CLIMATE POLITICS--The next time you put your lips to a plastic bottle of “crystal-clear mountain spring water” think about Trump’s herculean efforts to dismantle federal agencies that protect health.
More to the point, Trump’s innate distrust of science is already starting to impact health risks, e.g., according to Consumer Reports (“CR”) excessive levels of arsenic are found in some bottled water that should have been spotted by federal regulators, and not by Consumer Reports.
As it happens: “The federal government’s safety inspections of water bottling facilities hit a 15-year low in 2017, according to documents CR obtained through a public records request.”
The referenced CR headline: “Arsenic in Some Bottled Water Brands at Unsafe Levels, Consumer Reports Says,” June 28, 2019. More on that travesty, later.
Meanwhile, because Trump is doing everything possible to take federal regulations back to the “Sixties,” then Rachel Carson’s inimitable The Silent Spring (1962) should be required reading for every household in America because she exposes the dangers of 60 years ago that are, once again, starting to be exposed today. To say that this is a remarkable event is, indeed, remarkable!
Rachel Carson has never been more relevant, in fact doubly more relevant, e.g., according to The Silent Spring, page 237: “Human exposures to cancer-producing chemicals (including pesticides) are uncontrolled and they are multiple. An individual may have many different exposures to the same chemical. Arsenic is an example... It is quite possible that no one of these exposures alone would be sufficient to precipitate malignancy--- yet any single supposedly ‘safe dose’ may be enough to tip the scales that are already loaded with other ‘safe doses.”
In other words, the cumulative effect of repeated exposure to dangerous toxins causes cancer. Carson’s book hits hard on this crucial point, earning her accolades as “the finest nature writer of the Twentieth Century.” Furthermore, exposure to one chemical can trigger dormancy of an altogether different chemical, a compounding effect that triggers malignant growths, like cancer.
More from Carson: “The situation is made even more complicated by the fact that one chemical may act on another to alter its effect. Cancer may sometimes require the complementary action of two chemicals, one of which sensitizes the cell or tissue so that it may later, under the action of another or promoting agent, develop true malignancy,” (The Silent Spring, pg. 238)
Without question, most American families experience cancer.
Thus, foretelling: Is it a good idea to cut federal health and environmental regulations?
According to Consumer Reports: “CR tracked down and reviewed hundreds of public records and test reports from bottled water brands… We found that several popular brands sell bottled water with arsenic levels at or above 3 ppb; current research suggests that amounts above that level are potentially dangerous to drink over extended periods of time.”
For example, drinking every day!
CR identified 11 brands with detectable amounts of arsenic and of those six had “levels of 3 ppb or higher. These brands are Starkey (owned by Whole Foods), Peñafiel (owned by Keurig Dr Pepper), Crystal Geyser Alpine Spring Water, Volvic (owned by Danone), and two regional brands, Crystal Creamery and EartH₂O.”
Not only that but, as Flint, Michigan glaringly demonstrated, it’s not only bottled water that demands rigorous federal government oversight.
Nevertheless, in spite of the necessity of rocklike vigilance of the nation’s most precious resources, Trump’s 2020 budget seeks a cut for the National Institutes of Health for the third year in a row. Some of the biggest losers (a Trump classic) will be the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Not only that, but according to the American Association of Immunologists, Trump’s cuts would defund 2,824 research project grants and cut short the work “of many talented and dedicated scientists.” (Source: FierceBiotech, March 12, 2019)
Wow, what an accomplishment! America’s president really knows how to “drain the swamp.”
"Ultimately, the president’s proposed $2.7 trillion in spending cuts will leave the nation less healthy and less safe,” says Benjamin Corb, public affairs director for the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB),” Ibid.
And, just for good measure, “Trump’s plan sees spending on Medicare and Medicaid trimmed by $818 billion and $1.5 trillion respectively over the next 10 years,” Ibid.
So much for Trump’s humongous big-mouthed loud and boastful campaign promise to safeguard America’s “sacred” Medicare, rather, it’s down the drain with Drano, lickety-split!
Meanwhile, and nearly impossible to comprehend: Trump’s tax cuts for billionaires/millionaires, which “drains federal revenue,” results in a U.S. deficit of $691B by the halfway mark of the current fiscal year, which is more for his “one-half of a year” than all but five “annual deficits” throughout American history. (Source: the Peter G. Peterson Foundation - bipartisan nonprofit that focuses on national debt) Whew!
That breathlessness of enormous/gigantic tax cuts for the rich while sticking all American families with the bill for responsibility of the resultant record-setting federal deficit/debt amidst “cutting to the bone” federal protection of health services and the environment is almost too much to absorb without experiencing crazy bouts of dizziness, some kind of strange vertigo that alters the mindset to dangerous delusions of mercy killing.
And, yes, it’s endless:
According to the Environmental Defense Fund: “For the third year in a row, the Trump administration proposed deep cuts to EPA. These reductions would allow more lead, toxic chemicals, and contaminated water.” Once again, “draining the swamp.”
Yet, EPA accounts for only 0.2% of the federal budget, but proposed funding for EPA will be at its absolute lowest level in “real dollars” (adjusted for inflation) in over 40 years, taking funding for environmental safety back to the “Seventies,” when the Clean Water Act (1972) was first signed by President Nixon, which is an absolutely amazing coincidence, as impeachment reigns supreme, then and now.
Have a healthy pre-election year!
(Robert Hunziker lives in Los Angeles and is a CityWatch contributor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org..)