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Slowly poisoned: health consequences of pollution and environmental toxins. Martin Donohoe, MD, FACP Portland State University Campaign for Safe Foods, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility. Overview. Public health approach Air pollution Garbage Toxins Education/Corporate Influence
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Martin Donohoe, MD, FACP
Portland State University
Campaign for Safe Foods, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility
Children from villages practicing organic agriculture
Children from villages practicing non-organic agriculture
-25-100 dead, up to 1,000 injured acutely, NCI estimates 10-75K thyroid cancers
1. It can cause excessive sweating and vomiting2. It is a major component in acid rain3. It can cause severe burns in its gaseous state4. It can kill you if accidentally inhaled5. It contributes to erosion6. It decreases effectiveness of automobile brakes7. It has been found in tumors of terminal cancer patients
Percentage of Americans who believe “at least to some degree” in these “phenomena”
-“Gasoline is simply solar power hidden in decayed matter”
-“Offshore drilling creates reefs for fish”
-“The Great American Forest is. . . renewable forever”
-“Clearcutting promotes growth of trees that require full sunlight and allows efficient site preparation for the next crop”
Brown and Williamson Tobacco Company Memo, 1960s
12 September 1977
Dr. Eula Bingham, Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health [Regarding] worker exposure to DBCP. While involuntary sterility caused by a manufactured chemical may be bad, it is not necessarily so. After all, there are many people who are now paying to have themselves sterilized to assure they will no longer be able to become parents... If possible sterility is the main problem, couldn’t workers who were old enough that they no longer wanted to have children accept such positions voluntarily? Or…some [workers] might volunteer for such workposts as an alternative to planned surgery for a vasectomy or tubal ligation, or as a means of getting around religious bans on birth control when they want no more children?
Robert K. Phillips, National Peach Council
-1 million tons/year manufactured in 1970s
-major cause of Antarctic and Arctic ozone holes
-should disappear by 2060
-current substitute, HCFCs, much less damaging to ozone layer, also to be phased out
“When evidence points toward the potential of an activity to cause significant, widespread or irreparable harm to public health or the environment, options for avoiding that harm should be examined and pursued, even though the harm is not yet fully understood or proven”
Public Health and Social Justice Website