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Toxic poisoning is preventable

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DE!) are playing a similar role as the EPA/Michigan EPA have played. So, Health professionals, we’re counting on you.

The question is: will health professionals work to prevent disease or accommodate themselves along with politicians and corporate executives to “economic feasibility”? Will we as a society insist on our health and the health of the planet?

Lead and other toxic poisonings are completely preventable. They have been foisted on us by greedy industrialists who knowingly profit from the suffering of others. Companies continued to produce lead-containing products — paint, pigments and leaded gasoline — long after their products were identified as health hazards. In a similar way, authorities in Michigan gave permission to Ford Motor Company so they could use an alternate water supply after the company reported that their car parts were being corroded by the water in Flint. They knew something was awry.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says no level of lead exposure appears to be “without deleterious effects.” So the lead emissions which Intel and DEQ say are acceptable in the new plants, added to the significant lead emissions associated with the Hillsboro Airport, plus those from other industries in the region are accepted by our political leaders and their technicians. If you look only at Intel, they say, there’s no problem — even though no level of lead exposure should be acceptable. DEQ is authorized to set its own level of exposure (which should be zero); yet they fall back on EPA accepted

levels, even though states can enforce stricter rules.

And what about all the emissions in the region are added together? It’s not just Intel. Has anyone actually measured the totals in Hillsboro and surrounding areas? Have health officials done any studies?

I applaud the Oregon DEQ for doing urine samples in Portland. I only know what I read about that situation, but I suspect the effort is

too little, too late. What about testing in Hillsboro?

Authorities here, rather than concerned about health, appear to be more interested in promoting what they consider “progress,” i.e., new housing developments, new and wider roads, more factories, more growth with its consonant destruction of wildlife and wildlife habitat and more pollution. After all, what provides more funds for campaign chests: health concerns of the population or industry?

It’s no surprise that Hillsboro’s mayor and growth promoter was previously the president of the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce. He and council members may well emerge looking like Michigan’s governor, except that because of lack of understanding by the citizenry, the chickens will come home to roost after they have moved on to greater heights.

Jim Conroy of Hillsboro is a former corrections specialist with Washington County.

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