Here we go again…corporate chemical chaos

Poison in the water. Toxic chemicals in people’s bloodstreams. Sounds like a scary movie, right? Nah. It’s the real thing–again.

DuPont gives lots of people in Appalachia jobs, and they’re grateful for them. So much so, in fact, that many of them hesitate to react when they’re told that waste from the company that contains a chemical byproduct of manufacturing non-stick coatings (Teflon) is polluting the water, poisoning local livestock, and possibly connected with severe birth defects of some employees’ new babies. And that at the very least, the people who work and live in the area have measurable amounts of this not-too-friendly chemical running through their blood–the toxic effects of which have not yet been fully explored.

The reason this kind of thing sounds like a scary movie is because when it happens in real life, we try not to scream too loud. Giant corporations do give people jobs, they’re an important part of the economic welfare of our society, and so on. When the former head of research for a major tobacco company went on 60 Minutes some years ago (they made a movie about it called The Insider) to talk about how the corporation had covered up its knowledge of the addictive qualities and the health dangers of cigarettes, it caused a stir. No one’s gone to jail yet. Think about the relatively small indiscretions Martha Stewart was convicted of, and yes, she’s in jail. Yet you can still legally purchase a highly addictive substance that will destroy your health.

Fortunately, I see the government is now conducting a $280 billion civil suit in which it alleges that cigarette makers conspired for decades to deceive the public about the dangers of smoking–and that they targeted teens and lied about that too. So maybe the screaming will do some good after all.

Check out this article on DuPont’s culpability (regarding PFOA and perfluorinated compounds). How loud do you think we ought to be screaming?

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