Thursday, May 2, 2013

Living the Toxic Life

Trey Smith

A hidden epidemic is poisoning America. The toxins are in the air we breathe and the water we drink, in the walls of our homes and the furniture within them. We can’t escape it in our cars. It’s in cities and suburbs. It afflicts rich and poor, young and old. And there’s a reason why you’ve never read about it in the newspaper or seen a report on the nightly news: it has no name -- and no antidote.

The culprit behind this silent killer is lead. And vinyl. And formaldehyde. And asbestos. And Bisphenol A. And polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). And thousands more innovations brought to us by the industries that once promised “better living through chemistry,” but instead produced a toxic stew that has made every American a guinea pig and has turned the United States into one grand unnatural experiment.

Today, we are all unwitting subjects in the largest set of drug trials ever. Without our knowledge or consent, we are testing thousands of suspected toxic chemicals and compounds, as well as new substances whose safety is largely unproven and whose effects on human beings are all but unknown. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) itself has begun monitoring our bodies for 151 potentially dangerous chemicals, detailing the variety of pollutants we store in our bones, muscle, blood, and fat. None of the companies introducing these new chemicals has even bothered to tell us we’re part of their experiment. None of them has asked us to sign consent forms or explained that they have little idea what the long-term side effects of the chemicals they’ve put in our environment -- and so our bodies -- could be. Nor do they have any clue as to what the synergistic effects of combining so many novel chemicals inside a human body in unknown quantities might produce.
~ from You Are a Guinea Pig: How Americans Became Exposed to Biohazards in the Greatest Uncontrolled Experiment Ever Launched by David Rosner and Gerald Markowitz ~
I find this report so fascinating when it is juxtaposed against a major news story dominating the news this past week. US leaders have stated that they believe the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against rebels and the civilian population. This supposedly crosses a "red line". It could mean that the Obama administration will decide to become militarily involved in the Syrian civil war.

And yet, according to these two authors, Americans are subjected to "chemical weapons" on a daily basis and our government isn't in an uproar at all! Not only are our leaders not in an uproar, they fully support such usage. Why is it that Syrian lives are more important than our own? Why is it that Syrians most be protected from vile chemical agents, but we Americans simply have to live with them?

As with most questions of this nature, it all comes down to economics. If the US becomes militarily involved in Syria, it has NOTHING to do with the Syrian people and everything to do with siphoning off ever more taxpayer dollars to Corporate America. Let's face it. War is damn good for business for the lucky and well-connected few.

And that is why Americans have become chemical guinea pigs. The production and usage of toxic chemicals is also damn good for business. It helps to maximize short-term profits and -- here is the best part -- it goes a long way toward diluting specific corporate costs. It is because these toxic chemicals are so ubiquitous that it is next too impossible to hang the responsibility on any one corporation or industry. Because it is so difficult to pin the blame on any one culprit, the costs end up being externalized. Put another way, we taxpayers end up footing the bill for being poisoned without our consent!

What a wonderful system we have.

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