This post continues my description of what I said to the representatives of the EPA about their school siting guidelines.
I told them about my friend “Roberta” (I have changed her name to protect her identity) who attended Beverly Hills High School. We had met in elementary school. Then I moved away, yet we maintained contact all these years. “Roberta” was diagnosed with lymphoma 3 years ago. Fortunately she is free of it currently after treatment. She is part of a large number of students and teachers in Beverly Hills who have developed cancer, apparently due to the proximity of a working oil well on the grounds of the school. This oil well has been very controversial, as you can imagine.
Here is the problem. Science has not proven beyond a doubt nor shown the causal mechanism of how exposure to products emanating from the functioning oil well could cause cancer. Similarly, there are reams of data correlating cancer, diabetes, and neurological disorders to chemical exposures. Exposure to multiple chemicals serve to compound the dangers. Just because we do not know the exact mechanism does not mean these chemicals are safe until proven otherwise. The argument that they don’t affect everybody the same way is no excuse. It merely means not everyone reacts the same way.
Children who are 2 years old revel in showing their parents their creations. We, as humans, ought to be more emotionally sophisticated than that by now. We could choose to be responsible about how and where we use our creations. Yet chemicals are approached differently from drugs. We scrutinize drugs before letting them loose for human use. Not chemicals. We use them in most products we consume, yet wait until decades later to determine that they may have caused irreparable damage to us.
It is our responsibility to protect our children and grandchildren now. Currently they are the laboratory rats in this grand experiment because we have not had the courage to impose proper regulations to study chemicals before they are utilized.
I say let us take a strong stand for excellence and for protection of our children and adults by demanding that chemicals be evaluated for dangerous repercussions before they are released for use. I have no doubt that if manufacturers took their responsibilities seriously, they would be able to use their creativity to make products that are safer from the get go. Then we would truly be proactive about safeguarding the health of our future generations.