Detroit tar sands refinery explosion.

           On April 27 a major explosion rocked the Marathon Detroit Refinery in Detroit, Michigan. It sent a thick plume of smoke into the sky and pollution into the air. It caused a brief evacuation for the neighboring town of Melvindale. It was quickly withdrawn. The worst part of this, is the growing list of oil related incidents it joins. It is already proving to be a devastating year in terms of toxice fumes and pollution.

          As of now officials aren’t sure what caused the explosion. It happened when a mixture of hydrogen sulfide and ammonia blew up a tank during maintenence work. Reportedly there were no deaths or injuries. As economically ravaged as Detroit is, they could ill afford this unfortunate incident and the resulting environmental pollution. The refinery processes dirty Canadian tar sands, the sane type that would run through the contreversial Keystone XL pipeline,  if it ever gets built.

             According to an environmental study by scientist at the university of Michigan conducted, the Marathon refinery was already notoriously toxic prior to the explosion. The study shows that the zip code was the most heavily polluted in Detroit. Detroit is the most polluted area in all of Michigan. Nearby residents commonly suffer from leukemia, asthma and multiple types of cancer.

                 The Marathon refinery had received 13 air pollution violations since 2001. Althoughnone resulted in a penalties because Marathon took quick corrective action. On the other hand, sampling performed by residents and overseen by Global Community Monitor, and environmental group out of California, in 2010 found high levels is benzene, a known carcinogen. Hydrogen sulfide was found near the plant. In one case more than 20 chemicals, including benzene, were detected in a residents basement. The EPA investigation traced the contamination to Marathon’s dumping of waste water into the city sewer systems.

                 Many residents around the Marathon refinery are beginning to accept buyouts. Marathon has been squiring houses in a decaying neighborhood in Oakwood Heights. Many others ate still awaiting offers in order to get away from the pollution.

           I have barely heard mention of this on the news. Just because there were not any fatalities doesn’t change the fact that this is bad news. The oversight on these potentially hazardous plants is not working. Apparently these is another case of corporate money buying freedom to do as you will. These again relies on our government to correct the growing problems in the oil industry. Democrats are already on board, but of course Republicans are more concerned with protecting their corporate handlers. There have been enough problems with oil companies this year, lets get some oversight.

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Pesticides in our food.

              Pesticides are toxic by design.They are expressly created to kill living organisms. Many pesticides do pose dangers to humans. These risks have been established by independent research and physicians across the world. Pesticides have been linked to a variety of health problems such as, brain and nervous system toxicity, cancer, hormone disruption, skin, eye and lung irritation.

              The US Department of Agriculture produce tests have found widespread pesticide contamination on popular fruits and vegetables. At least one pesticide was found on 68% of the samples analyzed for shoppers guide. 11% of those samples had 5 or mire pesticide residues. Pesticide levels were particularly high in tomatoes, peaches, apples, peppers, grapes, lettuce, broccoli, strawberries, spinach, dairy, pears, green beans and celery.

             A U.S. study found that pre-school children are in particular danger to the dangerous chemicals and pesticides used on our fruits and veggies. Pesticides and other chemicals used in growing our foods may be putting young children at a greater risk of developing cancer later in life. A study of 364 children, 207 of which were under 5, found safety consumption bebchmarks were exceeded for arsenic, dieldrin, DDE and dioxins. In addition 95% of pre-school children exceeded non-cancer risk levels for acrylamide, a cooking product normally found in potato chips.

                 Organic foods are produced using methods of organic farming, they do not use synthetic pesticides or chemicals. Nor do they use irrigation, industrial solvents or cgemical foid additives. Organic farmers have to obtain special certification to market their food as organic in many states. Although up to now the evudence is insufficent on whether organic food is safer or more healthy than conventional food.

                The last statement I find odd but that us what I found. Tge Department of Agriculture said that regardless of pesticides it is important to eat fruit, veggies and grains. It would seem to me that organic is safer, but for poor people it is out of price range. I think it is important to note that the uptick in cancer may have something to do with pesticide use. That is also putting more stress on our health care system.


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