Letter to The Editor about The Ecological System :
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Subject : TOXIC CHEMICALS - SAD NEW BREED BODY
One must wonder about an editorial that lumps theWashington Toxics Coalition, Greenpeace and the stateDepartment of Ecology into a camp of "scare mongerers," and"wrong-headed radicals," while finding only deceased nuke phileGov. Dixy Lee Ray and a professor of soil chemistry atWashington (Agribiz) State University as her champions inridiculing a laudable effort by the Department of Ecology toprotect our health from the very worst-known chemicalpollutants.
However, let it be known that a quick phone call to professorAllan Felsot revealed that he had actually been misquoted. Noreputable scientist would ever claim that "over half" of theDepartment of Ecology's list of 27 bio accumulative chemicals ofconcern to be targeted for source reduction were found in nature.
Nor would he imply that natural sources of such chemicals wereanything but a tiny fraction of the known sources which havebeen, or remain, a cause for alarm.
Yes, some of these 27 deadly chemicals are found in nature inminute quantities but that is hardly the point. The point of theDepartment of Ecology exercise is to eliminate the major sourceof these chemicals in the environment.
These are the man-made sources which represent preventable,needless, self-imposed risks. As a society we are needlesslypoisoning ourselves with excessive outputs of harmful chemicals.
The characterization of the Department of Ecology as a radicalgroup wanting to return us to the Stone Age is laughable toanyone who has monitored the cowardly track record of thatagency in standing up to the state's corporate polluters. In factthe DOE list is one of the most uncontroversial chemical blacklists imaginable.
As Felsot himself agreed, most of the list contains knownkiller chemicals (like DDT, PCBs, etc.) that have already beenbanned or phased out by regulatory action. Is Malkin arguingthen that we should now reverse this small body of legislationcontrolling these chemicals and encourage them to be producedagain? Or is she arguing against ever allowing "big government"to ever legislate to control chemicals again?
The truth is that "big government" is so far behind the gameof regulating the chemical industry that it will probably nevercatch up. In fact, of the more than 71,000 chemicals incommercial use today, with many hundreds more synthesizedeach year, only one-half of 1 percent have been significantlytested for risk to human health or the environment by anygovernment agency.
Yet when a paltry list of 27 of the absolute worst, well documented killer chemicals known are targeted for reduction bya timid agency, Malian finds this extremist and "technophobic."
Perhaps Malkin is one of a sad new breed of Washingtonians,so enchanted by her plastic Starbucks mug that she does notbother to think about the effects of the chemicals which werereleased to produce it, or what will happen to those chemicals init when it is disposed. Perhaps she is one that can enjoy theviews of Puget Sound and care not for the tumorous fish underits sparkling surface.
To such a person perhaps it will take actual untimely diseaseof a loved one to reach her. Only then might she realize that inthe age of corporate dominance, a laissez-faire government doesnot give us liberty - it gives us death.
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Asia Pacific Environmental Exchange Seattle
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