Environmental Justice and Public Health

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Environmental Justice and Public Health

Postby Wilberforce » Sun Jul 10, 2016 4:37 pm

Environmental Justice and Public Health
June 30, 2016

“It seems reasonable to believe that the more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe around us, the less taste we shall have for the destruction of our race. Wonder and humility are wholesome emotions, and they do not exist side by side with a lust for destruction.” – Rachel Carson, Silent Spring 1962

Rachel Carson proved the human body is permeable and vulnerable to toxic compounds in the environment. This was a new, radical idea conflicting with the notion of “better living through chemistry.” It was the beginning of the environmental movement.

Fifty years later, Environmental Justice is an EPA initiative to provide fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. It will be achieved when everyone enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.

Environmental discrimination has historically been evident in the process of selecting and building environmentally hazardous sites, including waste disposal, manufacturing, and power plants. The location of transportation infrastructures, including highways, ports, and airports has also been viewed as a source of environmental injustice.

A simple way to understand Environmental Justice is to think of providing equal rights to Public Health. Butler Hollow fires, Butler Creek flash floods, and the Chinese Fluff Mill are counterexamples of Environmental Justice needing prompt attention.

Butler Hollow Fires

Prescribed or not, forest fires are serious health risks of air pollution, water contamination, and unintended wildfires. During the 2010 Chute Ridge 350-acre project, the fire got out of control incinerating private property.

Warnings to stay inside on high pollution days are misleading and false. No one can escape the deadly effects of prescribed fires. For elderly people, people with asthma, chronic respiratory disease, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease, smoke exposure is particularly harmful. Even short exposures can prove fatal.

The problem of air pollution is all about incomplete combustion. Forest fires create highly toxic compounds. Wood smoke has to come down somewhere in the forest, polluting creeks and streams.

Fine particulates, (particulate matter) are invisible to the naked eye. If you breathe you inhale PM. Wood smoke pollution is 12 times more carcinogenic than cigarette smoke. The elderly and infirm are at high risk to any level of particulate matter. The Forest Service knows about these threats but they do not care.

Butler Creek Flash Floods

Butler Creek flash floods in 2011 and 2013 are hard to forget. Wood smoke pollution on the forest will flow into Table Rock Lake, protected by the Little Rock US Army Corps of Engineers.

The Ouachita River is not a sewer

Rivers are treasures. In the period (6000-2000 BC) before the Ouachita tribe, their indigenous ancestors lived along the river for thousands of years. The sense of wonder Rachel Carson wrote about is gone.

When Sun Paper’s Ying came in 2011 he noted abundant clean water flowing in the Ouachita River. Bill Wright of Arkadelphia said after the sale, “We think it is a beautiful marriage for us in South Arkansas. The only real resource we have here is the timber and water, and they are renewable.” Wright is wrong. 20 years ago, there were 50,000 rivers in China. Now, more than 28,000 are gone!

Last chance to Save Butler Hollow

July 7 is the deadline to send opposing comments to prescribed fires on 3,600 acres every three years. Butler Hollow provides clean air and water, shade, and flash flood protection from Butler Creek. Butler Hollow longtime residents should not have to move.

Bill Nightingale will decide the future of the Hollow. Ask him to cancel the project to protect public health.

Email: objections-eastern-region@fs.fed.us

Subject: Mark Twain Butler Hollow, Project Number 43537

Attn: Forest Supervisor, Ranger Bill Nightingale

Mail: USDA Forest Service, Suite 700 PAL/LSC Staff, 626 E. Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53202

http://eureka.news/environmental-justic ... ic-health/
• The Surgeon General has determined that there is no safe level of exposure to ambient smoke!

• If you smell even a subtle odor of smoke, you are being exposed to poisonous and carcinogenic chemical compounds!

• Even a brief exposure to smoke raises blood pressure, (no matter what your state of health) and can cause blood clotting, stroke, or heart attack in vulnerable people. Even children experience elevated blood pressure when exposed to smoke!

• Since smoke drastically weakens the lungs' immune system, avoiding smoke is one of the best ways to prevent colds, flu, bronchitis, or risk of an even more serious respiratory illness, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis! Does your child have the flu? Chances are they have been exposed to ambient smoke!
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