Is there anything more important than the health and well being of our family members and friends? How is it possible when we live in the greatest nation on Earth, that our representatives in Washington vote to take us back to a time when it was ok for industries to pollute our air and our streams and rivers? This past week, members of the House of Representatives voted to allow higher levels of toxic chemicals into our air and to lower the reach of the EPA in their efforts to stop this. Have we learned nothing over the past 41 years since the Environmental Protection Agency was created? This agency was created to protect Americans from greedy corporations whose profits are more important than the health of those who live nearby.
Once again, I suggest that we tell our Senators how we feel about taking a step backwords in America. Please click on the link below to tell your Senators to stop corporate greed and allow the EPA to continue to watch out for our health. There is significant proof that toxins in the air have contributed to Parkinson’s disease, lung disorders, cancer and many other health issues. We have the technology to prove this – it is not ok to kill Americans and unfortunately some corporations have to be monitored because they have no moral fiber to do what is right! We wanted change in Washington and we got it – I was in favor of change but I must say I am concerned with the short sited nature I am seeing in our representatives. pkp
From Jennette Gayer
Environment Georgia Advocate
Which is more important — corporate profits, or your family’s health? It should be an easy choice.
But the nation’s worst polluters pushed Congress to come up with the wrong answer — just last week, the House passed a terrible bill that allows toxic mercury and other chemicals from big polluters to spew into our air. Now the bill moves on to the Senate. Send your senator the message today: Our family’s health is more important than polluters’ bottom line.
As I write this, the Environmental Protection Agency is trying to update the Clean Air Act to protect our families from the lethal cocktail of lead, arsenic, mercury and other toxic chemicals that power plants and other facilities spew into our air every day. But some members of Congress think that when it comes to holding big polluters accountable, some things are more important than our families’ health. The House just passed a bill that will stop the EPA from doing its job. Just last week, Rep. Ed Whitfield of Kentucky argued that (1)“This is a much broader issue than the health of the American people and lungs and emphysema; it’s how can we balance that in the global marketplace for jobs.” (Are you kidding me? This is a broader issue than the health of the American people and lungs and emphysema? – And this is a person who has the ability to vote for the voice of the people in our country? – My vote – send this joker home!)
Last Saturday, the House passed legislation to slash the EPA’s budget by 30 percent and block the EPA from cleaning up toxic mercury from some of the worst polluters, and Newt Gingrich proposed getting rid of the EPA entirely. The EPA’s work saves hundreds of thousands of lives every year, so we can’t let this attack on our health go unanswered.
Already, many Americans have spoken out for better clean air protections, and Natalie Portman and six scientist mothers have joined us in submitting a letter of support to the EPA.
But now, the most important thing we can do is make sure the Senate lets the EPA do its job. Click here to tell your senator to let the EPA do its job and protect our families’ health.
 Taylor-Miesle, Heather. “Ed Whitfield Admits His Allegiance to the Industry,” Huffington Post. Feb. 16, 2011.
Pollutants in some urban areas increase Parkinson’s disease risk
High levels of manganese and copper pollution in urban areas are linked to increased risk of Parkinson’s disease, according to a large-scale analysis of urban pollution and Parkinson’s incidence in the United States.
Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that people living in areas with higher levels of manganese pollution had a 78 percent greater risk of Parkinson’s disease than those living in areas free of such pollution. High levels of copper in the environment increased Parkinson’s risk by 11 percent.
“We’re following up with individual patients, examining exposure histories, disease progression and responses to treatments, and if those studies confirm this correlation, we may need to reevaluate the limits we place on environmental discharges of these pollutants,” says lead author Allison Wright Willis, MD, assistant professor of neurology.
The comparison, published in American Journal of Epidemiology, was conducted using Medicare data and industrial discharge reports to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
“Every year since 1988, any factory or other industry that releases more than a predefined amount of any of 650 chemicals into the environment has to report those discharges to the EPA,” Willis says. “We used that data to construct a comparison of areas with high levels of manganese, copper and lead pollution versus areas where there were few or no releases of those elements.”
Researchers focused only on urban areas to avoid pesticides, another group of compounds whose presence in the environment is believed to increase risk of Parkinson’s disease.
Willis and her colleagues then used Medicare data to identify 35,000 Parkinson’s patients who were living in the area in which they were diagnosed eight years or more before diagnosis. When adjusted for age, race, sex, there were 274 new cases of Parkinson’s disease per 100,000 people in areas with little or no reported manganese, copper or lead pollution. In areas with high manganese pollution, that number rose to 489.4, and in areas with high copper levels, it increased to 304.2.
Areas with high lead emissions were not associated with a significant increase in Parkinson’s disease. Several earlier studies have associated lead exposure with Parkinson’s risk, Willis says, including research that has found increased lead levels in the bones of Parkinson’s patients. She speculates that other sources of lead exposure besides industrial emissions — water contamination, for example, or contaminated paint — may have a stronger influence on Parkinson’s disease risk.
Many different industries produced the pollutant emissions in the geographic areas studied.
“There’s no one group to blame,” Willis says. “Manganese, copper and lead emissions were reported by industries ranging from food, tobacco and beverages to wood products, furniture, apparel and stone work. Others included producers of electrical and computer equipment, metalworking and chemical facilities and metal mining.”
The researchers were surprised when they looked at the socioeconomic status of areas with higher pollutant levels. Instead of being uniformly poor and economically depressed, many are middle-class and upper-income areas.
“These pollutants are everywhere, and I think that strongly emphasizes the need to look into their effects in greater detail,” Willis says.
Willis AW, Evanoff BA, Lian M, Galarza A, Wegrzyn A, Schootman M, Racette BA. Metal emissions and urban incident Parkinson disease: a community health study of medicare beneficiaries using geographic information systems. American Journal of Epidemiology, online Oct. 19, 2010.
Funding from the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the National Institutes of Health, the St. Louis chapter of the American Parkinson Disease Association, the American Parkinson Disease Association, Walter and Connie Donius, and the Robert Renschen Fund supported this research