Risk-Taking Polluters Make Cancer Commonplace

If you play golf, as I sometimes try to do, you will be familiar with the risk-reward concept. Golf courses are designed to reward risk takers – or to punish them.  Faced with the prospect of hitting your ball across a lake, for example, you might choose the safe path around it, sacrificing a shot but avoiding the possibility of dunking your ball in the hazard and taking a penalty.

That’s the way it should be in life. You should have a choice: take a chance and, if you succeed, claim your reward – or, if you fail, take your medicine.

The trouble is that in modern life, we pay the price for the risks others take, and they get the reward.

Enabled by political allies, industry knowingly gambles with the health of the public. When the industrialists win, they make more billions; when they lose the public gets cancer.

There’s no doubt in my mind that cancer is far more prevalent than it was in my childhood. Then, it was as rare as it was deadly.

Now it seems commonplace. And I am convinced that environmental pollution is largely to blame.

Today, for example,an environmental group released a study showing that drinking water in 35 American cities contains hexavalent chromium, which has been labeled “a probable carcinogen” by the National Institutes of Health.

The Environmental Working Group found hexavalent chromium in the tap water of 31 out of 35 cities sampled. Of those, 25 had unsafe levels.

According to a report by the AFP news service:

Hexavalent chromium has long been known to cause lung cancer when inhaled, and scientists recently found evidence that it causes cancer in laboratory animals when ingested. It has been linked in animals to liver and kidney damage as well as leukemia, stomach cancer and other cancers.

A widely used industrial chemical until the early 1990s, hexavalent chromium is still used in some industries, such as in chrome plating and the manufacturing of plastics and dyes. The chemical can also leach into groundwater from natural ores.

The chemical compound was first made famous in the hit 2000 Hollywood movie “Erin Brockovich” about the eponymous environmental crusader who also commented on the EWG’s alarming finding.

“This chemical has been so widely used by so many industries across the US that this doesn’t surprise me,” said Brockovich, known for her fight on behalf of the residents of Hinkley, California against P

In that case, PG&E was accused of leaking hexavalent chromium into the town’s groundwater for more than 30 years, and ultimately was made to pay 333 million dollars in damages to more than 600 inhabitants of the town, which it was required to clean up.

Reading this report, I am left to wonder how many other cancer causing pollutants are released daily by the “entrepreneurs” who gamble with our lives in hopes of winning the jackpot.