We are victims of insidious chemical technology. Toluene and other flammable liquids from rock-fracture gas drilling projects are being dumped into our streams. The "upside" is that soon we in Pennsylvania may not have to buy Mideast oil. All we'll have to do is to fill our gas tanks with the garden hose.
For years, chemical pollutants have caused 80 percent of smallmouth bass males in the Potomac River to lay eggs. Endocrine disruptors in our waters from farm pesticides, industrial chemicals and estrogens in urine from human females using birth-control pills are now affecting humans. Genital abnormalities in newborn human males are increasing, as are gynecological problems in girls. Evidence is mounting that leaching industrial chemicals, including those found in kitchen plastics are causing cancer, obesity and cardiovascular illnesses.
Rising levels of toxic selenium and mercury and dissolved solids in our water from coal-fired power plants are seriously affecting brain development in our children.
Our health-care costs, and the incidence of birth abnormalities and life-threatening illnesses, could be lowered if those in Congress would choose to represent the people (an unlikely event) rather than the lobbying chemical polluters.
If corrective measures are not taken soon, we shall have a massive tragedy similar to the thalidomide tragedy of the 1960s, when 10,000 infants in Europe were born with shortened arms and legs or no limbs. Only the refusal to approve the sale of the drug in the United States by one woman, Frances Kelsey, in our Food and Drug Administration, prevented a catastrophe in the United States.
JAMES GARDEN JR.