I just finished reading the New York Times and I want to throw up.
And it's not another rats in the KFC store article.
The article was about kids who live in homes with water so contaminated by coal slurries that their nightly baths leave their bodies covered in rashes, or even worse, the skin has been eaten away, leaving behind raw red oozing scabs.
As Charles Duhigg so painfully and eloquently exposes the irreparable damages being inflicted upon the families living in a coal town just outside of Charleston, West Virginia, the Clean Water Act of 1972 is repeatedly being violated and ignored, and sadly not just there but across the country. Unsurprisingly, the coal companies and their continuing quest to flatten the Appalachians are amongst the worst violators, but you know that if you've been following Bobby Kennedy's passionate reporting on the raping of one of the greatest of the United State's natural resources and landmarks.
Jennifer Hall-Massey, a mother of two, was relaying how she races to bathe her children nightly, knowingly in water laden with arsenic, magnesium, lead, nickel, and other heavy metals, quick to limit the amount of time their skin is exposed. The enamel in her kids teeth is wearing away, leaving them with mouths full of metal. Adults and infants alike are stricken with cancers of all kinds. No one can sell their homes to move to safe neighborhoods, because as she related, who wants to buy a home with contaminated water?
I felt sick because I had just bathed my thirteen month old, had just watched him splash around with his bubbles and his toys, with no fear or anxiety or even a glimmer of a thought that I could be lovingly exposing him to a death sentence.
The Environmental Protection Agency rarely follows up prosecuting coal companies and their fellow polluters, even when the evidence is clear cut that they are dumping and poisoning entire towns near their projects, and the state regulators are even worse. Lisa Jackson, the new Head of EPA admits that our nation's water doesn't meet public health standards, but so what? Why hasn't this been fixed and addressed already? How did this happen, how did this become so dire? How can country with trillions of dollars committed to wars and TARPS and health care dilemmas allow its own people to be strategically and knowingly exposed to death in the water they drink, bathe, and live in?
I'm afraid because I know all too well how slow the wheel of change is in DC, Obama administration or not. I was part of a lobbying group from NRDC in April regarding the Toxic Substances Control Act and Kids Safely Chemicals Act, both focused on restricting and limiting chemicals being manufactured by American corporations that knowingly endanger our children due to a loophole in legislation that allows these corps to sell tainted goods to our public, goods that wouldn't pass legal standards for European countries. They make goods that meet their higher safety requisites and sell the crap to us. Not very patriotic, is it? But since we left DC in April, has the light gone on in our government officials heads, seeing the need to protect our children from endocrine disruptors and hormone attackers? What do you think?
So why would I feel the EPA is going to act swiftly, decisively, immediately to save these thousands of people across the country who live at the mercy of the evil and despicable polluters that hide under the umbrella of Big Business? And should it surprise me and move swiftly to remove the toxins from the water and protect the people from the careless actions of the offending corporations, what next will the administration have to protect itself from -- accusations that the government is trying to "socialize" water?
Please read Mr. Duhigg's article. And then call the EPA, call your local Senator or Congressperson and say you cannot live in a country that stands back and allows this to happen.