We live in a sea of carcinogens

 I am reading “A Civil Action” based on a true court case about some companies that polluted the wells of a small town resulting in quite a few deaths and many sick people. Below the defendant’s  lawyer is deposing the plaintiffs in hopes of finding something else to blame their misery on. What struck me was the exhaustive list of everyday products that contain carcinogens. Below is just a small sample of the list of 500 the defending lawyers questioned the plaintiffs about – Ron Jackson:

“Schlichtmann felt it necessary to attend all of those depositions to defend his clients. There were nineteen of them—they included all of the parents and five of the oldest children—and most of them took an entire day. For three weeks Facher and Cheeseman and their assistants questioned the families closely about their use of more than five hundred brand-name household products—cleaning agents and detergents, rug shampoos, cosmetics, nail-polish removers, insect repellents, paints, lawn fertilizers, cold remedies, cough syrups, herbal teas, coffee, even peanut butter. To Schlichtmann, the strategy behind this exhaustive list was obvious.”

” These five hundred items all allegedly contained a known or suspected carcinogen. Peanut butter, for example, ranked high on the list, right up with cigarettes. The reason: all peanut butter contains trace amounts of aflatoxin B1, a natural but potent liver carcinogen produced by a common peanut mold. His complaints had no effect. Do you eat bacon? one of Facher’s associates asked yet another of Schlichtmann’s clients. (Bacon contains dimethylnitrosamine, a carcinogen.) How often? How many slices? Do you fry it or bake it? Do you have Teflon pans? (Teflon is made of a resin containing acrylonitrile, a carcinogen.) How often do you use them? Do you chew sugarless gum? (Saccharin, a carcinogen in mice.) How often? Do you pump your own gas? (Benzene, a leukemogen.) How often do you bathe? Do you have plastic shower curtains? (Vinyl chloride, a liver carcinogen.) Have you ever owned a cat? (Feline leukemia virus.) Do you drink beer? (Nitrosamines.) Do you use a deodorant? (Aluminum chlorohydrate.)”

Click here for a just published video by USA Today on the lead in our neighborhoods

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