Lead in pipes can mean lead in water like Flint, Michigan and now East Chicago, Indiana where the residents are worried EPA will not be able to help them if funding is cut and regulations are eliminated. While In the U.S. there are 18 million more people at risk for lead poisoning because of old lead service lines.
Lead in bullets can kill twice, they can kill the intended target and can end up being found in predator birds or animals after they eat meat contaminated by lead bullets. Eagles are again at risk since lead bullets will now be more attainable for hunters.
Rarely is lead in dust mentioned in the media. We are the rare site with dust the major contributor of the lead poisoning happening in the Tar Creek Superfund site. And air pollution in general is a much more prevalent and inescapable way of pollution since it is very democratic.
Years ago when Harvard was conducting research here at Tar Creek, I got to go to Boston and visit the researchers and see where they analyzed the samples they got from us. Scientists explain fine particulates may be causing tissue inflammation and altering gene expression in the brain’s immune cells and that might be linked to higher risk of autism, stroke and cognitive decline in elders. Now imagine if those fine particulates might be made up of the heavy metals we have in local chat, lead, cadmium, arsenic and manganese.
Joe Brain, one of the researchers had a hypothesis that fine particles of the chat dust could go straight from the nose when inhaled and actually enter the brain directly. He had explained they used ground up chat fines which would have been about 13,000 parts per million of lead, and had basically blown that dust into the nostrils of lab rats. Just a bit later that day, I had the most peculiar experience seeing a person in the hall carrying a tray of what looked like tiny brains laid out neatly on a tray. As it turned out, they were rat brains going to the lab to be analyzed for the effect Tar Creek chat dust had had on those brains.
Reading is a pleasure, and lots of times from journals publishing the latest research on health or environmental subjects. In a study in 2011 in Portugal people living near industrial “grey areas” reported less optimism. This may sound trivial they stated, but optimism is associated with healthier behaviors (such as a willingness to exercise), lower levels of fat in the blood and mental resilience, or the ability to recover from stress. That made me think of the vast amounts of actual grey areas we have right here in Ottawa County, tons or it, and wonder if our residents might be experiencing less optimism because of it.
Another tidbit to share is the value trees have to our feelings of well-being since they are a natural antidote bringing pleasure and health benefits, and the higher number of trees in a neighborhood the lower the incidence of heart and metabolic disease with one study finding blocks with just 11 more trees than average showed a $20,000 gain in median income. It is spring and a really good time to figure out where those 11 more trees are going on your block.
I have been known to wear many people out with what comes easy and natural for me… my optimism, a characteristic they say I must have been born with.
It's true, I do believe in people and imagine the best in them and for them. And have transferred this all to our very own environmental disaster. This site is fixable, it is contaminated with metals and not with nuclear waste or PCBs. Metals that have made great wealth, put our nation on par with mineral rich countries all over the world that were producing the resource materials that industrialized the world.
We did what made the future bright for individual families, for this state and it is a well-earned right to believe it is our turn to have the grey areas removed and optimism become more of the norm around here.
I need some company.
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim