This morning a comment on FaceBook arrived at my door,
"Benzene EPA allowable 0-4 parts/billion. Gulftest=3,400 parts/ billion"
My heart immediately sank deep into an experience of sorrow. When I get that way, I let my fingers walk through Google to clarify what I am feeling with facts. I found a few websites of facts on the implications of this health hazard.
1. I found this entry from US Government - Department of Labor dated 01/12/2010. When I read this page, I found it difficult to make sense of the harm.
2. I then found this page date - December 22, 1997 from the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety, easy to read, educational and for any consumer it provides a clear understanding of how Benzine which is contained in petroleum can impact human health.
3. Then I read this information on the Impact of Benzene on Leukemia and Lymphoma provided by a law firm, BarronBudd.com. This research summarized in this site on how Benzene as a hazard and exposure can lead to Leukemia and Lymphoma.
After reading this, my mother's voice went off in my head; the message she use to give me when she was angry and had to "tell me I told you so."
I found this cartoon from Huffington Post that contained a picture that replaces the thousands of words communicated in media every day that could force me to forget and bury my head in the sand re: this hazard that is going to impact the health of people living by the #BP #Oil Spill.
It has gotten very simple for me. At present, there is a lot of attention on legislation for chemicals to make sure we assure safety for people and exercise precaution related to the 80,000 chemicals now used in products on the market. The legislation often implies we have to make priority the chemicals based on their volume of use.
Science now tells us that the amount of chemicals (volume used) does not dictate the impact of a chemical even in a small amount. Therefore substitution of chemicals of immediate concern has to have a new approach of examining the chemical, the amount of chemical and hazard potential.
ChemSec.org is an educational center in Europe that exists as a non profit for the purpose of creating a "toxic free world."
At their website, ChemSec describes the focus of their work as
"CHEMSEC - for a toxic free world
" Our focus is to highlight the risks of hazardous substances and influence and speed up legislative processes. We act as a catalyst for open dialogue between authorities, business and NGOs and collaborate with companies committed to taking the lead. All of our work is geared to stimulating public debate and action on the necessary steps towards a toxic free world. "
This week, I have had to deepen my empathy for the millions of people who have lives challenged by chemical exposure.
There are currently two reports in my collection that can open anyone's eyes to the opportunity represented by the BP Oil Spill Catastrophe.
1. A US Report by the President's Panel on Cancer recently released a report Reducing Environmental Risk on Cancer.
2. A European Union Report, Late Lessons from Early Warnings, the Precautionary Principle 1896-2000
"...I have often feared that it would take an environmental disaster for capital markets and society in general to start taking the environmental impacts of companies seriously."
So as I deepen my capacity to have empathy for all human beings effected by this disaster, I am now asking, "is it time to do something and do it right?" and "what does that mean."
to the ordinary person and the system of health and care that serves them to live out their lives in the best sustainable way possible?