stop the threat posed to their health by this dangerous medical waste incinerator. 

Toxic Mold – Biohazard

As more and more Americans are plagued by Flooding, both coastal, from Sea Level Rise, and inland, from the torrential rains of Climate Change, mold, a type of fungus, and mold spores become a bigger biohazard threat. When your house is flooded, you have no choice but to strip the interior down to the studs, and replace all the wallboard. Otherwise, there is no way to stop the growth of mold and mildew, risking the inhalation and ingestion of mold spores and mycotoxins. Some people are more sensitive to molds than others, but living with mold is never healthy.

Not all black molds are as neurotoxic as the species, Stachyboros chartarum, known as Toxic Black Mold, which causes confusion and severe mental, neurological, respiratory, circulatory, and immune system problems.

Part 9: Toxic Asbestos, Silica Sand and Talcum / Baby Powder

Asbestos is one of the poster children of the Theatre of the Absurd Status Quo.  Most Americans think Asbestos is banned or illegal. The reason most of the us are under that false impression is that for decades we’ve seen TV ads for Liability Attorneys specializing in Asbestos and Mesothelioma, that surely lethal cancer of the lung that comes from inhaling Asbestos, usually on the job, with the promise of sure payouts to the afflicted, or to the family after deceased. Also for decades we’ve seen teams of specialists going into buildings all over America in White Space Suits and Respirators to remove the toxic Asbestos, before the building is deemed safe for reentry.

Though Asbestos is banned in 50 nations, and though a US law was passed by a bipartisan Congress in 1989, the Asbestos Ban and Phase Out Rule, the same law was overturned by the Courts in 1991. Since then, though it is still not legal to be used as building insulation, or in paper, or in any “ new” products in the US, Asbestos is still being produced, and continues to be distributed widely in the form of dozens of everyday products. These include brake pads and linings, transmissions and clutch facings, gaskets, cement sheets and shingles, clothing, Pipeline wrap, roofing coatings, and vinyl floor tiles, amongst others.

Along every trafficked road and highway in America, besides the products of combustion of gasoline and diesel, a portion of the PM10 particulates is Asbestos particles, tiny glasslike needles (approximately 4 µ), that we breathe into our lungs, risking Asbestosis, Mesothelioma and Death. There have been many documented cases of traffic cops who have died from Asbestos exposure, and all people who live or work near roads are at risk.

Still to this day, Russia, one of the chief sources, is shipping Asbestos, not just to the US for brakes and other products, but also for use as sprayed building insulation, still being used mostly in Africa and Asia, to poison people and animals in these nations, until the remediation workers in their White Space Suits and Respirators arrive to remove it years from now, if we ever get that far. These are Crimes Against Humanity.

Silica Sand

Another major health threat is the Dust from Silica Sand, Respirable Crystalline Silica, like tiny shards of glass when breathed into the lungs of humans or animals. Silica sand in massive quantities is being mined and transported for the Fracking industry. Every time a well is fracked and 2 million gallons of water is injected while Fracking a well, in addition to hundreds of toxic chemicals, 8 to 10 million pounds of Silica Sand is mixed in and injected in order to prop open the fractures in the rock, which will allow them to yield Gas or Oil.  For each Frack job, and most wells must be fracked multiple times in their lifetime, 40 to 50 hundred-ton rail cars of Silica Sand must be mined, transferred, and transported. From the rail transfer station to the well sites, all this Silica Sand must be loaded into 50,000 pound truckloads, roughly 160 to 200 truckloads per Frack job. Though the EPA and the DOT insist that the toxic dust generated by this transportation be minimized, OSHA in their published health documents is well aware of the hazards presented by Respirable Crystalline Silica, and the lethal Silicosis and Cancers that may result from inhaling it. They insist that respirators must always be used in these areas, but when the temperatures rise, this is all too often ignored, at great risk to people’s health.

Frack workers are at Ground Zero for breathing in this dust, but transportation and leakage during the transportation down our highways, railways, and roads, and by our homes, of these massive quantities of sand are threats to us all. No matter how well the rail cars and trucks are tarped, as prescribed by the EPA, some Silica dust always leaks, and at the transfer points massive amounts become airborne. With the hot dry winds of climate change, this dangerous dust is being blown long distances from sand mines, highways, railways, transfer points, and well pads all over America, and in this way, too, we all are in danger from Fracking.


In many older installations of Astro-turf, in schools and stadiums, Silica Sand is used as “infill” to prop up the Artificial plastic blades of grass, 1 to 2 pounds per square foot. When an athlete falls, and a puff of dust comes up, it is toxic, and the health of their lungs is at risk.)

Talcum / Baby Powder

Another related threat, since, like Asbestos and Silica Sand, it is silica-based, is the exposure to Talcum Powder and Baby Powder, (Hydrated Magnesium Silicate), that is currently being brought into the forefront by Liability Attorneys promising large settlements. There is a Cancer risk from the PM10 crystalline particles to the lungs from inhalation, and to the ovaries from application for feminine hygiene. Johnson and Johnson, one of the largest producers, is alleged to have had prior knowledge of the hazards, and has already paid out large settlements. It is remarkable that a product we all considered so innocuous that we use it on our babies and ourselves, and has been used in barbershops for over 100 years, can present such a threat. (Also, Talcum Powder, amongst other silicates, chemicals, and powders, has been utilized as anti-caking agents in table salt and sugar and other such powdered products.)

Part 10: How to Live in a Toxic World

We’d like to share 12 common sense pieces of advice on the subject of ”living in a toxic world”, bearing in mind that these are our opinions, and that, as we remind you on each of our posts, we don’t present ourselves as experts or academics. We listed these A through L, just for reference, and not to be interpreted as sequence of action. We developed this list through our observations of hundreds of weather disasters, floods, fires, spills, explosions, mine tailings breaches, and so many natural disasters and anthropogenic catastrophes, including the lead poisoning of Flint, Michigan. Throughout this post we have reported briefly on many of these incidents, but each has its own stories and lessons to be learned.

A. Trust Your Nose

If it smells bad, it probably is. When you smell food that has gone bad, you don’t eat it. Everyone knows the “electrical” smell or “chemical” smell, the smell of a gas leak or oil spill, or the smell of a forest fire or house fire. Smells are something we never forget. One never forgets the smells of war, and we’ll never forget the smell of lower Manhattan, that lasted for over a year, after the World Trade Center came down.

There are many poisonous gases that are odorless, but if you smell something bad, that is the time to evacuate the area if you are able to, even before the danger from exposure has been confirmed. And if you smell a bad or unusual scent in the water, be suspect.

An expert once told us that the nose is the best “mass spectrometer”, a scientific instrument that identifies poisonous gases. Perhaps the reason is that our noses are always available, and operative, unlike test equipment.

B. Trust Your Eyes

If the smoke or smog reduces visibility to .75 mile or less, that air is considered “Hazardous”, and if you can only see 1.25 miles or less, the air is “Very Unhealthy” to breathe, permeated with a dangerous aerosol of toxic gases and carcinogenic particulates. (Please read and see the chart in the section, Toxic Gases and Particulates.)

If you see a fire, or an explosion, or smoke, recognize that, since the air is most likely so unhealthy, and since dust masks don’t work at all to protect you from the gases and PM10 particulates, this is the time to evacuate the area if possible, and to take precautions.

Regarding water, many toxics aren’t visible, but if you see cloudiness or brown or any color in your water, be suspect, and if you can manage to find an alternative, try not to drink that water, or to use it to cook or wash.

C. Don’t Trust Everything You Hear From The Authorities

Recognize that what the authorities tell you is as a result of a meeting between officials, law enforcement and politicians, where they decided what to tell you, and what not to tell you (yet). Even if you hear from the agency charged with disseminating information, and you believe they are legitimate, and that they certainly wouldn’t want to be caught in a lie, what they tell you is tempered by their desire not to “panic” the public, so in the first few days, or weeks, or months, they might hide behind “waiting for more information”, or “more testing”, even if they already know more than they’re telling you. Even when they eventually tell you the water’s safe to drink or the air’s safe to breathe, and it may really not be, (like when former EPA Chief Christie Whitman, after 9/11, told hundreds of thousands of families living in lower Manhattan that the air was safe), realize that, if it isn’t safe, you will not be the first to know. If you smell something bad, or see something bad, despite what they tell you, that is the best time to evacuate, if you can, especially if you have young children to protect,. Waiting for the authorities to tell you what to do might be too late.

D. Protect the Most Vulnerable

It is especially urgent that we recognize that even if we have no alternative to exposing ourselves to toxics, that we make every effort not to expose children, pregnant women, the elderly, or the unhealthy.

The repetition and length of time of exposure should also be limited if at all possible. For an example, if a person has respiratory problems, and they are exposed to smoke, it may restrict their ability to breathe. And the longer they are exposed, and this applies to healthy people as well, the more critical it may get. Especially when children are exposed to toxics in key stages of development, from the womb through teenager, they are often permanently harmed by toxics.

E. Reduce Toxic Exposure and Detox, But Don’t “Re-tox”

Where you can, try to limit exposure and length of time and repetition of exposure to toxics.

If it’s a matter of buying, using, or eating one product over another, for an example, canned soup/foods vs. no cans (BPA), go for the non-canned food alternative. Avoid Freak of Nature Foods - GMOs, Processed Foods, Junk Foods, and Fast Foods. And try to eat Organic Foods to reduce your exposure to toxic pesticides, herbicides, chemicals, and additives.

Some of the toxins in this report are so ubiquitous, that it is nearly impossible to avoid them totally, but it is certainly possible to reduce your and your children’s exposure, while doing the best you can, given the toxic world we live in.

Heavy metals and some EDC chemicals are persistent toxins, in that they remain in your body, but fortunately your liver and kidneys are very efficient at removing many of the toxic EDC chemicals from your blood, through bodily waste functions. Detox teas and detox regimens help you detox even more quickly and effectively.

A recent study was conducted on 100 teenage women where their cosmetics and personal products were replaced by toxin free products from EWG’s “Skin Deep” database. After just three days, the levels in their urine (reflecting blood levels) of Phthalates were down 27%, Parabens, down 35%, and levels of Triclosan, down 44%.

We understand that levels of BPA and BPS naturally lower significantly in just a few days of non-exposure. All these chemicals are dangerous EDCs, and besides these cosmetics and health and beauty aid products, there are so many others in everyday life.

The problem with thinking that detox is a real solution to chemicals, is that most people “re-tox” as fast as they detox. These chemicals are so prevalent that unless you consciously avoid them and stop re-dosing yourself and your children daily, blood levels of these toxins will vary, but, but overall they will remain constant, and the harm will also be constant.

F. Demand Protective Gear and Equipment

In many industrial, fracking, mining, or farming operations, protective gear is issued, but unless the wearing of it is enforced, many workers refrain from using it, due to the discomfort of wearing it, especially when temperatures and humidity are high. This is human nature, and can only be countered by education and enforcement. These are dangerous, often carcinogenic, toxins the workers may be breathing, ingesting, or absorbing through their skin. Any protection from toxins is better than no protection, when workers are exposed.

Some respirators are more effective than others, but dust masks with, with or without exhalation valves, do absolutely nothing to protect workers or civilians from breathing dangerous PM 10 particulates deep into their lung tissue, and certainly they do nothing to reduce toxic gases.

Water filters and air filters (or respirator filters for 1 example) are not effective beyond their expiration date. It is imperative that they be replaced and maintained. We have heard of schools, due to budget cuts, that have not maintained lead filters on drinking fountains for children, whose ability to learn can be harmed. This type of behavior is unconscionable and should be prosecuted.

G. Test for Toxics

Many toxins are not visible, are odorless, and are tasteless. The only way to really know that your water or air is safe is to have your water or air tested. We realize that most will be unable to afford the luxury of independent testing, but if you can afford to do it, we recommend it, and if the tests come out positive, but there is a filter or way to remediate the toxin, and if you can, we recommend you go ahead, and then re-test..

Even if the authorities assure you that the water or air has been tested, and are willing to show you the results of the tests, realize that the tests, or the reporting, may be skewed to show negative or lower results. Though the costs of independent testing are possibly too high for individuals to bear alone, they are not so prohibitive, that a group of families or the community might pay for them to verify or repudiate official testing. After all, it’s the health of families and children at stake.

H. Vote

Voting is not the only solution, and certainly the system and many politicians are corrupt, but whenever you live in a society, even if merely under the guise of democracy, it is better to vote, than to not vote. If enough people are educated to the evils of the Absurd Status Quo, and are able to get politicians into office, who, at least, give lip service to opposing it, and to backing progressive values, as opposed to right wing values, chances for laws favoring our health and safety improve. This not only applies to the current US elections, but to elections, local, regional and national, in every “democratic” nation in the world.

I. Educate Yourself and Others

Our biggest goal is Education, and unless it becomes your goal, your family, friends, neighbors, and business associates may never hear about the toxic hazards around them.. Don’t rely on media, the national brand, the big name retailer chain, or the government to educate, or to protect you. That is Fantasy land.

If your friends and family hear it directly from you, they may actually pay attention, and be concerned about these toxic hazards. And please stress that these are not conspiracy theories, that these are real threats, confirmed by real, not corporate, scientists, and offer them this article, and the assistance of Google, or any search engine to back it up.

 I can’t encourage you enough to get involved with educating your family, friends, and followers through social media. Unless people become aware of where the hazards are, and what to try to avoid, they are defenseless. Without one on one communication, education programs are often largely ineffective. So you, and as many as possible, are key in the endeavor of educating the public.

J. Support Political Action

Unless more people are educated to the real and immediate threats of chemicals and pollution, there will never be enough activists for large enough scale political actions to make sufficient impact to effect real change.

Get involved, and also encourage others to attend events, rallies, protests, and blockades, and to support the movement with donations. We’ve seen how many small donations can add up, and make a difference.

(Tear Gas, known as “nonlethal” force, that is illegal to be used on our enemies in war, is being routinely used on American citizens, and is also being used in many nations, and could be harmful, or even lethal, for children, pregnant women and their babies, the elderly, and the unhealthy, particularly dangerous for people with respiratory problems, so it is best not to allow them to be in a situation where they might be exposed.

If you are gassed, besides milk and other ways to mitigate the pain, try to evacuate the area, so exposure time is shortest. CS gas is an endocrine disrupter. The longer and more often your exposure, the more potential there is for harm. Often protesters are penned in with no escape from the tear gas, as the militarized law enforcement did to protesters in Ferguson, Missouri. For these reasons, try to never allow the most vulnerable to be exposed. Despite their good intentions, safety is the priority, and there are many other ways these people can effectively participate.)

K. Support Legal Action

Besides fighting the threat of toxics through education and political action in the streets, legal action can be very effective in our struggle. Despite the corruption, there are still laws and courts in the US, and in many nations, and occasionally Justice prevails.

And though often the deck is stacked against us, and despite our good evidence and sure cases, the decisions end up against us, but still there continue to be victories. We applaud the Environmental Defense Fund, the Natural Resource Defense Council, the Environmental Working Group, the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, and many more fine organizations and the many attorneys, who in lieu of more lucrative opportunities, dedicate themselves to protecting our wildlife, our water,  our air, our soil, and human health. You can be an essential part of this legal action by supporting these efforts through small donations.

We are celebrating three recent climate victories in various parts of the US, where judges have acknowledged violations of trust by either the Nation or the State to our children and future generations by not protecting them from the harm presented by Climate Change. There were no clear settlements to any of these cases, but these victories could be become important precedents to future legal actions with more substantial effects. These suits are examples of the people, teenagers, taking the government to court, and winning on the basis of US Law and the Constitution.

More and more of us are finding that we must subject ourselves to arrest, often mass arrests, by standing in the way of pipelines, oil trains, and any of the various polluters outlined in this article. We’ve referred to this in our previous article, Thumbing Their Noses at Society, as “Blockadia”, as presented by Naomi Klein. When we’re arrested, lawyers are instrumental in gaining our release.

L. Prepare for Disasters

Though we are not “Preppers”, and we’re sure you could get much more thorough advice from the experts, we can’t stress enough the subject of Preparedness for Climate or Toxic Disasters. It is fact that these disasters are statistically happening more often, more severely, and to more people, so it is important that we realize they can happen anywhere, even to us.

Disaster Assistance often “comes slow”, so it is important for you to prepare some supplies, and items like flashlights, and battery-operated radios, and water to drink, and water to flush toilets (1 ½ to 2 gallons for each flush), and possibly some dried foods, that don’t require refrigeration. And it is important for you and your family that you come up with a plan of how and where to meet, and possibly a land telephone line to leave messages, in case cell phones and Internet become unavailable.

Whatever you do to prepare for whatever may come, it will be to your benefit.

Part 11: LIVING IN A TOXIC WORLD –Final Thoughts
                “The Limits to Growth”

Besides the fact that the above chart shows exponential growth (of Population, Food Production, Industrial Production, with the commensurate Depletion of Resources, and the exponential Growth of Pollution) leading to an overshoot and collapse “Doomsday” scenario in the mid-21st century, this chart is noteworthy in so many ways. What makes these charts so remarkable is that they were plotted on an antique computer, the size of a room, with only a fraction of the processing power of your tiny laptop, on the campus of MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), and printed on an antique dot matrix ink ribbon printer with the technology of the birth of the computer age.

This chart and 11 more produced by the computer, ranging from environmental collapse to equilibrium were published in 1972 in a book titled, The Limits to Growth, a book that sold 12 million copies, and was translated to 37 languages, and is still to this day the best-selling environmental book ever published. The book was a result of the “Project on the Predicament of Mankind”, given an economy based on unlimited growth in the context of a finite world, as conceived and guided by Aurellius Peccei, an Italian industrialist, and the Club of Rome, an international Think Tank he assembled in 1968, of scientists, humanists (including Pierre Trudeau of Canada), businessmen, and educators.

The Volkswagen Foundation agreed to fund the project only after Dr. Jay Forrester of MIT, and the Founder of System Dynamics, the science that studies the interconnection of complex systems, put together a flow diagram on the interaction of global complex systems, and agreed to present a methodology for the research, based on the programming of computer models, that would yield these charts. To our knowledge, this was the first computer environmental model, and though it was very simple, compared to the sophisticated environmental models generated today, it is remarkable how closely this study reflects the environmental issues of today, including all of the same variables.

Mr. Peccei of the Club of Rome appointed Dr. Dennis Meadows, a 27 year old scientist, as the Director of the study, and together they selected and engaged 16 other scientists and humanists, including Dr. Meadows wife, Dr. Donella “Dana” Meadows, a scientist and humanist, who served as the brilliant writer, who synthesized all of the research from the 17 participants, along with the results of their computer models, into this cohesive clearly written book. For 18 months the team labored on this project, and often ate and slept in their office on the MIT campus, even playing Frisbee inside the office, as they performed their research, and inputted all that data (computer entry wasn’t automated at all in those days, and involved stacks of punch cards.) The average age of the 17 scientists and humanists, including Dennis and Dana Meadows, was 26 ½ years old, in a backdrop of the early ‘70s, with Vietnam War Protests and the optimism of Flower Power revolutionary social change.

But these young scientists endeavored to remain apolitical, and to base their findings strictly on the data and on the results of their computer modeling. Still, despite the gravity of their findings, they remained optimistic that the world would heed the warning presented by their study, and avoid catastrophe. The members of the team “believed the book they were writing was a prescription for optimism, because (44) years ago they saw these problems as totally solvable, totally manageable. All it took, all it would take, would be human action.”

The book begins with a very clear explanation of what is meant by “exponential growth” as the constant doubling of a number. 10% growth results in doubling in 7 years, 5% growth yields doubling in 14 years, and 2% growth doubles every 35 years. The logical conclusion reached is that in a world of unlimited exponential growth, somewhere we will reach and overshoot sustainable capacity. On a finite planet, we can’t keep doubling over and over industrial output, rate of use of natural resources, food production, population and pollution without drastic consequences, resulting in the Doomsday scenario presented in the above graph. But the Limits to Growth team would stress that Doomsday is only one scenario out of 12 presented in the computer models ranging from Doomsday to Equilibrium

Technological advances in uncovering new deposits of natural resources and in the handling of pollution might mitigate some of the consequences of unbridled growth, but eventually we would get to the point of collapse, where even technology would not be able to save us. As an example of technological advance, the unconventional extraction of oil and gas (Fracking and Deep Sea Drilling) which wasn’t even imagined in 1972, have doubled and tripled reserves, but just as one of the 1972 charts modeled, if we were to have unlimited resources, which would offer no limitation to industrial growth, the exponential growth in Pollution from those unlimited resources would skyrocket. And we are seeing this in 2016, in the resulting air and water pollution from the huge growth in the burning of unconventionally produced fossil fuels.

Book sales of the Limits to Growth were amazingly successful, but the book was maligned and panned by critics from the start. The New York Times Book Review Section was one of the first to criticize the book, starting a global controversy that continues to this day. The book was universally condemned as “Pseudoscience”, Misinformation”, “Malthusian” “Profit of Doom”, “Communist”, “Advancing a Planned Economy” and much more. The book was referred to by name and denounced by President Ronald Reagan, and was also mentioned as a false flag by George H. W. Bush. The book and the young scientists who worked on it, and who advocated it, were mocked and criticized.

The reason politicians, businessmen and economists were, and still are, so enraged by this book is that it challenges everything they stand for. Growth has become a Creed, a Religion, in Economics. All businesses, stock markets, budgets and economic plans are built on the foundation of Growth. For the devotees, it would be unimaginable to have an Economy without Growth.

This explains why the Limits to Growth was rejected, and just as Climate Change continues to this day to be denied by many (Republican, Brexit and other right-wing nationalist) politicians and leaders, the warnings contained in this 1972 book, about Carbon dioxide and Methane and Global Warming from the Greenhouse effect, were discounted and ignored.

Remarkably, the young scientists on the Limits to Growth team were already aware in 1972 of Global Warming, and of the Chemical Burden of Progress in the form of Lead, Mercury and Heavy Metal Pollution and Air, Water, and Soil Pollution, and Soil Erosion, as it relates to Food Production.  In 1972, they wrote about the concept of Sustainability, a subject in vogue today, and that the costs of mitigation of Toxic Pollution and Climate Change would also rise exponentially.

If, for example, we found that the world would end in 30 days, unless we took action, would we wait until the 29th day to begin? Unfortunately, that’s what we have done. Politics, Economics, and arguments as to whether the findings of the scientists were valid, along with the hope that Advanced Technology would eventually be there to save us, have delayed action, and whereas action 40 years ago would have been so much more effective and so much less expensive, we had better begin. And part of that must be an acknowledgment that organized managed decline in growth would be better than to allow Nature to take over, and force the population down, which would be horrible beyond anything imaginable. That could be our fate, if we keep our heads in the sand, deny the data in our models, and proceed to grow ourselves into Oblivion.

As Joni Mitchell, the folksinger, wrote in 1970, “You don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone.” Growth isn’t everything. Let’s not wait before we take action until after we poison ourselves, our children, and our Climate, and lose the habitable environment on which we depend, offering more beauty and wealth than could ever be imagined. Health is more valuable than any amount of wealth.

A healthy environment in a Circular Economy (not Capitalist, Socialist or Communist), rather than the ideal of a Growth Economy, as presented in the book “Terra Viva”, by Dr. Vandana Shiva and associates, is, perhaps, a model of a society that could provide us with the Sustainability that we seek.

Finally, it is essential that we realize that we are dangerously close to the Tipping Points of Toxic Pollution, as well as those of Climate Change. Just as the young scientists at MIT, already in 1972, included the increase in Carbon Dioxide, from the ramped up burning of fossil fuels, and its warming effect, into the single variable on their computer graph of Pollution, the threat of increased Toxic Pollution is equally as urgent as the threat of Climate Change, and every day, we are getting closer to the Tipping Points.

In our article, Closer to the Tipping Point, in order to illustrate Abrupt Climate Change, we started with the story of a pond crossing its tipping point in a toxic algae bloom and dead zone and fish kill. Unless we do something about it, and guard against our demise, one by one, more sources and bodies of water, more ponds, and more ecosystems, will become polluted, and will reach their Tipping Points, and the health of individuals, and of more and more species, will reach their Tipping points, with Sickness, Cancer, and Death.

We can’t turn back the clock and undo all the damage that has been done in the last 50 years, since 1965, when that song with which we began this article, “Pollution”, was on TV. But we can vow, from here forward to stop putting more poisons into the environment, and we can vow to stop allowing companies to profit by the homicidal poisoning of our children, each other, and future generations, as in the production and distribution of lead paint, asbestos, EDC chemicals, including herbicides and pesticides, and the unrelenting extraction and burning of more and more fossil fuels. This is Mass Murder. These are Crimes against Humanity. The dictum, “Thou shalt not kill” must be applied to Corporations and Nations, and not just to individuals. And the only way we can accomplish this is through a transnational People’s Revolution rejecting the Absurd Status Quo, with which we’re currently being faced, here, and on every continent.

Part 12: Revolution from the Toxic Status Quo – Politics

The Bernie Sanders Revolution lives on, even after his candidacy for President is over, because it has to. We have no choice but to fight on against the Absurd Status Quo, poisoning our babies, ourselves, and our Climate, that liberals and conservatives allow, not just in the US, but on every continent. The Nuit Debout movement in Europe, the Leap Manifesto movement in Canada, the Terra Viva/Seed Freedom movement in India and Italy and worldwide, and there are grass roots movements popping up all over the world, that abhor the Status Quo, threatening the health of our children, our fellow humans, and all species, and that is threatening the health of our Climate and our beautiful Mother Earth.

On the Darkside, the opposite is true. There are Right Wing Nationalist Movements growing, not just in the US, with Trump and the Tea Party Republicans, but with Brexit in the UK, the Nazi party in France, the Right Wing resurgence in Australia, and around the globe. We described this phenomenon, and how their self avowed goal is to break down all regulations, all obstructions to trashing their own precious Nations with Pollution, and we include the liberal Duplicitous Democrats, who make lovely speeches, but accommodate the Status Quo as much as the Right Wingers. We wrote about all of this in Thumbing Their Noses at Society, and please don’t miss our chapter on the Duplicitous Democrats.

We stand with the Bernie Sanders Revolution, and will do everything we can to further that Revolution, and fight against the Darkside, the Right Wing Anti-Environmentalists, including doing uncomfortable things, like getting arrested in nonviolent protest, or standing on the picket line in 12° F or 100° F weather, or even voting against our conscience and principles, if that’s what it takes. If voting for someone we are uncomfortable with will yield a strengthening, not weakening of Protection of our Environment, Climate Action (away from Fossil Fuels), Free College Education, Gun Control, Civil Rights for Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, LGBTQ, and Women (including the Right to Choose and the Right to Equal Pay), Livable Minimum Wage, Labor Union Rights, Endangered Species Protections, Protecting Public Lands including National Parks, Monuments, and Forests, then that’s what we have to do to further OUR REVOLUTION. Unfortunately, in this case, the ends justify the means, though this has always been so with Revolutionaries.

A vote for a third party, or writing in a name, or sitting the vote out and not voting at all, could very well end up a vote for Trump, who very possibly, if we don’t oppose him, could win, and we could lose all of the above we are fighting for. In the case of the UK leaving the EU, those that didn’t make it to the polls, confident that it would be defeated, helped yield the Right Wing, Anti-Environmental, Anti-Climate Regulations, Anti-Immigrant Brexit Government, that many citizens in the UK are regretting today, wishing they could do it over.

As difficult as many of you may find it to vote for Clinton, and I too, we urge you to vote for the elements of the Bernie Sanders Revolution that we worked so hard (and spent so much of our own money through donations) to have included in the Democratic Platform. I have friends from Northern Maine to Northern California that volunteered and donated time and time again to the Bernie Sanders Campaign. And these people had nothing. But, they believed in the Bernie Sanders Revolution,

I don’t trust Clinton to fulfill all of our demands anymore than my friends or you do. But, we have many reasons we feel we must pursue this Revolution against the Status Quo, and we are sure we could accomplish so much more toward that Revolution through a Democratic Senate, Congress, and President, rather than leaving any part of the government in the hands of the obstructionist Republicans, and through not allowing Trump to stack our Supreme Court (for the next 40 years with up to four more Scalia’s, referring to the right wing Justice Scalia, who opposed us on every issue; and Trump has a list of equally bad replacements.) I don’t fully endorse Clinton, but I will vote for her, and for progressive Democratic Senators and Congressman, a vote against Trump and against all Republicans, and we urge you to do the same.

We apologize to our readers from other nations for concentrating this section on the US elections, but let me reiterate, the subjects in this discussion are relevant to the politics of all nations, where Right Wing groups are now gaining prominence, and we firmly believe that our Revolution against the Status Quo is urgent, for the sake of all human beings, our children, and future generations, and that it will only succeed, against the omnipotence of corporate power, if it is able to transcend national borders.

Part 13: Message to our Readers

Once again, we’ve included the section we call, ’Priceless Documents’. Though these books are not ours to give, we can’t think of more wonderful gifts. Please regift them to your family, friends, and neighbors. (That’s the miracle of digital; you can regift unlimited times without diminishing the original.)

The first book we are pleased to present is, The Limits to Growth, (211 pages), which since 1972 has become the best selling environmental book ever published, though it was maligned and criticized since the day it was printed, for challenging the concept of Growth, given the finite world in which we live. We covered this book in Part 11, the Final Thoughts section of this post. We especially urge you to read pages 69-87 (pages 71-89 in the PDF) on the issues of Pollution in our Air, Water, and Soil. It is remarkable that these 17 scientists responsible for this study, as early as 1972, were aware of, and took into account, Sustainability, and so many of the issues covered in this and our previous posts.

The reason we again included the writings of Pope Francis in this post with his Encyclical, Laudato Si, On Care Of Our Common Home, (184 pages), is his concern that we are turning our common home into “a pile of filth”. Besides the introduction, and perhaps pages 9 - 12 on St. Francis of Assisi, the Pope’s namesake, who communed with nature, and was a total hippy, please read what the Pope has to say about Pollution and Climate Change and The Issue of Water in verses 20 - 31 on pages 16 – 24. Also he talks about Mining Waste and Mining Chemicals in verse 51 on pages 36 – 38. Relative to the subjects of Growth and a possible Doomsday scenario, the Pope addresses that directly in verses 160 and 161 on pages 118 – 120. Verse 202 on page 149 refers to our ability to make changes in our lifestyles toward a more sustainable future.

The third book is Terra Viva, Our Soil, Our Commons, Our Future, A New Vision for Planetary Citizenship, (104 pages), by Dr. Vandana Shiva, the Mother of the Seed Freedom movement, and her colleagues. The reason this book was again included is that it presented a paradigm of a Circular Economy, rather than the unsustainable exponential Growth economy. This is what Dana Meadows, the author of The Limits To Growth, envisioned, and what a Bernie Sanders type of Revolution might look like, with priorities rearranged.

Our first video is of the words to the song, Pollution, as performed by Tom Lehrer in 1965 on NBC’s TV Show, That Was The Week That Was, the song we referred to at the start this post. It is remarkable that now, 50 years after the song was written, the words, “Don’t drink the water, and don’t breathe the air”, have come true for millions of Americans and more around the world.

The second video is an amazing music video produced by Michael Moore about the plight of his hometown, Flint, Michigan, and starring the late and great Michael Jackson, entitled, They Don’t Care About Us. This video could apply to much more than Flint, and also to the concept, illustrated by this lead poisoning tragedy, that Black Lives Matter.

Third, we honor Erin Brockovich with the inclusion of a wonderful interview by Tavis Smiley of PBS, about her tireless activism, not just in a movie starring Julia Roberts, but for real, every day, as an advocate for citizens all over the US whose water has become contaminated. She is truly one of the heroes of this story.

Another hero in this story we’ve included in our fourth video is the environmental activist and actor, Mark Ruffalo, who played the superhero, the Hulk, and whose movie career is still very active. But, in addition to that, and also in addition to being a fine advocate and spokesman for the environmental movement, Mark has rolled up his shirt sleeves, and jumped right in, with the establishment of Water Defense, and with his partner, the superhero, Scott Smith,  travels from one spill to another all over the country to test the water. Rather than rely on the official testing, which they’ve found to be often “gamed” and inaccurate, they offer independent testing, with improved protocols, and with Scott’s ‘invention’, enabling them to test the pollutants in the water column of a spill.

Our fifth video, Final Warning: The Limits To Growth, is an excellent documentary with an intimate look into the people and the story behind the bestselling book, The Limits To Growth, from the perspective of 2012, 40 years later. This extraordinary book and the findings are highlighted in Part 11, our Final Thoughts section.

We included the sixth video, What Was the Message Of “The Limits To Growth”?, because it gets much more into the details of this amazing book.

Our seventh and final video, Circularity, explains the concept of a Circular Economy, as was described in our third Priceless Document, Terra Viva, and in Part 11 of this report, from the point of view of Sustainability experts.

We thank our readers in Germany, France, Canada, Ireland, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates (our biggest audience outside the US), and we thank all of our US and international readers (from over 150 nations). We really do appreciate you taking the time to read our articles. And we extra-appreciate when you refer them to friends. That’s where our readers can really make a difference. Whether we really are able to forward the Revolution Against the Status Quo, that is poisoning our babies, ourselves, our future generations, our Climate, and all life on Earth, depends largely on whether we and others can get this story out, and make citizens of the world aware, and get them out to vote. We love getting feedback. Our email address is:, or if you prefer Twitter, you can use: @Mikethemikeman1. For the sake of our people, our families, and Mother Earth, we encourage all of you, as charter members of Woodstock Earth, to spread the word and help get these stories out.

Part 14: Priceless Documents


Part 15: Videos

1. Pollution – The Song
“Don’t drink the water,
and don’t breathe the air”
Tom Lehrer - 1965

2. “They Don’t Care About Us”
starring Michael Jackson
by Michael Moore
about Flint, Michigan, his hometown

3. Smiley and Brockovich
The Real Erin Brockovich
Environmental Activist

4. Mark Ruffalo and Scott Smith
of Water Defense
on HuffPost Live

5. Final Warning: Limits to Growth
Documentary on THE CLUB OF ROME’S project
on the Predicament of Mankind

6. What Was the Message
of “The Limits To Growth”?
2012 – 40th Anniversary

7. Circularity
Preparing for the New Economy

1 comment:

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