• Government, big business seem apathetic to drinking water concerns.
By James Spounias —
Is it too much to assume that American corporations and governmental bodies are responsible enough to ensure the water we drink and air we breathe are free of dangerous substances? Both DuPont and Michigan are implicated in what are two separate scandals, flaying simplistic notions parroted by the right and left about the virtue of corporations versus government.
The right-wing mantra that powerful corporations are virtual slaves to onerous regulations is as naïve as the left-wing pap that only government is capable of protecting the masses and that a lack of regulation impairs them from doing so.
DuPont’s handling of perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, commonly known as C8, used in the manufacture of Teflon™, is a textbook example of what a chemical corporation should not do. Teflon™ is best known as a coating on cookware for its “nonstick” ability.
C8 is also an endocrine disrupter that affects hormones. It can be found in the blood of 99.7% of Americans, according to a 2007 analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
C8 is also found in newborn human babies, breast milk, umbilical cord blood, and even in polar bears in the Arctic.
According to attorneys for plaintiffs who claimed injury from C8, DuPont knew C8 was toxic, cancer causing, and should not be disbursed in the environment. From 1951 to 2003, DuPont emitted 2.5 million pounds of C8 into the area around Parkersburg, West Virginia—some of which went right into the Ohio River, a source of drinking water for a significant number of people.
C8 is a bio-persistent nano-poison, which is not easily filtered. Attorney Tim O’Brien, who is a partner of radio host Mike Papantonio, told Russian news agency RT’s Thom Hartmann, “C8 is like a bullet in a big theater . . . nothing filters it out. It has an affinity for water.” C8 finds its way through the ecosystem and is not filtered by dirt, trees, or other barriers. It finds its way to the Arctic, moving through the food chain, and it can’t be digested or voided out—it stays in the body for as long as 25 years.
Manufacturing giant 3M of Minnesota manufactured C8 and sold it to DuPont for use in the Teflon™ process, advising DuPont that C8 is a poison, C8 is known to cause cancer, and C8 should not be exposed to surface water. DuPont failed to incinerate C8, which would have properly disposed of it. Rather, according to O’Brien, DuPont dispersed it in the air through smokestacks and, worse, put it into the water streams by which it found its way to the Ohio River.
In a trial of David v. Goliath proportion, Papontonio persuaded a jury to award Carla Marie Bartlett $1.6 million in what is the first lawsuit DuPont took to trial, after a settlement agreement occurred nearly a decade ago. Ms. Bartlett
claimed she suffered kidney cancer as a result of C8. There are 3,500 other plaintiffs who are also pressing claims against the chemical giant and its newly created spinoff, Chemours Company.
Studies on C8’s danger paint a horrible picture. Environmental journalist Sharon Lerner wrote in August 2015, “recent studies published in peer-reviewed journals such as Human Reproduction, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, and The Journal of Pediatrics have tied C8 to an incredible range of health effects, including ovarian cancer; prostate cancer; lymphoma; reduced fertility; arthritis; hyperactivity and altered immune responses in children; and hypotonia, or ‘floppiness,’ in infants.”
DuPont and 3M no longer manufacture C8 and deny any liability for the chemical C8, and some scientists, many retained by DuPont, dispute the connection to C8 and bad health.
The liberal media is known to thrash the private sector on the theory that those in the public sector only work for the good of the people, free of “greed.” The recent scandal in Flint, Michigan, however, should dissuade anyone of that belief.
Rife with poverty, crime, drugs, and racial politics, Flint is among the worst examples of a oncebooming industrial city now left in ruins.
The City of Flint poisoned residents with unsafe levels of lead in its water supply. Lead is a wellknown neurotoxin, killing brain cells, and causing numerous health problems. Developing children are most affected. How could this happen?
Flint previously got its water by paying Detroit for relatively clean water from Lake Huron, but due to a budget crisis a decision was made by a state-appointed emergency manager to obtain its water from the Flint River. Regrettably, the river water source was not treated with corrosion inhibitors, which would have minimized the ability of this corrosive water to draw lead out of the old pipes that leaked lead into the water of the homes of Flint residents beginning in April 2014. Experts claim adding corrosion inhibitors would have cost Flint $140 per day and eliminated 90% of the water problems facing Flint.
Local Flint residents complained as soon as the corrosive water began coming into their homes, but were put off by city and state officials who said the water was “fine,” according to Flint journalist Ron Fonger, reporter for The Flint Journal. Fonger reported that government officials cherry-picked areas where there were no problems and skewed results to minimize the contaminated water.
Local resident Lee-Ann Walters noticed her daughter’s hair was falling out and one of her twin son’s growth was stunted. Walters contacted Virginia Tech’s Dr. Mark Edwards who tested Flint’s water and concluded it had serious lead pollution contamination problems. Both Walters and Edwards were dismissed by government and local media as attention seekers.
Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a Flint area pediatrician who is an Iraqi immigrant, learned of the water contamination problem and started testing lead levels in her patients, calling it “the easiest research project I’ve ever done.” Dr. Attisha found that the percentage of children in Flint with lead poisoning had doubled. Dr. Attisha went public with her findings and was dubbed an “unfortunate researcher” and accused of causing hysteria.
The damage is already done, and even though the water is now sourced from Detroit and water filters were given to residents as of October 2015, residents have serious health problems, which in some may be permanent.
While Democratic and Republican presidential candidates and celebrities are lining up along partisan lines to bash each other’s “team” over giving lead-poisoned water to American citizens, the bottom line is that governmental bodies from local to federal failed the people of Flint. The fact that Flint is overwhelmingly Democrat, the governor of Michigan Republican and the federal Environmental Protection Agency under the charge of a Democratic president should tell Americans to ignore the Democrat-versus-Republican sideshow and demand decency and accountability.
James Spounias is the president of Carotec Inc., originally founded by renowned radio show host and alternative health expert Tom Valentine and his wife, Carole. To receive a free issue of Carotec Health Report—a monthly newsletter loaded with well-researched and reliable alternative health information—please write Carotec, P.O. Box 9919, Naples, FL 34101 or call 1-800-522-4279. Also included will be a list of the high-quality health supplements Carotec recommends.