Donald L. Hassig, Director of Cancer Action NY and the Green Party’s candidate in the 21st Congressional District race will conduct a news conference presenting the scientific basis for persistent organic pollutants (POPs) exposure minimization educational outreach to the population residing in the vicinity of the Hudson River Superfund Site on Tuesday, July 10, at 10:00 AM in the Washington County Courthouse, Fort Edward, NY USA. The congressional candidate will call for action by the US Environmental Protection Agency to warn residents of the POPs exposure health hazard.
During the course of the past two decades a large quantity of scientific research has been published on the subject of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) exposure health effects. In 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) published the report, “Persistent Organic Pollutants: Impact on Child Health”. This document sets forth the state of scientific knowledge on the associations between exposure to various POPs including, PCBs, dioxins and brominated flame retardants and damages to health, including: cancer, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases, cognitive deficits, behavioral disorders and reproductive declines. Due to the considerable disease burden imposed by POPs exposure at current levels of world wide environmental contamination, the WHO recommended that health arena leaders join forces to minimize the exposure that children receive to POPs. This recommendation was made for all of the world’s children. Populations residing in the vicinity of POPs contaminated sites were prioritized for minimization outreach due to the excess POPs exposure that these populations have received.
The most effective way to minimize the harm that results from the PCB contamination of the Hudson River is to minimize the exposure of the population that resides in the vicinity of the Hudson River Superfund Site to PCBs and all other POPs. Thus far, the educational outreach that has been provided to this population by governmental public health entities including, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the New York State Department of Health (DOH) has focused only on reducing exposure to PCBs that are present in Hudson River fish and sediments. The total POPs exposures that people receive who live near the Hudson River Superfund Site result largely from consumption of meats, dairy products and fish, which are produced elsewhere. In order to minimize the POPs exposure of this population it will be necessary to provide a warning of the presence of POPs in these foods.
As a first step in providing POPs exposure minimization educational outreach to the Hudson River Superfund Site population, the EPA and DOH should cooperate in a campaign designed to create heightened public awareness of the WHO report named above. Via a series of public meetings and augmentation of EPA and DOH website educational content, the goal of providing a warning of the POPs exposure health hazard could be readily accomplished. The only real obstacle to the provision of such a warning is the political pressure not to do so. This political pressure results from corporate pressure to pretend that POPs contamination of the global environment has not resulted in significant damage to public health.