Wednesday, October 28, 2009

In my post on October 15th, I posed the question of why it is important that there are significantly more toxic and industrial waste sites located near poor and predominately minority communities than near more affluent communites. The answer: endocrine disruptors. In a nutshell, endocrine disruptors, such as PCBs and Dioxins (which are probable carcinogens), among others, are synthetic chemicals that when absorbed into the body, affect the behavior of hormones, either mimicking or blocking them, and disrupting normal body functions. Helloooo, this isn't supposed to happen! 
Industrial activities are just one culprit for the release of endocrine disruptors into the environment. For example, over a period of 30 years, GE released over 1 million pounds of PCBs into the Hudson River, which has been contaminating the sediment for years. Clean up just recently began, but is going to be a long and costly process. In the meanwhile, people are continuing to eat fish from this river, even though it is strongly recommended that this practiced be avoided. We don't know yet how this is affecting people and we may not know for years. The point is this: more minorities and poor people live near toxic waste sites, toxic and industrial waste sites can be ground zero for chemicals that are known to cause illness. Generally speaking, if one is poor in this country, one doesn't have the access to healthcare that more affluent people have.  There is already a double whammy here, my theory is that spending the majority of your time near a toxic waste dump doesn't help much. I'm no expert, but it seems problematic to me.

Click here and here for more information about endocrine disruptors.

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